Terror groups take their battle to social media

May 27, 2018

Saudi Gazette report

– Terrorist organizations use social networking sites to spread venomous messages and mobilize support. They promote deviated thoughts and ideas through Internet websites in order to mislead common people and recruit them.

Experts have emphasized the enormity of the issue and called for concerted efforts to counter this social media campaign by terrorist groups. They have also called for enacting strict rules and regulations to stop this cyber warfare making use of modern information technology.

Malik Al-Dossari, an expert in cybersecurity and researcher in information security, stressed the need to prevent misuse of cyber space to spread extremist views and ideologies by adopting modern technology and enlightening the public on the threat posed by terrorist sites.

“We should know that there is a strong extremist presence on the social networking sites. We should advise university and school students to use social networking sites carefully and positively with a patriotic spirit to counter extremist views,” he told Al-Madina Arabic daily.

He called for a strong and effective strategy to defeat terrorists and extremists who use social networking sites as their new battleground. “We have to highlight the damages caused by terrorists and extremists to the humanity in general and Muslims in particular,” he added.

Al-Dossari urged the authorities to follow websites of extremist groups closely and block them as quickly as possible. “We should enlighten the public that extremists make use of social media to spread their dangerous ideas and recruit militants,” he added.

He advised the authorities to create a group of social media experts to counter extremist websites in a professional manner. “We should also set out a comprehensive strategy to combat extremism through social media,” he added.

Dr. Musaed Al-Jubairy, a legal consultant, highlighted the threat posed by extremist ideologies that set the stage for terrorism. “Saudi Arabia has enacted laws to prevent cybercrimes but they do not incriminate promotion of extremism, hatred and racism through social media,” he explained.

He stressed the need to make changes in the law to prevent extremists from spreading their venomous ideas. “We should impose strict punishment on such criminals.”

Nasser Al-Dubyani, a psychologist, said extremist and terrorist groups exploit poverty, free time and ignorance to recruit militants. “People who do not have sound thinking, adamant in their views and have no control over themselves are more vulnerable,” he said.

He also pointed that individuals who do not follow rules and regulations and social norms, give greater importance to self-esteem, possess superficial views and thoughts and show enmity toward others without any reason are likely to fall victim of extremist groups.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Maimouni, a lecturer at Taibah University and imam and khateeb of Khandaq Mosque, said extremists could be found in all communities and among followers of different religious faiths. “Islam asks its followers to shun all kinds of extremism,” he added.

“The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has banned extremism even in worship as well as in faith. There is a special chapter in the Hadith book of Bukhari enlisting the sayings of the Prophet that oppose religious extremism,” he pointed out.

May 27, 2018
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