This book represents the proceedings of a NATO Advanced Research Workshop entitled: Psychosocial Stress in Immigrants and Members of Minority Groups as a Factor of Terrorist Behavior. The meeting that led to this book was multifaceted. The assembly of experts enabled the discussion of varied attitudes from fresh and frank points of view, never previously brought together in dialogue. The book deals with the universal phenomenon of immigration in the light of globalization and the double messages of host countries, that on one hand encourage immigration and on the other hand have not made up their minds about the rights and obligations of newcomers in a country. Creating a theoretical link between concepts and terms allied to immigration and terrorism is based on my practical evidence from the last 8 years, worldwide. We do hope that the contributions by the participants will lead to more understanding and shed more light on the etiology of terrorism and on what has to be done to prevent it. We hope this will enable us to address the underlying issues that lead to the lethal actions which have led to the loss of the lives of so many innocent people. We are honored and proud to have edited this book.
With the financial support and encouragement of NATO in April 2007, a special group of international authorities in the fields of terrorist behavior and psychosocial stress in immigration and minorities, gathered in Tel Hai, upper Galilee, in Israel. The participants in this meeting included experts from psychology, psychiatry, political science, social science and criminology related to immigration. Our mission was to discuss and understand more comprehensively the relationship between immigration and terrorism. Learning more about psychosocial stress in immigrants, who arrive in a new country and have expectations that are not met, would highlight new angles that policy makers have not previously attended to. In practical terms, we hoped that the discussions might lead towards interventions that will reduce the threat of terrorism.
Immigration has been a channel for individuals to improve their lives by moving to a new country. However in the era of globalization, the consequences of these individual actions at the level of the society and the state can sometimes present problems. What is it that leads a tiny minority of immigrants to become involved in terrorism? Perhaps policy makers in the Western world, which encouraged immigration, could not foresee that the manual workers whom they had welcomed would raise a new, intelligent, sophisticated second generation who were exposed to their parents being humiliated and degraded. Looking at this aspect, research will lead to new understandings and new actions. The paradox about the actualization of economical solutions for immigrants vs. the lack of integration and unexpected rejection in the host country, leads to the growth of a second generation that develops more critical attitudes, sometimes including hostility, anger and alienation towards the host country that opened its gates to the immigrating blue collar workers.
In 2005 I met Prof. Mooli Lahad in his office in Kiryat Shmona, Israel, and we discussed the issue of terrorism. Prof. Lahad who is PhD. Psychology, Human & Life-Science, Tel Hai Academic College and President of the Community Stress Prevention Center is a well known authority on conflict and its human consequences. We agreed that (1) we should investigate whether antisocial behavior in deprived populations of immigrants and minorities, in the western world may stem from psychosocial stress, and (2) we should look for new ways, attitudes and perceptions that may lead to a change in coping with these realities. We realized that combining knowledge between social scientists studying immigration, refugees and minorities, and scientists who study terrorism and criminology, might yield integrated knowledge. Prof. Lahad has been working with NATO and has faith in their open mindedness. It was his suggestion that we apply to NATO to support a meeting that would examine the knowledge about the links between psychosocial stress in immigrants and minorities and terrorism behavior and how this knowledge might pave the way to guide policy makers to improve the situation of immigrants and minorities and reduce the threat of terrorism in partial segments of these populations. The organizers of the workshop are very grateful to Prof Lahad for his suggestion, and to NATO for their agreement to fund the Advanced Research Workshops through the Security Through Science Programme.
Dr. Michal Finklestein, Haifa, 2007