Sunday 05 July 2020

Dutch combatants in Syria and Iraq more likely to be Muslim converts

Laura Hansen escaped from IS in Syria earlier this year.

Laura Hansen escaped from IS in Syria in July, having gone with her family to the war zone.

People who converted to Islam are far more likely to travel to fight in Syria and Iraq than the general Dutch Muslim population, according to a report by terrorism specialists.

Of the 280 Dutch ‘jihadgangers‘, 17% are converts, compared to just over 2% of all Muslims, the The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies concluded.

The figures are similar in Germany and France, where respectively 12% and 13% of those who travel to the conflict chose to join the religion.

Reinier Bergema, who carried out the research, also noted that 61% of converts who went to fight in the war were women, even though they made up just 26% of the total number of Dutch combatants.

Experts said converts were more susceptible to radicalisation because they acquired their religion from external sources, which meant they were more likely to be influenced by extremist messages circulating on the internet.

The researchers also found that jihadists were relatively young, with an average age of 23, and were concentrated in Zuid-Holland – 89 out of 163 fighters whose address was known came from the province, including 32 from The Hague.

Around 45% were of Moroccan origin, while 10% were from ethnic Turkish families.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.