Crisis may push ordinary Muslims towards terrorism

aug 07

"There is no useful profile to assist law enforcement or intelligence to predict who will follow this trajectory of radicalisation. Rather, the individuals who take this course begin as 'unremarkable' from various walks of life." ...

Direct personal experience was not a factor in the radicalisation of individuals in the study. Instead, it was a search for identity that led them to radical Islam ...

Individuals within the study groups were generally educated to high school level or above, were from middle-class families, were males under 35 and were the second or third generation within their Western societies. Converts to Islam were particularly vulnerable to radicalisation.

The cases studied included the attacks in Madrid in March 2004, in London and Leeds, in the north of England, in July 2005, a thwarted attack in Canada last year, and Operation Pendennis, which involved federal, NSW and Victorian police targeting members of alleged terrorist groups in Melbourne and Sydney in 2005 and last year. More than 20 people were charged, and have been committed to stand trial.

The case studies in the report showed that each group had a spiritual figure who sanctioned terrorist action, and an organisational leader to keep the group focused and motivated.

"For those groups of homegrown, radicalised individuals who do not seek jihad abroad, the dedication and commitment of their leader to jihad is often the main factor in determining whether the group will commit a terrorist act or not," the report said.

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