Social Indicators Research

, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 615–652 | Cite as

Radical Islamic Militancy and Acts of Terrorism: A Quality-of-Life Analysis

  • Richard J. Estes
  • M. Joseph Sirgy


Horrific acts of terrorism have emerged as defining features of Islamic–Western relations throughout much of this still young century. Arising from decades, indeed centuries, of mutual distrust contemporary patterns of radicalized Islamic terrorism toward the West are rooted in their shared histories, traditions, values, norms and, for some, deeply held religious convictions. They also are the product of centuries-long colonization of large regions of the “Islamic world” by Western powers or their proxies. This paper presents an innovative approach for advancing the quality of life of Islamic and Western societies through a fuller understanding of the origins and dynamics of Islamic-inspired terrorist acts against the West. The paper examines the relationship that exists between acts of terrorism associated with a select group of 27 member states of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and: (1) their years of independence since colonization; (2) their current types of polity; (3) the extent of their civil liberties and political freedoms; (4) country levels of perceived public corruption; and (5) the overall level of each country’s broad-based social development (or quality of life). The paper concludes with an “evolving agenda for action” that seeks to advance the quality of life of all people living in Islamic and Western nations.


Terrorism Islam Muslim Development Coexistence Peace 



The authors would like to recognize the assistance of professors Charles Skuba, Jean-Charles Chebat, Barry Babin, and Grace B. Yu for their comments and input on an earlier and much different version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2)University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marketing, Pamplin College of BusinessVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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