Criminals have a greater tendency to become involved in terrorism in Belgium and France than elsewhere in Europe, according to a study on gangster terrorism in Europe on which Het Laatste Nieuws reported on Tuesday. Since the November 2015 Paris attacks, Belgium is considered a hub for gangster terrorism. Many of the main Belgium protagonists of terrorist attacks also have criminal antecedents. For a long time, the question has been asked as to whether this trend was limited to Belgium or whether the phenomenon was simply placed under scrutiny there.
The Slovak think tank GLOBSEC provides a response to this question. It did a study on 225 terrorists from 11 countries and concluded that there were twice as many Belgians and French nationals with prior convictions than the average number for European countries.
On the other hand, the reason for this disparity has not yet been identified, but the researchers note the importance of friendship ties in the formation of terror networks, which presupposes that former criminals often attract their peers.
The cross-border links between France and Belgium can explain the high rates of ex-criminals from these countries among the jihadists.