Quite an interesting paper, unfortunately, I dont have access to the details, will have to put in an inter-library loan now. Here’s the abstract:
What factors may lead a terrorist organization to attack undefended and unaware civilians—or as we style them, “soft targets”? We examine two distinct processes in choosing to attack soft targets: the one-time decision to begin attacking soft targets and the continued use of violence against such targets. Our analysis points to ideology—specifically religion—as the decisive factor in turning to target civilians, while organizational factors such as group size and network centrality are related to the number of incidents perpetrated.
Now this is really going to be contentious and will cause quite a lot of angst around the world if this is indeed true. Also, the problem is what will be the solution? go after the religion to modify it suitably? hmmm, points to ponder indeed and cant wait to get hold of a copy of the paper.