ICSR Report: Criminal Pasts, Terrorist Futures: European Jihadists and the New Crime-Terror Nexus

Editor’s Note: Cross-posted from Counterfeit Cigarette Study Forum.

From: The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) | Department of War Studies, King’s College London

About this Study

• The presence of former criminals in terrorist groups is neither new nor unprecedented. But with Islamic State and the ongoing mobilisation of European jihadists, the phenomenon has become more pronounced, more visible, and more relevant to the ways in which jihadist groups operate. In many European countries, the majority of jihadist foreign fighters are former criminals.


Targeting All Streams of Financing

Efforts at countering terrorist finance have traditionally focused on the international financial system – with meagre results. The limited cost of attacks, together with the merging of criminal and jihadist milieus, demonstrates more clearly than ever that the focus on financial transactions is insufficient, and should be replaced with an all-streams approach. Our recommendation is that countering terrorist finance needs to be broadened to counter all potential sources of funding, including small-scale and ‘petty crime’, such as drug dealing, theft, robberies, and the trade in counterfeit goods like clothes, bags, watches, perfumes, cigarettes, electrical items, and computer games.

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