Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Terrorist Organization Profiles

Terrorist Organization Profiles – http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data_collections/tops/

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are some examples of nationalism based terror groups?
  • What are some Canadian terrorist organizations?
  • Who were the Peace Conquerors?


Updated through 2008, this is the place to go for background on terrorist groups you either want in your stories as they are or as models for fictional terrorist groups you plan to create.

This database can be searched by keyword or browsed by location, ideology or organization name.

Each Record contains Mothertongue name, Aliases, Bases of Operation, Date formed (when available), Strength (when available), Classifications (Ideology), Financial Sources, Founding Philosophy, current goals, Key Leaders (when available), Related Groups, US Government Designations and Other Governments’ Designation.

Searching groups by ideology, it appears that nationalism is a stronger motivator than religion in the period the US has been tracking terrorist groups. 208 organizations are tagged as religiously motivated, but 339 organizations are tagged as Nationalist/Separatist.

About 30 groups are classed as racially inspired. The oddest sounding name to me is the Phineas Priesthood, a group of anti-Semitic US white supremacists who take their inspiration from the Jewish priest Phineas. Interestingly, no attacks are attributed to it in the Global Terrorism Database.


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