Health – Attacks – Terrorist – Psychology

ISIS Terrorists Exploit “Lone Wolf” Mental Illness for Attacks: Experts

ISIS Terrorists Exploit “Lone Wolf” Mental Illness for Attacks: Experts
Thu May 12, 2016 16:57:02

Experts say the link between mental illness and so-called “lone wolf” terrorists is driven by the fact that unstable individuals are often influenced by events in the news, a fact that is exploited by global terrorist groups.

Tuesday’s knife attack by a 27-year-old German left one dead and three injured in Munich.

But police quickly dismissed any terrorist motive, saying there were “strong reasons” to believe he acted “in a state of insanity.”

Numerous similar cases have been reported around the globe.

Man Haron Monis, who died along with two of his hostages at a Sydney coffee shop in December 2014, had a long history of mental illness.

So did Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who killed a Canadian soldier near Ottawa’s parliament two months earlier.

Experts say the connection is not unexpected, since the terrorist ideology offers a compelling narrative for dealing with feelings of marginalization and paranoid fantasies of persecution that can exist among people with severe mental illnesses.

“Each time society evolves, delusional people evolve. Delusional behavior is always connected to the times,” said psychiatrist Daniel Zagury, who has acted as an expert witness at the trials of several alleged terrorists.

“There have always been mystical delusions. They are often the most dangerous. When God is on your side, things become much simpler,” he added.

Zagury warned against labelling all terrorists as psychologically unstable — saying they account for only around 10 percent of cases.

The majority are either “small-time delinquents ... who started off as drug addicts, dealers, and try to clean up their lives by turning to radicalism.”

Or they are “the most dangerous kind” — the clean-living, well-educated youngster who becomes a true believer in violent extremism, AFP reported.

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