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Studying Europe's Muslim terrorists

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 02:53 pm
The below article reports on a new 74 pp. study: "Jihadi terrorists in Europe, their characteristics and the circumstances in which they joined the jihad: an exploratory study", by Edwin Bakker.

The paper is not available online, or not for free at least - you can order it for € 10. More background information about the study, of the Clingendael Security and Conflict Programme.

Quote:
No such thing as a 'European jihadist'

31-01-2007
Radio Netherlands

Short version:

Quote:
Europe's so-called jihadists have very little in common. That, at least, is the conclusion reached by Dutch terrorism expert Edwin Bakker. For his research work Bakker studied the backgrounds and motives of almost 250 Muslims who have been either convicted or accused of involvement in terrorism.

One similarity between the different terrorist groups in Europe, however, is that the terrorists almost all come from the country in which that group is based: they are 'home grown'. "The vast majority were born and brought up here [..]. Of the 244 terrorists I studied, a mere eight came from outside Europe to carry out attacks. The people who carry out attacks thought them up here and want to execute them here, too."

Bakker says there's very little contact between terrorist cells in different European countries. In the immediate aftermath of 11 September 2001, terrorist groups in Europe appeared mainly to have links with, or get their instructions from, al-Qaeda. Now that's a thing of the past.

In the Netherlands, for example, the group codenamed Hofstad group by the Dutch authorities - which included the convicted murderer of Theo van Gogh - came into being in isolation. The Dutch intelligence service has labelled such terrorists as 'self igniters', but it's difficult to predict just what kind of person is susceptible to this process of radicalisation. "You come across Muslim terrorists as young as 16 as well as those in their late 50s, some with low and others with high levels of education."

Moreover, the aim of the terrorists has changed in recent years. Just after 9/11, many jihadists still wanted to try and establish some kind of Islamic state in Europe. Now, the aims appear to be determined on a more personal basis.

"With more recent incidents and networks, one has to wonder whether the aims are indeed still political." The Hofstad group, too, didn't appear to have any clearly formulated ultimate objectives.

It did however set a trend in another respect: its members were younger than, for example, the terrorists involved in the 11 September attacks or the attacks in Madrid. "In Denmark, for example, youths of 16-17 have been arrested. Radicalisation is often connected with the search for an identity, and that search is beginning ever earlier."
 
Steve 41oo
 
  0  
Reply Mon 5 Mar, 2007 07:37 am
The first sentence of the article above reads

Quote:
Europe's so-called jihadists have very little in common


Yet the headline is

Quote:
No such thing as European jihadist


This is completely misleading. The article makes it clear there are jihadists in Europe, (born and bred in Europe too) but that they have little in common. Yet the headline denies their existence.

I further disagree that they have little in common. Its quite obvious what they have in common, their religion for a start.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Mar, 2007 03:21 pm
Steve 41oo wrote:
The first sentence of the article above reads

Quote:
Europe's so-called jihadists have very little in common

Yet the headline is

Quote:
No such thing as European jihadist

This is completely misleading. The article makes it clear there are jihadists in Europe, (born and bred in Europe too) but that they have little in common. Yet the headline denies their existence.

Umm, that point seems a little obtuse to me.

I mean, when you say, "there is no such thing as a European nation," for example, its clear that you mean that there is no European nation, even if there are of course many nations that are European. When someone claims, "there is no such thing as a European citizen", its clear that he means that there are, in his view, no people who'd describe themselves as a citizen of Europe, though of course all Europeans are a citizen of some sort of other. If a zoologist writes, "there is no such thing as a European cat", its clear that he means that there is no specific European breed or type of cats, even though obviously there are lots of cats in Europe.

Same here. I think that what the headline means is pretty obvious in context. There is no 'European jihadist' - you've got these so-called jihadists, but they're fragmented, not in contact with each other, and in fact have little in common - more of a collection of greatly varying and isolated individual stories than any kind of new movement coming up.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Mar, 2007 12:48 am
I come from the west of Scotland, and growing up there I was always against having separate schools for catholics and protestants. It perpetuates a rift in society.

That applies much more when children at a separate school are from a different ethnic background. We can never hope to integrate society as long as there are separate faith schools imo.

So I think we shoud have a root-and-branch homogenisation of the lot.
Oh, what a lot of squeals that would cause.


Perhaps some progress here- slightly off-topic, sorry
http://www.theherald.co.uk/display.var.1251443.0.0.php?utag=28480
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Apr, 2007 12:07 pm
Based on the short version, I don't see how it can be concluded there are no European Jihadists.

European Jihadists may not have direct operational ties to external Jihadis, but are we really supposed to believe that they have not been informed and inspired by Bin Laden and his cohorts?

Even if they have not, why is it impossible for a home grown jihadi movement to form?

Perhaps the title of the article should be "No Such Thing as Al-Qaeda Europe." I'm not sure that would be true but clearly it is more supported by the article than is the actual title.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Apr, 2007 12:31 pm
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Even if they have not, why is it impossible for a home grown jihadi movement to form?

I think the point was, admittedly going on the same short report, that the extremists in Europe do not actually form a "movement" in any operative way. That instead, they are scattered, isolated little groups with little or no contact or coordination of activities, and little cohesion even in their beliefs or motivations either. And that, if anything, these groups are fragmenting further, rather than coalescing.

Doesnt mean they cant still do bad things - a murder is easily enough committed. But if you want to fight the threat effectively, it's important to know whether you are indeed dealing with a "European jihadi movement", or with a scattering of disorganised, frustrated individuals.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 11:36 am
Khaleej Times Online
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 01:16 pm
Quote:
Dr Farish Noor is a Malaysian political scientist and human rights activist
which explains why he knows very little about Europe, European politics, human rights, law and probably Muslims.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 02:19 pm
it does? i don't know how much he knows...it's an opinion piece.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 02:24 pm
well yes of course it is, I was jsut being a bit bloody minded...not unusual.

feel better now Smile
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 02:27 pm
well, i've never met a Malaysian political scientist and human rights activist. Perhaps they are a specific breed.

I was just suprised when I encountered my angry gut reaction (you bastards! you plundered us for centuries!) which goes against all of my training and rational beliefs. funny how that stuff works.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 02:30 pm
dagmaraka wrote:
well, i've never met a Malaysian political scientist and human rights activist. Perhaps they are a specific breed.

I was just suprised when I encountered my angry gut reaction (you bastards! you plundered us for centuries!) which goes against all of my training and rational beliefs. funny how that stuff works.
not at all quite understandable. And yes, "stuff works"...usually not well.
0 Replies
 
xingu
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2007 07:49 am
Quote:
Lies, damned lies and terrorists
Ziauddin Sardar

Published 21 May 2007

2 comments Print version Listen RSS Most low-intensity attacks against businesses and governments are carried out by terrorists who have nothing to do with Islam

We take it for granted that the terrorists stalking Europe are all Muslims. Hardly surprising, given that major terrorist atrocities in Europe from the Madrid bombings to the 7 July attacks were carried out by young Muslim men. Add daily headlines of "Muslim threats", routine revelations of "terrorist plots" foiled or around the corner, and it all begins to appear a self-evident truth. But self-evident truths, I know from experience, often turn out to be false under cursory scrutiny.

These are facts. In 2006, there were 498 incidents described as "terrorist attacks" across the European Union. Exactly 424 of these attacks were carried out by "separatist terrorists" such as the Basque group Eta, operating in Spain and France, and were limited to the Basque region and Corsica. Eta itself was responsible for 136 of these. Left-wing and anarchist groups, active in Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain, carried out 55 attacks. The vast majority of these resulted in lim ited material damage and were not designed to kill. Only one, carried out by Eta in Madrid, was deadly, producing two fatalities.

Where do Muslim terrorists fit in all this? The Muslim extremists were responsible for a single attack in Germany. On 31 July, two suitcases packed with explosive devices were placed on board regional trains in the Cologne area. The devices failed to detonate. Two Lebanese nationals were subsequently arrested and charged. The suspects claimed to have been motivated by the Danish cartoons affair. In addition, there were two planned attacks, one in Denmark and the other in Britain, both of which were allegedly foiled. They do not feature in the 498 total.

These statistics come from the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2007, published by no less a reliable source than the European Police Office, or Europol. Terrorism, says the report, is not new to Europe, but its context has changed. It has two new features: it is essentially transnational and it is characterised by "externality" - that is, actions taken by one country have implications for other countries. For example, security measures taken by one country may divert a terrorist attack to another.

Apart from what it calls "Islamist terrorism", the report identifies two other types of terrorists: "ethno-nationalists and separatist groups", such as Eta and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and left-wing terror groups such as Greece's Revolutionary Struggle.

While Muslim terrorists get all the press and the attention, the vast majority of low-intensity attacks against businesses and governments, as the figures show, are actually carried out by terrorists who have nothing to do with Islam. Islam, however, features largely when it comes to arrests. Seven hundred and six individuals in total were arrested last year on suspicion of terrorism-related activities in the EU. Of these, 257 were clearly Muslim. But to these we must also add 156 British arrests, because Britain, says the report, did not provide details regarding arrested suspects due to ongoing trials. So we have 413 Muslims - well over half the total - arrested throughout Europe on terrorism charges.

Which brings us back to perceptions and what we take for granted. The Europol report makes it clear that Muslims are responsible for very little terrorism in Europe, but they are the group most likely to be arrested on suspicion of terrorism. In Britain, a long beard or a headscarf spells terrorist. In France and Spain, being Moroccan or Tunisian or Algerian is enough for you to be classified as a terrorist. In Germany and Holland, speaking Turkish is equivalent to declaring terrorist intentions.

The scale of our fears never works by the numbers, and the numbers can never be an argument for complacency. Yet there is something instructive in being constantly reminded of these figures, which have remained consistent over the years. This is not a case of seeking to prove anything with damned lies and statistics; on the contrary, the numbers should tell us that we are highly selective with our fears. The best analogy I can give is the weather. When it is extremely cold, we express ourselves in Celsius: "It's going to be -3 tonight." But when we have a hot spell, we rush back to the alarmism of Fahrenheit: "Ninety-five! What a scorcher!"

The reality we need to figure out is how far our selective fears do the terrorists' work for them. When we create draconian, illiberal defences on the presumption of a perceived threat, we are also terrorising the undifferentiated mass of European citizens who are Muslim and have legitimate fears of being demonised, marginalised and deemed guilty.

What the numbers tell us is that the hardest thing to achieve is a risk assessment of imponderables and unknowns. It is a great deal easier to contrive self-fulfilling prophesies.

And that is why we need to be more careful in determining whether we will fear in Celsius or in Fahrenheit.

The full Europol report can be obtained from http://www.europol.europa.eu/publications/TESAT/ TESAT2007.pdf

See also "Bloody Terrorists: terrorism in context"


http://www.newstatesman.com/200705210023
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2007 11:34 am
Good find. Though I have to disagree that people in Europe had forgotten ETA or PKK. Much violence is also stemming from skinheads or anarchists (and their clashes together) - though that is not terrorism. But it is true that international and especially American press does not pay much attention to instances of violence not caused by Muslims, or looks for some sort of an Islamic link automatically. In national press in Europe, it is not unreported though. At least that's my impression.
nimh?
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 05:19 am
The author is not comparing like with like. Al Qaida terrorism is international, has active terrorist cells around the world, is well financed and exploits religion to produce jihadist fighters actively seeking death. The threat from Islamist extremists is orders of magnitude greater than from ETA or the PKK.
0 Replies
 
xingu
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 06:16 am
The author is talking about attacks in Europe. He's not concerned about whether ETA or PKK are international. Most all terrorist attacks in Europe are caused by groups like these. They are terrorist organizations. The difference is AQ will attack to kill people and groups like ETA primarly destroy property. But the number of attacks by AQ is virtually nil compared to attacks by other terrorist groups.

The PKK is a communist party that has been responsible for thousands of deaths in Turkey over the past twenty or so years. They are primarly a local terrorist group, not as international as AQ. That doesn't change the fact that it is deadly.

According to the TESAT report found here, there were 498 terrorist attacks in the EU (and does not include Turkey) and only one was by an Islamist group.

There were 706 suspects arrested of which 257 were Islamist.

So, to date, Islamist generate the greatest fear from fewest attacks. That's because when they do attack they are very deadly.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 09:29 pm
dagmaraka wrote:
Good find. Though I have to disagree that people in Europe had forgotten ETA or PKK. Much violence is also stemming from skinheads or anarchists (and their clashes together) - though that is not terrorism. But it is true that international and especially American press does not pay much attention to instances of violence not caused by Muslims, or looks for some sort of an Islamic link automatically. In national press in Europe, it is not unreported though. At least that's my impression.
nimh?


This is the sort of tripe that will, if it proves a virul contagion, lead to the demise of the West.

It is not, at all, true that the international and (especially) American press does not pay attention to violence that is not born of violence. Offer your proof if you can.

Obviously, violence is an integral part of the human experience and it is happening every which way around the globe, but should the press report on a isolated incident in Zimbabwe over a systematic run of killing perpetuated by extremist muslims?

Each and every day some SOB is comitting a violent act. Are these acts the journalistic equivalents of a muslim blowing his or her sorry ass up to kill scores of innocents --- yet again?

Good God wake up you Leftist idjits!

Muslim violence is not OK because it but one of many varieties of violence. Muslim violence and skinhead violence have no, under any circumstance other than the definition of violence, equivalence of scope.

Violence is equally horrendous in the individual act, but to suggest that the aggrgated mayhem of muslim violence is, in toto, equivalent to the occassional violence of other extremists is not only ridiculous it is self-destructive.

When Nazi Germany engaged in it's unholy and violent attempt to subjugate the world, it was not the only source of violence on earth.

Would dagmarka, then, have bleated about how the press focused only on germanic violence?

I doubt it.

You fools who attempt to excuse the scourge of the 21st Century on the basis of relativism will be the first ones to lose your heads when the Caliphate takes control.

Take your heads out of the clouds and your asses and realize that these bastards want to kill you before all others.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 09:45 pm
hon, you need to read before you post.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 09:57 pm
dagmaraka wrote:
hon, you need to read before you post.


Dear you need to think (deeply) before you post.

Spare me your smarmy and inspid counters.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Fri 25 May, 2007 07:02 pm
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
It is not, at all, true that the international and (especially) American press does not pay attention to violence that is not born of violence. Offer your proof if you can.

What on earth are you on about? Where did Dag ever say that? (and what is it even supposed to mean?)

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Obviously, violence is an integral part of the human experience and it is happening every which way around the globe, but should the press report on a isolated incident in Zimbabwe over a systematic run of killing perpetuated by extremist muslims?

Well thats where perspective comes in, or should come in, at least to some elemental degree.

You compare a hypothetical "isolated incident in Zimbabwe" with "a systematic run of killing perpetuated by extremist muslims".

In truth, of course, what has been taking place in Zimbabwe has been a systematic run of torturing, killing, and starving of anyone deemed a potential part of any future protest; the bulldozering of entire city parts deemed potentially unreliable.

In truth, more people have suffered in Zimbabwe alone by the one petty dictator's totalitarianism, than have in all of Europe combined by Islamist terrorism. 700 000 people have lost their homes, their livelihoods or both, in Zimbabwe, in just the last two years. Seven hundred thousand people.

Now does this mean that Islamist terrorism is A-OK? Course not. Or that it is a mere trifle? Course not.

What it does mean is that you are, in your post here, showcasing a school example of the kind of myopia that Dag may have tried reflecting a saner sense of perspective against.

Those, like you, who describe Islamist terrorism as a Black Death-like scourge of today's mankind that makes all other organised political terror shrink to mere "occassional violence of other extremists" in comparison, have not just gotten imprisoned by a ludicrous loss of perspective. They are also showcasing the exact incredulously limited horizon that Dag was describing re the US media. You proved her point.

I mean, for God's sake, listen to yourself:

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
When Nazi Germany engaged in it's unholy and violent attempt to subjugate the world, it was not the only source of violence on earth.

Would dagmarka, then, have bleated about how the press focused only on germanic violence?

Anyone who equates the current crop of Islamist violence with the havoc wrecked by Nazism has lost all and any sense of perspective.

The Nazis killed six million Jews alone. Osama bin Laden had three thousand Americans killed. I'm sorry, but let's be brutally cold-minded here. Add the thousands of London, Madrid, the hundreds who were killed in terrorist attacks in Turkey, Morocco, and you still have fewer people than were killed in any of the myriad civil wars that accompanied the Cold War throughout the developing world. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan, in all their brutal primitivity, did not murder more than a range of brutal dictatorships on the left and the right did in their time during the Cold War.

F*ck, more people have died in the Congo over the past decade, than at the hands of all Islamist terrorist attacks across the world added up. Do you know how many people have died in the civil wars in Congo over the past decade? Care to make a guess? Do you perhaps think it's comparable to Iraq, the bloodiest of all war grounds of Islamists yet, if you would choose to frame the war there as such? Think again.

In between three comma seven and four comma six MILLION people died in the civil wars in Congo, during the last ten years. And not an Islamist in sight. This is what you're trying to describe as the pesky "occassional violence of other extremists" that, whether it is Zimbabwe- or Germany-bound, pales in significance compared to the one Big Battle against Evil we face.

Believe it or not, but even today, Islamist terrorism is still responsible for a mere minority of the victims of state and non-state terrorism across the world. Does that make the actual horror of its attacks any less? No. Does it make the brainwashed hate of their perpetrators any less venal or fearsome? No. Does it mean we need to be any less alert to their networks, their plots, their propoganda? No.

But get a grip, for chrissakes. It's hardly suddenly the only game in town. It's hardly the only thing we should worry about or focus on, to the marginalisation of all "occasional" violence from other camps. We've seen worse, a lot worse. The Yugoslav wars were worse to the nth, in sheer numbers of victims, than anything the Muslim terrorists have done in Europe and the US combined.

Now I know that the US had not encountered mass terrorism on its own soil before, in the way that Europe has had a long tradition of having to counter. So I realise that the trauma hit all the harder. But you had three thousand people dying and you're equating it with Hitler?

In your eagerness to reduce all the world's chaos, suffering, and political fanaticisms to one, huge, all-overshadowing, all-explaining epic struggle between Good and Evil, you have succumbed to outright hysteria now.
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