Posted by: Lister | August 24, 2008

Profiling British Terrorists

Here’s MI5’s opinion:

It concludes that it is not possible to draw up a typical profile of the “British terrorist” as most are “demographically unremarkable” and simply reflect the communities in which they live.

[…] They are mostly British nationals, not illegal immigrants and, far from being Islamist fundamentalists, most are religious novices. Nor, the analysis says, are they “mad and bad”.

Those over 30 are just as likely to have a wife and children as to be loners with no ties, the research shows.

[…] The research, carried out by MI5’s behavioural science unit, is based on in-depth case studies on “several hundred individuals known to be involved in, or closely associated with, violent extremist activity” ranging from fundraising to planning suicide bombings in Britain.

[…] Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could actually be regarded as religious novices. Very few have been brought up in strongly religious households, and there is a higher than average proportion of converts. Some are involved in drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes. MI5 says there is evidence that a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation.

[…] Crucially, the research has revealed that those who become terrorists “are a diverse collection of individuals, fitting no single demographic profile, nor do they all follow a typical pathway to violent extremism”.

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