Terrorist insight and Social Identity Theory
Once accessed in the mind, an identity will direct socially appropriate behaviour. Second, the identity categories do not have to be face-to-face groups of people, it can be members of whom can in principle be identified, for example the congregation of the local mosque. Rather, many categories are more abstract and general: for example, ‘the Umma’, or ‘Bible believers’. Even though a category is conceptual it can still guide one’s actions.
The most important element to remember is that the categories are internalised into the self, becoming elements of the self-concept. Hence a perceived threat to the Umma or to Bible believers (category of the internalized self) becomes a threat to me, personally. For example, If the Umma is persecuted anywhere in the world, then I suffer with them. And the jihadis will use the argument of Faraj’s “neglected duty”to engender responsibility and guilt.