[ExI] Terrorist? Who can tell?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Fri Aug 22 12:42:05 UTC 2008

MI5 report challenges views on terrorism in Britain


MI5 has concluded that there is no easy way to identify those who
become involved in terrorism in Britain

They are mostly British nationals, not illegal immigrants and, far
from being Islamist fundamentalists, most are religious novices.

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.

Far from being lone individuals with no ties, the majority of those
over 30 have steady relationships, and most have children. MI5 says
this challenges the idea that terrorists are young men driven by
sexual frustration and lured to "martyrdom" by the promise of
beautiful virgins waiting for them in paradise. It is wrong to assume
that someone with a wife and children is less likely to commit acts of

Those involved in British terrorism are not unintelligent or gullible,
and nor are they more likely to be well-educated; their educational
achievement ranges from total lack of qualifications to degree-level
education. However, they are almost all employed in low-grade jobs.

The security service believes the terrorist groups operating in
Britain today are different in many important respects both from
Islamist extremist activity in other parts of the world and from
historical terrorist movements such as the IRA or the Red Army


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