South Korea may face the threat of homegrown terrorism if its ethnic minorities end up expressing their frustration over discrimination through acts of terrorism, a research paper showed Monday.
"There is a possibility that the discrimination, scorn and frustration felt by migrant workers, multicultural children and North Korean defectors may erupt in acts of terrorism," Howon University Professor Lee Man-jong, head of the Korean Association for Terrorism Studies, wrote in the paper.
Drawing on examples from the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the 2005 suicide attacks in London, Lee said that the "discrimination and scorn of minorities were the main cause of terrorism."
Lacking major religious conflicts or a history of invading foreign countries, South Korea is different from other nations where immigrants from Muslim backgrounds or former colonies have often committed acts of terrorism, he said. However, if the gap between people's expectations and satisfaction level is left to grow, "there is a possibility that those who feel relatively deprived will commit an individual or organized terrorist crime," Lee said.
As countermeasures, he suggested providing a legal base for anti-terrorism activities, such as wiretapping, and blocking any contact with Al-Qaeda and other international terrorist groups. The professor also called for the protection of "soft targets" such as the subway and train systems, as well as conventional ones like government buildings and passenger planes.
He also stressed the importance of meeting the needs of "non-native" minorities by strengthening social safety nets and improving welfare policies in order to remove the threat at its core. (Yonhap)