Special interest terrorism

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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".


  1. ^ Single Issue Terrorism, by Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
  2. ^ "Terrorism: Documents of international and local control", 1979, Oceana Publications, ISBN 0-379-00709-6, p. 172
  3. ^ "The Terrorist Threat Confronting the United States", a FBI Congressional Testimony (it is in public domain as non-classified work of a US federal employeee)
  4. ^ Terrorism in America: pipe bombs and pipe dreams By Brent L. Smith p. 26