UK Politics

No easy way to identify terrorists

The Guardian this morning has an exclusive report having got its hands on a classified internal MI5 research document that says “there is no easy way to identify those who become involved in terrorism in Britain”.

The paper says the document 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 paper goes on to say that the MI5 report demolishes many of the common stereotypes about those involved in terrorism in the UK. It says, and as the 7/7 bombers proved and those jailed earlier this week, that they are mostly British nationals, not illegal immigrants and not Islamist fundamentalists, but religious novices.

This seems to chime with the story this week of the 16-year old schoolboy, Hammaad Munshi, who faces a jail term after being convicted today as Britain’s youngest terrorist. He is studying his GCSEs.

The paper reported that those over 30 are just as likely to have a wife and children as to be loners with no ties, the research shows. This seems a good description of the lead 7/7 bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan who was 30, lived in Dewsbury with his heavily pregnant wife and young child.

MI5 the papers says also plays down the importance of radical extremist clerics. It says these people have become secondary in their influence in radicalising British terrorists in recent years.