Psychology

The Suicide Bomber

What makes a suicide bomber? Here is a basic analysis of the workings of his mind.

By Zara Maqbool | July 2020

As a practicing therapist, I have often come across people who are at suicide risk and have a history of self-harming or a strong desire to end their lives. Contrary to the popular belief that a person commits suicide because of a current precipitating factor like loss of job, a breakup or some trauma, the suicide tendency comes from predisposing factors that lead to a powerful trigger that becomes all encompassing. It muddies the person’s perceptual lens and, in that space of darkness, ending life is the ray of light at the end of the tunnel.

It would be a bit different for a suicide bomber because here his choice to end his life is an illusion as this person is trained for years on end for that moment when he decides to end his life along with the lives of many others.

Questions that many people have asked are: what goes on in the mind of a suicide bomber when he enters a space and sees innocent people around with whom he has no personal vendetta? What makes him end his own life and the lives of others? In the wake of global terrorism that hit the world in recent years, the term ‘suicide bomber’ was added to our vocabularies. The first Islamists suicide bombings were carried out in the UK, which some say were under the influence of drugs while some think the bombers were conditioned to believe that it was ‘Jihad’ and was a moment for glory for Muslims as it was a fight against the enemies of Islam. This belief is not conclusive because evidence has proved that many of these suicide bombers were not Muslims though it can be said that any religion can be a factor.

I am not informed enough to comment on the global games that are being played but would like to share my understanding as a therapist of what goes into the making of a suicide bomber.

The most important thing to understand here is that under the suicide bomber’s jacket is a human being like any other; comprehending the psyche will require a multidisciplinary approach that includes his family history, economic background, history of any childhood abuse/trauma, etc., that makes him an ideal candidate to be chosen by the bigger players for this dark and deathly game.

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