Research has shown that irregular migrants were disproportionally present in jihadi networks in the Netherlands between 2001 and 2005. Building on this study, by analysing files of closed criminal investigations and interviewing imams and personnel within asylum seeker centres and detention centres, this article explains the attractiveness of jihadi networks by a combination of pragmatic and ideological factors. The studied cases demonstrate how jihadi networks are able to satisfy certain needs of these irregular immigrants in a pragmatic way and how criminal activities play an important role in this process. They also show how jihadi networks can fill a void for some of these irregular migrants who are in search for meaning and identity. The Jihadi-Salafi ideology does not seem to be the core pull factor explaining the attractiveness of the jihadi networks in this study.