Riaz Hassan

Suicide bombers driven more by politics than religious fundamentalism

At a time when the Western world worries about weapons of mass destruction in terrorist hands, a more basic device has emerged as the weapon of choice - a life itself. This use of life as a weapon - now exercised mainly by Islamic youths - is frequently presented as the manifestation of Islamic fanaticism. But studies by serious scholars and recent surveys show that the spate of suicide attacks in the Middle East is linked more to politics than to religion. Riaz Hassan, a professor of sociology at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, examines recent studies on the¬†subject.