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No stereotypical terrorist, intelligence agency says

AFP [1]
Thursday, Aug 21, 2008

There is no straightforward way to identify the typical extremist, research conducted by the domestic intelligence agency MI5 shows, The Guardian reported Thursday.

Citing an internal research document it had seen, the daily said that MI5 had found that the hundreds of known and suspected extremists analysed were “a diverse collection of individuals, fitting no single demographic profile, nor do they all follow a typical pathway to violent extremism.”

The researchers who wrote the report were said to have concluded that their results “challenge many of the stereotypes that are held about who becomes a terrorist and why.”

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According to The Guardian, the research found that most of those analysed were British nationals, and many do not ardently follow their faith regularly, with some involved in drug-taking and prostitution.

The research also found that typically they were not particularly prone to mental health problems, while the majority of those over 30 who were involved in violent extremism were not loners but instead had strong relationships with children.

The Home Office declined to comment on the report.