Who Are the European Jihadis? From Criminals to Terrorists and Back? Midterm Report

on 11.09.2018

GLOBSEC is proud to present  Who Are the European Jihadis? From Criminals to Terrorists and Back? Midterm Report, a report  by co-authors Kacper Rekawek, Stanislav Matejka, Viktor Szucs, Tomas Benuska, Karin Kajzarova and Jakub Rafay. This is the second major output from a two year research project focusing on the existence of the presumed criminal-terrorist (#crimeterror) nexus in Europe. The project is funded under PMI IMPACT, a global grant initiative of Philip Morris International to support projects against illegal trade. GLOBSEC is fully independent in implementing the project and has editorial responsibility for all views and opinions expressed herein.

The findings of this report are based on a dataset of 225 cases of individuals about whom the authors were able to collect open-source data between September 2017 and June 2018. Of these, 197 are jihadi terrorists and 28, effectively comprising the project’s control group, are far-left or nationalist Greek terrorists. They were all arrested for terrorism offences in 2015 and later convicted (120 individuals), expelled from a given country because of their alleged terrorism links (20), or died while executing terrorist attacks (29) in the 11 examined EU countries—Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK. Included is also a sample of 28 suspects who are still at large and are sought by security authorities, 15 of which have already been convicted in absentia.

The phenomenon of the crime-terror nexus, i.e., the scale of the overlap between the two milieus in Europe and the intensity of their interconnections, is at the heart of the report. However, GLOBSEC’s multifaceted focus on different subsets of European terrorists and disciplined and thorough data collection allow for a broader analysis of the phenomenon of jihadi terrorism threatening Europe. Thus, this report should also be seen as GLOBSEC’s take on “the state of European jihad” and an attempt to map out its features.

In the report you will find an analysis showing preliminary conclusions along 8 thematic sets of variables: crime-terror nexus, age & gender, education & employment, financing of terrorist activities, radicalisation, citizenship (national origin), foreign fighting experience, and solo actor phenomenon.

You can read and download the Midterm Report publication here.