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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Profiling the Terrorist Identity

Are you traveling to Europe this summer? Do you think you could spot a terrorist if you saw one? Bet against that.

In June 2007 (I'm still cleaning out my home office), The Atlantic Monthly ran a short piece based on the research of Edwin Bakker of Netherlands Institute of International Relations:
The author profiled 242 European Muslim terrorists nabbed since September 2001: 40 percent of them had been born in Europe; many were poor and had criminal records; almost all were single (or divorced) men; and they ranged widely in age, from their teens to near retirement. But none of these factors distinguished them in any significant way from the broader population of European Muslims.
Basically, as the magazine reported, profiling efforts in Europe are doomed to round up lots of innocent people.

You can read Bakker's latest publication on this topic here (that's a pdf):
"Muslims in the Netherlands: Tensions and Violent Conflict," Tinka Veldhuis & Edwin Bakker, in: Ethno-religious Conflict in Europe: Typologies of Radicalisation in Europe’s Muslim Communities, Michael Emmerson ed. 1 May 2009, pp. 87-114.

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