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Losing your Audience: Desistance from Terrorism in Egypt after Luxor


On 17 November 1997, terrorists affiliated with the Islamic Group massacred 62 people, mostly foreign tourists, in Luxor, one of Egypt's foremost historical sites. Within a year, much of what remained of the Islamic Group had renounced violence, a rare step for a terrorist group. How did this fast desistance come about? Our case study indicates that Egyptian society experienced a major shift in its relationship with the Islamic Group and extremist Islamism in general. The massacre's economic and political repercussions permitted a moral claim against terrorism that was unlimited in its application, a claim the government used to its advantage. Sympathy and support for terrorism collapsed after what appeared at first to be a terrorist triumph at Luxor.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Wheatley, Joseph, and Clark McCauley. 2009. "Losing your Audience: Desistance from Terrorism in Egypt after Luxor." Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict 1 (November): 250-268. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17467580902853051#.Ulw4fRDik…

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