French Study: Average Jihadist is Young Under-educated, Petty Criminal Born in Migrant-Heavy Suburbs

Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers outside the Grande Mosquee de Paris (Great Mosque of Paris) in Paris on June 25, 2017. Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan during which devotees are required to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn to …

A study conducted by the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri) examined 137 individuals convicted of radical Islamic terror offences to create a profile of the average French jihadist.

The average radical Islamic extremist is a young man in his 20s, likely born in one of the country’s poorer migrant-heavy suburbs, with a background in petty crime, broadcaster Franceinfo reports.

Of the 137 convicted Islamic extremists, the average age is 26 and the vast majority, 131, were men with only six women convicted between 2004 and 2017.

Around 40 per cent of the convicts came from heavily-migrant populated poor suburbs, 90 per cent came from large families, and around half didn’t have a degree-level education. Over one third, 36 per cent, were unemployed while a further 22 per cent were employed in part-time or occasional work.

While all the convicts were Muslims, 74 per cent of them had been born into the Islamic faith and 26 per cent had been French converts to Islam. Most of the convicts, 69 per cent, were born in France but a majority — 59 per cent — had at least one parent from the “Maghreb region”, or North West Africa.

Few of the convicts had become radical Islamists overnight, with the process taking several years for many. The idea that Muslims were being radicalised solely due to the internet was also questioned as many of the convicts described having a community of fellow believers in the real world.

The study comes nearly a year after noted French academic and expert on radical Islam Gilles Kepel released a book showing the rise of Islamic extremism in France’s migrant-heavy suburbs. In an exclusive interview in Paris last year with Breitbart London, Kepel described how radical Islam had risen through several waves since the 1970s.

To tackle the problems of Islamic radicalism in the country, French President Emmanuel Macron promised earlier this year to “restructure” Islam in France in order to tackle extremism.

Other attempts to deradicalise young Muslims, like a deradicalisation centre in Beaumont-en-Véron, labelled “jihadi rehab”, have failed due to a lack of participation from Muslims. The Centre for Prevention, Reintegration, and Citizenship was forced to close its doors in the summer of 2017 due to the inability to fill the centre with willing participants.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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