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Most terror suspects are males under 30, study finds

A new study on homegrown terror found that most American Muslims who planned violent attacks since 2001 were male U.S. citizens under 30 who became radical as part of a group.

Funded by the National Institute of Justice, a division of the U.S. Justice Department, researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tallied cases since the Sept. 11 attacks and found that 139 American Muslims were publicly accused of planning or carrying out violence motivated by extremism. U.S. Muslims accused of sending money to overseas terrorist groups were not part of the study.

All but one of the suspects were male. Arabs formed the largest group of suspects, but the accused were almost evenly divided in terms of ethnicity, including African-Americans, South Asians, Somalis and whites. About a third were converts to Islam.

The report, called Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans, credited U.S. Muslim leaders with vigorously monitoring their communities for potential threats. The study's authors urged civil authorities to offer more support for projects, such as Muslim youth groups, that reinforce the message that extremism is contrary to Islam.

Researchers found that the largest number of cases, 41, occurred last year. Among the cases were those of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, charged with the Fort Hood mass shootings in November; the five young men from Virginia who were recently arrested in Pakistan; and young Somali-Americans in Minneapolis who are believed to have joined Somalia's al-Shabab holy war movement.

The planned targets of most plots were overseas, and 70 percent of the conspiracies were pre-empted by law enforcement before anyone was hurt.

Most terror suspects are males under 30, study finds 01/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:16pm]
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