(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
Targeting civilians is a distinctive characteristic of terrorism. However, so far as the issue of ‘threat’ is concerned, I would like to make a point. The purpose of a threat is ‘to terrorize’; and ‘to terrorize’ is terrorism.
Terrorism is an evil ideology, which uses ‘terror’ as a resource to get hold of its goal. A terrorist can spread ‘terror’ with or without using weapons. Ordinary civilians can be terrorized merely by rumors too. And, ‘a threat’ is even more serious ‘weapon’.
A terrorist can commit a terrorist activity by using ‘a threat’ only. Suppose, a terrorist aboard an aero plane has an apple wrapped in a piece of cloth. It is not a bomb, just an apple. He issues ‘a threat’ and says, “I have a bomb wrapped in a piece of this cloth.” And then he tries to hijack the aero plane. In this case, the terrorist has no weapon in his possession, but he uses ‘a threat’ to commit an act of terrorism.
Making threats to spread terror, to provide funds to terrorists, to give weapons to terrorists, and to provide a terrorist with any kind of help should also be considered a part of ‘wider’ definition of terrorism. Even if we believe that ‘a threat’ is not ‘terrorism’, we have to accept that ‘a threat’ can be used as a weapon of terrorism.