Home-grown terrorism now main threat

news.com.au via fortress australia oct 07

FIVE years ago, the average terrorist was in his mid-20s, married with kids, university-educated, middle-class, psychologically stable and probably an engineer.

Today, he's more likely to be poor, of limited education and a second- or third-generation product of the culture he is attacking ...

The threat was now coming from home-grown young men in their early 20s who recruited mostly on the internet.

Dr Sageman said there were "potentially thousands" of these "new" terrorists, although they were incapable of replacing older terror networks because of their self-organising, independent structure. Many were petty criminals or gang members who eventually drifted back to their Islamic roots.

Their actions were inspired by a sense of "moral outrage" at perceived grievances against Muslims, usually focusing on Iraq, reinforced by personal experiences of alienation in their host countries.

Dr Sageman said that well-intentioned attempts by governments to change attitudes within the Muslim community by promoting moderate interpretations of Islam were likely to fail as a result.

"That's not why they join. They join for the glory," he said.

Kinship bonds were the glue that held most terror cells together, rather than ethnicity, religion or ideology, he said.