• Aleksandar Matković Факултет за европске правно-политичке студије Нови Сад


Aum Shinrikyo, terrorism, politically motivated crimes, religious extremism, new religious movements, mass killings, Japan


The main goal of this paper is to analyze the sensitivity of the issue concerning separation of religious, political and other forms of terrorism in the case of destructive behavior of the members of Aum Shinrikyo, as well as to determine the real nature of the motives of the criminal activity of designated organization. Within the first chapter, the history and features of Aum Shinrikyo are considered. The second chapter contains an overview of the most famous and the most serious (according to their consequences) criminal activities committed by its members. The third chapter is dedicated to the analysis of the destructive behavior of the members of Aum Shinrikyo through the prism of religious, political and other social factors, goals and motives. It was noted that, unlike the radical, polarized attitudes, which attribute exclusively religious or exclusively political features to the aforementioned organization and to the crimes of its members, it is best to hold compromise, combined point of view. In accordance with that, Aum Shinrikyo can undoubtedly be characterized as a religious organization in the field of new religious movements, while it is mandatory to emphasize the importance of other areas of social (especially political) engagement of this organization, which did not stand in direct relation to its religious nature. On the other hand, there is no valid basis for the classification of terrorist acts by Aum Shinrikyo members under the category of religious terrorism, since the main motives for the execution of these extremist actions are not directly related to the religious aspects of that organization. All this points to the general conclusion about the interlacing of various factors and motives in the context of certain forms of terrorism, as well as about the need for extra caution in case of attempts to categorically divide religious, political and other forms of extremist actions.


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