HOME AFFAIRS – CONVERTS AND EXTREMISM – 5 January 2016
Dr Julian Lewis: I have formed an impression from media coverage, which may not be accurate, that a disproportionate number of violent Islamist extremists are converts to the Muslim faith. Is there any basis for that impression and, if there is, has any analysis been done about the way in which these people were converted in the first place?
[The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): I am not aware of any figures that show overall what proportion of jihadists have previously been allied to another faith and have converted to Islam. It is certainly the case that there have been reports in the press, obviously recently but also previously, of individuals who have converted to Islam. A lot of work has been done and continues to be done on this whole question of how people are triggered into radicalisation and terrorist activity. In most cases, a number of factors come together that lead to an individual becoming radicalised, potentially to the point of undertaking violence. What we do with our counter-radicalisation programmes, particularly with Prevent and Channel, is aim to interrupt that process and stop people who have started down that route to radicalisation.]