Profile of a British Islamist As a Terrorist

By Matthew Harwood

Like other studies, the report notes that its analysis finds that British Islamist terrorists are not uneducated or economically desperate. Thirty-one percent had at one point attended university while 42 percent either were employed or going to school at the date of charge or attack.

(For more on jihadists favorite line of work, see Stephanie Berrong's "Engineering Jihad?" from the December 2009 issue of Security Management.)

"The idea that lack of opportunities, poverty or lack of education are more than an aggravating factor is not supported by the findings," CSC Director Douglas Murray wrote in The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

Nearly all jihadist terrorists in the United Kingdom are male. Only five of the 124 individuals analyzed were female, three of whom were convicted not for plotting or executing an attack but for knowing about a plot beforehand or covering it up afterward.

Murray also did not shy from taking a controversial stance on profiling based on his organization's findings.

"And the idea that a terrorist cannot to some extent be racially profiled is also wrong," he wrote in the Telegraph. "Government should not ignore facts because they are difficult. Almost half of those convicted were of south-central Asian ancestry (46 per cent) - though this is lower than the percentage of Muslims in the UK who have such ancestry. But apologists for jihadis often try to claim that profiling is counter-productive. In fact, as one arm of surveillance, it can be very productive indeed."

♦ Photo by Ellywa/WikiMediaCommons


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