The Danger You Haven't Heard
Abigail R. Esman, IPT News
Most people can tell
you who the potential jihadists are, especially the ones in Europe and
You can point them out in a group:
they are immigrants, or more often, the children of immigrants, who
came from the Middle East or North Africa.
They often converse among one
another in Arabic. Many want to join the Islamic State and other
terror groups in Syria, or have gone and since returned. They are
mostly men, usually around age 20 or less, and have grown up feeling
alienated from the societies in which they live.
Most of this is wrong.
In fact, the UK-based Henry Jackson
Society has found that "those who convert to Islam are four times more
likely to become terrorists than those who are born Muslims." And in
2015, the Washington Post warned that converts have emerged "as some
of the most dangerous and fanatical adherents to radical
Now a recent study in the
Netherlands shows that "the share of converts to Islamist extremism
tends to be significantly higher" than those born into the faith. As
many as 17 percent of Dutch converts have joined the caliphate, the
study's authors claim â€“ seven times more than the percentage of
converts to the entire Dutch Muslim community. And most of those are
That study is supported by previous
reports that show that as many as 25 percent of the French Muslims who
have made hijrah to Syria are converts from other faiths. Figures are
slightly lower â€“ one in six, or about 17 percentâ€“ in Germany. In the
UK, according to the Economist, though converts comprise fewer than 4
percent of all Muslims, they account for 12 percent of "home-grown
jihadists." And in America, while one-fifth of Muslims are converts,
two-fifths, or 40 percent, of those arrested on suspicion of ISIS ties
in 2015 had converted.