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What Kind of Person Becomes a Violent Jihadi?

The search for a 'terrorist type' has been going on for decades, but are we any closer to understanding why some people are willing to kill for their beliefs?

For decades researchers, academics and psychologists have wanted to know what kind of person becomes a terrorist. If there are pre-existing traits which make someone more likely to kill for their beliefs – well, that would be worth knowing. In this edition of The Inquiry – part of the BBC World Service Identity Season – we tell the story of that search for a ‘terrorist type’. It’s a story which begins decades ago. But, with the threat from killers acting for so-called Islamic State, finding an answer has never felt more pressing.

(Photo: Somali soldiers stand at the scene of car bomb at a restaurant in Mogadishu, 2016. Militant Islamist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Credit: Getty Images)

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23 minutes

Last on

Sun 24 Apr 2016 04:06GMT

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