Special interest terrorism

Special interest terrorism, also called single-issue terrorism,[1] is a category of terrorism. It differs from traditional right-wing terrorism and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect widespread political change.[2]

Special interest extremists continue to conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments of society, including the general public, to change attitudes about issues considered important to their causes. These groups occupy the extreme fringes of animal rights, pro-life, environmental, anti-nuclear, and other movements. Some special interest extremists—most notably within the animal rights and environmental movements—have turned increasingly toward vandalism and terrorist activity in attempts to further their causes.[3]

One well-known form is environmental terrorism or eco-terrorism. In fact, in the 1980s it was the only type of special-interest terrorism in the FBI statistics.[4]

Extremists associated with any of these issues come from various social groups, and there is no definite portrait of a "single-issue extremist". However some generalizing conclusions may be drawn. For example, animal rights activists and environmentalists tend to be of left wing political interests, whereas anti-abortion extremists are of right wing.[1]


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