Publications

Guns and glory: Criminality, imprisonment and jihadist extremism in Europe

24 September 2019
Ian Acheson (Senior Advisor, Counter Extremism Project (CEP)) and Amanda Paul (Senior Policy Analyst)



Throughout Europe and beyond, terrorist groups, in particular the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), are increasingly recruiting individuals with backgrounds in crime and using their skills, connections in the criminal world, and experience with law enforcement bodies to finance, plan, prepare and execute their attacks. This recruitment takes place both outside and inside prisons. At the same time, jihadism has provided a specious morality for certain delinquents to rationalise and even justify their criminal activities.

In this context, from October 2018 until the summer of 2019, the European Policy Centre (EPC) and the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) have partnered up for a research project on the link between criminality (including organised crime groups, local petty crime gangs or individuals) and jihadist terrorism.

This project has culminated in the following publication, in which experts from both organisations carry out an independent assessment of these urgent challenges as they occur in ten European countries (Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). Drawing on this, they have proposed a number of bold recommendations to European governments and EU institutions to counter the ongoing threat of the crime-terror nexus.

Disclaimer: This publication also contains contributions from Ivano di Carlo, Junior Policy Analyst at the EPC and Francesca Fabbri, former Policy Analyst at the EPC.

Download here