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SA: World must learn to live with terror: conference told

04 Dec 2008 2:10 PM

ADELAIDE, Dec 4 AAP - The world must learn to live with terrorist attacks like those in Mumbai, a conference has been told in Adelaide.

University of Adelaide associate professor Michael Roberts told the Globalising Religions and Cultures conference on Thursday that the group involved in the attacks were not mindless fanatics and showed reasoning behind the targets they chose.

More than 180 people were killed and 300 others injured during 60 hours of violence last week that included attacks on two luxury hotels and a number of other sites.

Prof Roberts said the attacks were motivated by a desire to undermine the increasingly harmonious relationship between India and Pakistan.

But he said they were also designed to destabilise the Indian economy and to provoke Hindu extremists into tit-for-tat attacks.

"Unfortunately, the world has been experiencing terrorism in one form or another for decades and we must learn to live with such extremism," Prof Roberts said.

In the Mumbai attacks, the terrorists had wanted to make a grand symbolic gesture, he said, choosing sites and targeting westerners to maximise media attention.

The attack on a Jewish outreach centre was also designed to win favour with radical Muslim groups across the world.

"Those who indulge in bombings are not mindless fanatics," Prof Roberts said.

"Usually there is reasoning behind their thinking.

"Some targets are selected in order to generate terror and to make symbolic statements."