The crime-terrorism nexus

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Series Details No.10, April 2017
Publication Date 12/04/2017
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A criminal past is a common, yet often overlooked, characteristic of many European jihadists. This Brief examines the link between petty crime and terrorism, as well as the ways in which criminal experiences shape terrorist actions.

That there is a link between terrorism and crime is common knowledge: terrorism itself is a crime, often funded by organised criminal activity. But in the case of Daesh, the link goes much further.

The organisation recruits more former criminals, and funds itself more through petty – not organised – criminal activities than other groups. Yet this also offers law enforcement officials an opportunity to pursue it from another angle beyond the usual radicalisation narrative. This requires a zeroing in on hitherto neglected petty criminals, however.

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