ginger jihadis
Breitbart newspaper reports on how redheads are attracted to radical Islam

A controversial article has appeared on Breitbart claiming dozens of young redheaded men and women join the ranks of Islamist extremists because of "bullying they endure early in life".

The online news site found that 76% of white British converts to radical islam who appeared in the British press between 5 August, 2013, and 4 August, 2014, had red hair.

Prominent ginger radicals include Richard Dart who is now known as Salahuddin, Paul Mellor who changed his name to Abu Jibreel and Jordan Horner, who now calls himself Jamaal Uddin. 'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite was known to have redlocks before dying her hair.

We discovered that 76 per cent of white British converts to radical Islam had red hair. In the Daily Mail archives, 69 per cent 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 per cent redhead rate for the stories we sampled.


The Breitbart piece states: "Unless you think there's a Fleet Street conspiracy to single out and report on ginger jihadis - and that the Guardian is leading the charge - the data clearly demonstrate that white people who convert to radical Islam are overwhelmingly likely to be ginger."

This apparent link has rarely been discussed in public by leading Muslims and senior police officers.

Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell MAMA, an advocacy organisation that tracks islamophobia, told Breitbart: "For whatever reason, there does seem to be a number of people with ginger hair that are present in extremist activities. In no way do I suggest that the gene for ginger hair is a factor, but bizarre it is."

A director of a leading Muslim think-tank, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: "I'm glad someone is finally tackling this thorny topic. I can remember having a conversation with a counter-terrorism police officer in 2008 about this and he claimed most of the converts he dealt with were ginger."

Another supposedly prominent Muslim told the publication: "Though there are no reliable statistics on this, ginger people do tend to be over-represented in extremist circles."

Bullying in earlier life is cited by Breitbart as one of the reasons why some people may sign up to the brotherhood so they can "find a place in society".

"Alienation, victimhood and a desire to visit revenge upon their communities make bullied gingers the perfect recruits for extremist activists", the article goes on.

Claude Knights, chief executive of anti-bullying charity Kidscape, told the news site: "I was never aware of redheads being so vulnerable to name-calling and bullying until I came to the UK.

"We regularly see children with red hair and it's always the same story. I'm not for criminalising things that don't need to be criminalised, but we have no laws or structures in place to protect ginger people. Ginger prejudice in the UK is especially bad, but I've spoken to the bullies and they can't themselves analyse it."

She added: "Predators are looking for... vulnerabilities, and a person who has been bullied in childhood can remain in a 'victim script' and will be targeted."

The Met told Breitbart: "There is no evidence to suggest an individual's physical appearance has any bearing on their vulnerability to radicalisation".