For Caliph and Country: Exploring How British Jihadis Join a Global Movement

For Caliph and Country: Exploring How British Jihadis Join a Global Movement


2 min read

Rachel Bryson Analyst, Co-Existence

Posted on: 28th September 2017


For more than 30 years, British jihadis have been fighting under the banner of an extreme Islamist ideology in conflicts from Algeria to the Philippines.

For half of that time, the streets of the UK have been seen as a legitimate target, as witnessed most recently in London and Manchester. Ideologues made their home in Britain, having been rejected from Muslim-majority countries because the ideas they expounded were considered dangerous. From the UK, they influenced many. In the last five years, the conflict in Syria alone has attracted over 800 British fighters.

Their ideology justifies the use of violent jihad to achieve its aims. Its proponents believe in imposing their interpretation of Islam on others as state law, with no tolerance for alternatives. They believe in brutally punishing apostates and subjugating women. It is Muslims who make up the majority of their victims.

The global jihadi network they are a part of goes back decades. The violence it wreaks is felt all over the world. In the final months of 2016, more than 18,000 lives were lost to jihadi violence or efforts against it. In all, some 58 jihadi groups were involved in at least 2,312 violent incidents in 41 countries.

What connects these disaffected individuals from Beeston to Brighton? How has a global, violent ideology captured the minds of so many British citizens and residents? And what can be done to stop others going down this path?


Download the full report, For Caliph and Country, here.


This research is based on the biographies of 113 British men, both citizens and residents, who had engaged in, supported or abetted violent jihad. There is also a case study analysing the biographies of 18 women. Information on each individual was gathered using open-source data. You can download the sample here

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