MI5 overlooks the obvious in its profile of terrorist
Buried in the study is this unintentionally revealing finding:
MI5 has concluded that there is no easy way to identify those who become involved in terrorism in Britain, according to a classified internal research document on radicalisation seen by the Guardian.
The sophisticated analysis, based on hundreds of case studies by the security service, says there is no single pathway to violent extremism.
It concludes that it is not possible to draw up a typical profile of the "British terrorist" as most are "demographically unremarkable" and simply reflect the communities in which they live.
The "restricted" MI5 report takes apart many of the common stereotypes about those involved in British terrorism.
They are mostly British nationals, not illegal immigrants and, far from being Islamist fundamentalists, most are religious novices. Nor, the analysis says, are they "mad and bad".
Those over 30 are just as likely to have a wife and children as to be loners with no ties, the research shows.
The security service also plays down the importance of radical extremist clerics, saying their influence in radicalising British terrorists has moved into the background in recent years.
The research, carried out by MI5's behavioural science unit, is based on in-depth case studies on "several hundred individuals known to be involved in, or closely associated with, violent extremist activity" ranging from fundraising to planning suicide bombings in Britain.
...Who knew they were all Muslims? While the report does not identify the other characteristic I am sure they were all religious bigots whether they were otherwise observant or not. In fact it is religious bigotry that is the driving force behind Islamic terrorism. What the MI5 study failed to do is come up with a way of identifying the religious bigots in the Muslim population.
• British-based terrorists are as ethnically diverse as the UK Muslim population, with individuals from Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Caucasian backgrounds.