Dutch terror suspects often poorly educated, unemployed, ex-criminals

Police guard in a detention center
Police guard in a detention center. (Photo: Politie)

Dutch terrorism suspects are often poorly educated, unemployed and have a previous criminal record, according to the Dutch Study Center on Crime and Law Enforcement. Their profile hardy differs from that of ordinary criminals, the researchers conclude, RTL Nieuws reports.

The center looked at the data of 353 terror suspects, almost all the people suspected of a terrorist crime in the Netherlands over the past 14 years. They found that nearly two thirds of the suspects were previously suspected in another crime, like shoplifting or threats. Two thirds only completed primary school, and only 4 percent graduated higher education. And more than half of them are unemployed and on benefits. 

The researchers suspect that former criminals who regret what they did are more susceptible to radicalization. They therefore call for better counseling for young people who want to leave a life of crime. 

The National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security agrees that crime and terrorism are indeed intertwined. That is extra worrying, because terrorists could use their old criminal networks to get weapons and finance their terrorist action out of criminal wealth, the coordinator said, according to RTL.