25, June, 2007 Leave a comment
There has been much talk about terrorism getting a new edge with new media. In Singapore, recently, a well-educated lecturer in a local polytechnic, Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader, has been arrested for having extremist ideologies and supporting terrorists. His ‘Islamic teachings’ came from pro-terrorism websites he read on the Web.
Terrorists have gone global in their reach. Not only are they getting their hands on those near to them, they are also getting the attention and support from those far away and in the comfort of their own homes, to such a ‘unlikely suspect’ as Abdul Basheer.
In the article, The new face of extremism: Young, Internet-savvy and easily duped, we are told that the usual stereotypes of the terrorist as someone who is a “misguided religious zealot”, “someone raging at perceived injustices” and “a school dropout with little to lose” has changed. In today’s high-tech world, think instead, of “Internet-savvy teenagers lapping up the errant ideology of the likes of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)”.
In particular, teenagers and young adults are most likely to visit radical websites and have “a shallow understanding of religion” and thus could easily be persuaded by warped ideologies.
In Singapore, the Muslim community and the government have been trying to reach out to youth by dealing with contemporary issues and making sure that the correct teachings are imparted.
Not only that, the battle to counter ‘cyber-terrorist’ attacks and influences has also gone high-tech, with the launch of the portal (www.singaporeunited.sg). The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore has started a forum at www.iask.com.sg to respond to queries and clarify doubts regarding Muslim beliefs.
Also, local terrorist research analyst, Ustaz Muhd Haniff Hassan has created an anti-terrorism, counterideology.multiply.com that contains resources such as blog entries, videos, etc that help dispel myths about certain misguided beliefs. British Islamic scholar, Aftab Malik also has his website at www.amalpress.com to denounce terrorist ideologies.
Let’s hope that with the terrorism taking on a new cyber frontier, online users will be savvy enough to go back to basics, ie discern right from wrong.