UK

Breitbart Article Thinks Redheads Are More Attracted To Islamic Extremism

09/09/2014 18:29 BST | Updated 10/09/2014 10:59 BST

Right-leaning news site Breitbart has published a story that tenuously argues redheaded men and women are most likely to be attracted to Islamic extremism in the UK.

Dozens of young men and women are apparently "replacing the ritual bullying of the playground with the ritual strictures of radical Islam," the article argues, because of the colour of their hair.

Unnamed experts apparently told the news site that "the bullying and persecution" redheads endure means they're more likely than say, brunettes or blondes, to jump on a plane over to Syria or Iraq to wage a holy war.

Islamism, the article says, "tends to win out among the competing extreme ideologies available to dorky ginger twenty-somethings."

ginger

"You’ve likely already made the connection between ginger hair and home-grown Islamic radicals yourself," the article boldly begins.

But, before you ask yourself "Have I?" let's hear out the article's argument.

"There are no surveys of jihadis," the article acknowledges, before explaining why redheads are apparently "vastly over-represented" in the ranks of Islamist converts.

The story's theory is based on a sample of newspaper articles which feature white converts to radical Islam from between 5 August 2013 and 4 August 2014.

Based on these clippings, Breitbart claims, an "extraordinary" 76% of white British converts to radical Islam had red hair.

In the Daily Mail archives, 69% of white Brits lured into jihadism or the orbit of an extremist preacher were ginger. The number was similar for the Mirror and the Telegraph. The Guardian yielded a full 100% redhead rate for the stories we sampled.

The conclusion is clear then, the article states: "Unless you think there’s a Fleet Street conspiracy to single out and report on ginger jihadis… the data clearly demonstrate that white people who convert to radical Islam are overwhelmingly likely to be ginger."

Breitbart refers to media stories including those on hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who, it states "has assembled nothing short of a ginger cabal of supporters and protégés."

These include Richard Dart, who goes by the name Salahuddin, Paul Mellor, who now calls himself Abu Jibreel, and Jordan Horner, now known as Jamaal Uddin.

But asking for expert comment on the theory, the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism organisation, told the news site "that no one keeps reliable data on white converts to Islamism."