Terrorists Proving Harder to Profile

Terrorists Proving Harder to Profile

As we have noted here ad infinitum, there is no firewall within Islamic communities between jihadists and peaceful Muslims. There has been no pronunciation of takfir — that is, a declaration that he is not a Muslim — against Osama bin Laden or any other Islamic jihadist. Instead, there have been vague condemnations of “terrorism,” without defining what that is, or condemnations of attacks against “innocent civilians,” without defining either “innocent” or “civilian” against jihadist denials that certain groups of non-Muslims are either one.

In reality, jihadists move freely within Muslim communities, recruiting by pointing to chapter and verse of the Qur’an and Hadith, and are largely unchallenged by peaceful Muslims as they do so.

“Terrorists Proving Harder to Profile: European Officials Say Traits of Suspected Islamic Extremists Are Constantly Shifting,” by Craig Whitlock in the Washington Post, with thanks to Elizabeth Kantor and Diana West:

ZUTPHEN, Netherlands — On the surface, the young Dutch Moroccan mother looked like an immigrant success story: She studied business in college, hung out at the pub with her friends and was known for her fashionable taste in clothes.So residents of this 900-year-old river town were thrown for a loop last year when Bouchra El-Hor, now 24, appeared in a British courtroom wearing handcuffs under an all-encompassing black veil. Prosecutors said she had covered up plans for a terrorist attack and wrote a letter offering to sacrifice herself and her infant son as martyrs.

A woman in Brussels reads news of Muriel Degauque, 38, a Catholic from the southern Belgian city of Charleroi who converted to Islam, traveled to Iraq and blew herself up in November 2005. The incident still perplexes Belgians.

“We were flabbergasted to learn that she had become a fanatic,” said Renee Haantjes, a college instructor who recalled her as “a normal Dutch girl.”

People in Zutphen may have been surprised, but terrorism suspects from atypical backgrounds are becoming increasingly common in Western Europe. With new plots surfacing every month, police across Europe are arresting significant numbers of women, teenagers, white-skinned suspects and people baptized as Christians — groups that in the past were considered among the least likely to embrace Islamic radicalism.

The demographics of those being arrested are so diverse that many European counterterrorism officials and analysts say they have given up trying to predict what sorts of people are most likely to become terrorists. Age, sex, ethnicity, education and economic status have become more and more irrelevant.

“It’s very difficult to make a profile of terrorists,” Tjibbe Joustra, the Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism, said in an interview. “To have a profile that you can recognize, so that you can predict, ‘This guy is going to be radical, perhaps he will cross the line into terrorism’ — that, I think, is impossible.”…

The author of the study, Edwin Bakker, a researcher at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, tried to examine almost 20 variables concerning the suspects’ social and economic backgrounds. In general, he determined that no reliable profile existed — their traits were merely an accurate reflection of the overall Muslim immigrant population in Europe. “There is no standard jihadi terrorist in Europe,” the study concluded….

“In general, he determined that no reliable profile existed — their traits were merely an accurate reflection of the overall Muslim immigrant population in Europe.” In other words, as Dinesh D’Souza has noted about the people he identifies as “traditional Muslims” and wants us to ally with, the peaceful Muslims have no theological differences with the jihadists. This story illustrates one reason why such an alliance would never in fact be possible.

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