U.S., European experts ponder the threat of homegrown terrorists.

Position::SECURITY BEAT: Homeland Defense Briefs

As Western nations struggle to weed out potential terrorists attempting to pass through their borders or immigration systems to carry out attacks, the threat of so-called "homegrown terrorists" is a rising concern.


Both the United States and Europe have large Muslim immigrant communities where radicalization may take place, but these communities differ in many important aspects, experts note. And while European nations have uncovered a spate of Islamic terrorist cells that rose within their borders, the United States has produced some infamous examples of homegrown terrorists--notably Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph--both non-Muslims.

Lidewijde Ongering, the Dutch deputy national coordinator for counterterrorism, told the House Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that part of the problem in Europe is the relatively low social class of Muslim immigrants. Many Muslims there, especially in the Netherlands, were brought in as "cheap labor" after World War II, she said. She defines homegrown terrorists as "young people who grew up in the Netherlands and became radicalized there."

"A lack of education, huge cultural differences and difficulties in social integration were some of the most serious problems to beset this group," she said.

Because of differences in immigration laws, the United States has been better able to "cherry pick" immigrants from a higher social class, who are...

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