Relation terrorism attacks and Ramadan

This weekend a terrorism attack in Bagdad killed over 200 people and last week an attack on an airport in Turkey killed over 40. Some media outlets suggested that the attacks might be related to the period of Ramadan. We used data from the Global Terrorism Database to check if there's a significant association to be found in the last 10 years.

maandag 4 juli 2016 | DVDD, Terrorisme, Ramadan, english

Ramadan is not a special period for terrorism attacks

The graph above shows the distinction between the number of attacks and people killed per day between Ramadan and non Ramadan days. The number of attacks is about 6% higher during Ramadan days, the killing during Ramadan days is 17% higher.

This suggests that Ramadan does lead to more attacks and killings.
But in order to be more sure on this, we need to see if other factors are not in play. In this case the seasonal influence might be significant as well. Since attacks have more impact when more people are on the streets, better weather might lead to more attacks.
We assumed that weather is worse during the months between November and February. So we compared those months with the other months.

Ramadan in the period 2006-2015 was always between June and October.

In the graph below you can see the frequency per day for the two different periods. The killings between March and October is 25% higher per day. This is even more than Ramadan versus non Ramadan days.

So we see no ground for the suggestion as Ramadan might lead to more attacks.

There's also a significant variation on this per country. In Bangladesh, Iran and Lebanon the number of attacks during Ramadan is over 50% lower than during non Ramadan days. In Israël it's over 200% higher, in Egypt over 100% during Ramadan.

Countries included: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Western Sahara, Yemen. Credits: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2016). Global Terrorism Database [Data file]. Retrieved from

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Islamic terrorism in Western Europe

AANVRAAG DATA - For facilitating discussion per request the terrorist attacks in Western Europe between 1970 and 2014 were split between Islamic and other groups. The number of Islamic terrorist attacks is low, the number of people killed by it are high the last 10 years.

maandag 4 juli 2016 | DVDD, Terrorisme, Ramadan, english