Many Dutch jihadists have "problematic backgrounds": police study

Before leaving the Netherlands for the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq, many Dutch jihadist had frequent problems with work, money, education, housing, crime and their psychological health, according to a police study in which the files of over 300 Dutch rebel fighters in the Syrian civil war were analyzed. This means that the distinction between psychologically disturbed perpetrators and ideologically driven terrorists has become obsolete, the police said, ANP reports.

The report from national information organization service DLIO shows that the group of Dutch jihadists includes relatively many people with "problematic backgrounds". Relatively many people in this group are uneducated and were unemployed, or had low-skilled work. Many of them were not financially self-sufficient, were from broken families, and were homeless, according to the report.

Police sources also show that 28 percent of Dutch jihadists between the ages of 20 and 39 have mental health problems, like schizophrenia or depression. In this age group, 8 percent have mental disorders. 

"Looking at the overrepresentation of psychological problems among Dutch rebel fighters in the Syrian civil war, this helps the discussion about whether an attacker is 'ideologically driven' or 'disturbed'." Anton Weenink, author of the report and DLIO researcher, said according to the news wire.