Percentage of European terrorists who are refugees



What percentage of terrorists in the recent attacks in Europe have ever held the refugee immigration status in any EU country?

I am primarily interested in the data for the last 3 years or so. Any reasonable definition of "terrorist" will do (perpetrator of an actually carried-out attack, arrests for both planned and carried-out attacks, whether actually convicted or just a suspect, etc).

It seems like a basic question given all the heated discussions around this topic, but I can't seem to find the answer anywhere. I've looked at the EuroPol reports, Global Terrorism Database, etc. I did find such data for the US (see 2nd chart on linked page) - surely something like this must exist for Europe?


Posted 2016-07-27T20:44:12.893

Reputation: 210

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

– Sam I am says Reinstate Monica – 2016-07-29T15:30:47.140

2I would note that there is a difference between a refugee (person who has been granted refugee status and recognised as in need of international protection) and a refugee claimant (person who has applied for asylum asserting a need for international protection, but whose claim has not yet been decided). – Bronwen Jones – 2017-05-07T16:32:30.643



According to here's a list of perpetrators from 2013-present, sorted by origin (source: clicking lots of wiki links, then clicking lots of reference links and googling names).


  • Michael Adebolajo
  • Michael Adebowale
  • Mehdi Nemmouche
  • Saïd Kouachi
  • Chérif Kouachi
  • Omar El-Hussein
  • Yassin Salhi
  • Fabien Clain
  • Abdel Abaaoud
  • Salah Abdeslam
  • Brahim Abdeslam
  • Omar Mostefai
  • Samy Amimour
  • Bilal Hadfi
  • Hasna Aiboulahcen
  • (Valence car attacker)
  • Safia S
  • Ibrahim El Bakraoui
  • Khalid El Bakraoui
  • Mohamed Abrini
  • Osama Krayem
  • Larossi Abballa
  • Abdel Petitjean
  • 3x (Essen bomb attacker) uncertain, could not find definitive report

IMMIGRANTS & VISITORS (non-refugee entry)

  • Bertrand Nzohabonayo
  • Ayoub El Khazzani
  • Rafik Yousef
  • Najim Laachraoui
  • Muhaydin Mire
  • Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel
  • Adel Kermiche


  • Ahmad Al Mohammad
  • Tarek Belgacem
  • Riaz Khan Ahmadzai
  • Mohammad Daleel

However, these are only Islamic terrorist attacks; Wikipedia does not currently have equivalent details for separatist and other internal political terrorism. OTOH, it's likely that those types of attacks are committed almost entirely by native Europeans (source: word definitions and logic). Therefore the percentage of refugees is approximately 4 divided by the total number of terrorists in this space-time interval (then multiplied by 100 for percent).

Foo Bar

Posted 2016-07-27T20:44:12.893

Reputation: 824

@Sjoerd - Maybe in the sense that your odds of winning the Powerball lottery are high compared to being struck by a meteorite. – Obie 2.0 – 2019-08-03T10:17:10.063

4The list is incomplete (by Wikipedia's own admission) and does not line up with the Europol stats mentioned earlier in the article (not a single case of separatists attacks in the last few years, where Europol still has that as the most common type of terrorism). – Relaxed – 2016-07-28T21:53:05.437

9The question asked for a percentage. In this (not necessarily representative) sample, there are 4 of 34 (without the uncertain cases) which would be 12%. Europe took 1.3 million refugees just in 2015. When we roughly estimate that there are 2 million refugees in Europe by now, then approximately 0.0002% of all refugees turned out to be terrorists. Feel free to add this to the answer. – Philipp – 2016-07-29T08:40:37.517

6I downvoted this answer, and the reason is because it is difficult to corroborate your list of perpetrators based on the Wikipedia entry you linked. Since I'm not entirely sure where your list comes from, I can't consider it to be a very strong answer – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica – 2016-07-29T15:51:42.110

1This doesn't answer the question. – None – 2016-08-28T19:20:19.053

1This is as good an answer as any without being a member of the police or intelligence services privy to classified data. – Venture2099 – 2017-05-07T16:50:57.077

1@Philipp 0.0002% is still much higher than it is for those born in Europe. – Sjoerd – 2017-05-26T01:16:38.440

@Sjoerd: I would assume that someone trying to come to Europe with the intent of causing harm might very well claim to be a refuge to be allowed entrance, when in reality he has nothing to fear in his home country. Obviously it's hard to distinguish between real and fake refugees - if we could, there would be no fake refugees. – gnasher729 – 2017-05-26T22:18:11.930