Tackling online jihad: understanding the issues and how to respond?

1 February, 2011

 

Julia Purcell, Programme Director, writes:

 

We recently welcomed Minister of State for Security and Counter-Terrorism, Baroness Neville Jones to Wilton Park.

While here, the Minister spoke about Online Jihad and recorded a podcast with our Chief Executive, Richard Burge.  An excerpt of the speech is below:

 

“We are faced with a clear and proven threat to our national security. A loose network of terrorist organisations, centred around Al Qaeda but made more complicated by the existence of a number of disparate and autonomous groups, has a track record of planning and executing attacks, sometimes with devastating effect. This threat is underpinned by a larger group of potential sympathisers in the UK and other countries around the world whom these terrorist groups seek to recruit to be activists in their cause. Maintaining and radicalising these sympathizers, and coordinating the work of the various terrorist groups where possible, is central to Al Qaedas approach. Increasingly, the key resource that links these people and supports this approach is the internet.

 

Just like ordinary citizens, terrorists use the internet for a variety of purposes. Its ease of access, provision of an almost instant flow of information, ability to reach global audiences and lack of regulation in some areas of the world makes its use as a logistical, publicity and recruitment tool, inevitable.

 

The response to radicalisation, whatever the medium has to come from the whole of society, the more people understand and oppose violent narratives, the harder it will be for terrorists to appeal with a consistent message across the internet”

 

The Minister’s speech, in full, is published on the Wilton Park website.  You can also download our podcast here.

 

Julia Purcell

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