- Financial comfort and social isolation two key markers of potential recruits
- New immigrants were far less likely to support acts of terror, finds study
- Thinktank warns against the profiling of groups more prone to radicalisation
British Muslims most at risk of radicalisation are those whose families have the strongest links to the UK, new research claims.
A University of London study found being financially comfortable but suffering from mild depression and being socially isolated were also factors which linked those sympathetic to terrorism.
Recent immigrants, on the other hand, were far less likely to support violent protest, even if they felt unwelcome in their adopted communities.
Home grown terrorist: An Islamist fighter, identified as Abu Muthanna al-Yemeni from Britain, speaks in video calling on Muslims to join the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq and Syria.
Radical Muslim Cleric Anjem Choudray leading a group of protesters outside the Syrian Embassy in London last year. New research has found radical Muslims are more likely to have stronger links to the UK
It comes as hysteria mounts in the UK over the number of homegrown Islamist hardliners who are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with the Islamic State insurgency.
There was shock in the country when the videos purporting to show the execution of Western hostages held by the group featured a masked man who spoke with a London accent, as well as a recruitment video featuring three other young British men.
Questions have been raised as to why men and women born and raised in Britain feel inspired leave the country and fight for a cause with values alien to those held dear in Britain.
More than 600 British Muslim men and women of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin, aged 18 to 45, were asked 16 questions about their sympathies for violent protest and terrorism.
Researchers analysed their responses to sort them into three groups: most sympathetic (or most vulnerable), most condemning (most resistant), and a large intermediary group that acted as a reference.
Their findings, published in the online open-access journal PLOS One, showed those most sympathetic towards terrorism were likely to report symptoms of depression and to report religion as 'very important' rather than 'fairly important'. They were also less likely to be of Bangladeshi origin.
'Contrary to popular views about radicalisation, unemployment, educational achievements, discrimination, and stressful life events did not show associations with sympathies towards violent protest and terrorism,' the researchers wrote.
Those most likely to condemn terrorism were more likely to include migrants born outside of the UK, as well as people unavailable for work (mostly stay-at-home mothers). They also reported a greater number of social contacts and were less likely to be unemployed.
They were also more likely to report symptoms of depression than the reference group.
Curiously they reported low levels of social capital, as measured by satisfaction with the area were they lived, trust in their neighbours and feelings of safety.
'A low score, therefore, reflected fears associated with the neighbourhood, including violence in the community,' the researchers wrote.
Omar Khyam, left, the son of a wealthy businessman from Crawley, West Sussex, was arrested in March 2004 in the 'final stages' of preparing an attack. Irfan Naseer, right, a pharmacy graduate whose parents moved to Britain from the the Punjab, was jailed after plotting to unleash a deadly terror attack on London's tubes
Kamaldeep Bhui, lead author of the study and professor of cultural anthropology at Queen Mary, University of London told The Independent: 'Migrant groups are much stronger in condemning terrorism. I think the most compelling argument for this is that recent migrants are dealing with a hard struggle and they've invested in coming here.
'They've got adversity to deal with and are not in a position where they can indulge some of the ideas of grievance; whereas people born or brought up here probably take for granted the security and safety where they live and the education and support.'
But Quilliam, the counter-extremism thinktank, counselled caution over the findings. Dr Erin Marie Saltman, a senior researcher for the group, said such findings could lead to unhelpful policies which target 'minority age-specific groups.'
'That becomes very dangerous,' she said.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2768926/British-Muslims-families-lived-UK-generations-likely-radicalised-recent-migrants.html#ixzz3ELb4KUHw
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