A terrorist is someone who uses terror tactics for the purposes of coercion. This may include violence against non-combatants for the purposes of spreading a message or simply to gain recognition. Different groups may have different definitions of terrorists. For example, many terrorist groups see themselves as freedom fighters or revolutionaries. Others may see themselves as crusaders of their respective god(s) of worship.
The term Homegrown Terrorist refers to a terrorist who is a citizen of the country in which he performs his criminal activities.
The United States government defines terrorism as "the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence in order to intimidate or coerce governments or societies, often for ideological or political reasons".
- State - They are groups holding power in a country and use terror in order to control the populace, intimidating the population into obedience or to make an example of dissidents.
- Religious - They are motivated by religious ideals and grievances and are more likely to use "all in" tactics such as suicide bombings.
- Right Wing - They aim to combat left-wing liberal governments and preserve traditional social orders.
- Left Wing - They seek to overthrow capitalist democracies and establish socialist, communist governments or liberal governments in their place.
- Pathological - They utilize terroristic strategies for the sheer joy of terrorizing others.
- Issue Oriented - They carry out for their attacks for the purpose of advancing a specific issue.
- Separatist - They seek to cause fragmentation within a country and the establishment of a new state.
- Narco-Terrorism - They are organizations that gain funds through the sale of drugs and use violence to make the sale of their drugs easier and thwart government action against the organizations.