London, Aug 21 : British terrorists are just as likely to be married with children and have little religious background as they are to be fundamentalist loners, a leaked MI5 study has said. Research from the security service found it was impossible to draw up a typical profile of a "British Terrorist" contradicting the perception that all are traditional religious fanatics or Islamic fundamentalists, The Telegraph reported.
The classified report on radicalisation concluded there is no single pathway to violent extremism and no easy way to identify those who would become involved in terrorism in Britain.
Researchers concluded terrorists "are a diverse collection of individuals, fitting no single demographic profile, nor do they all follow a typical pathway to violent extremism".
The Home Office has refused to comment about the document.
The analysis was based on hundreds of case studies and found that unlike the common stereotype, most terrorists are unremarkable and live normal lives within their communities.
They are mostly British nationals, not illegal immigrants, and most are religious novices. Those over 30 are just as likely to have a wife and children as to be loners with no ties, the research shows.
They were no more likely to have mental illness and come from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
While most are male, women are often aware of their husband's and sons activities but do nothing to stop them.
Most over-30s have steady relationships and children, challenging the idea that terrorists are young men driven by sexual frustration and lured to "martyrdom" by the promise of beautiful virgins waiting for them in paradise.
The study, carried out by MI5's behavioural science unit, also played down the role of radical extremist clerics such as Abu Hamza.
Researchers talked to terrorists who had been involved in activities ranging from fund-raising to planning suicide attacks.
More than half of terrorists interviewed were born in the UK with many others fleeing traumatic experiences or oppressive regimes to claim asylum in the UK. Many only became radicalised after arriving.
The MI5 authors said the most pressing threat is from Islamist extremist groups.