19 January 2016
The San Bernardino shootings highlight the emergence of the online dating platform as a means to unite potential jihadists or to radicalise future partners. This represents an additional dimension of the cyber space exploitation to spread jihadist ideology.
The San Bernardino shootings on 2 December 2015 raised some interesting questions about the radicalisation process of a reclusive Muslim couple in California. Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farouk stand out from similar attackers because they were a married couple, who perpetrated the attack in unison. However, one overlooked aspect of this attack is the online dating platform that possibly acted as a channel for the eventual incident.
Farouk and Tashfeen were unknown to each other two years ago. Farouk, born in Illinois, was a religious man, who worked as an environmental health specialist, prayed five times a day and preferred to remain in solitude. He was allegedly linked to a group of would-be jihadists, who were arrested in 2012 while attempting to travel to Afghanistan to link up with Al Qaeda. In the same year, Farouk and his friend also planned to conduct an attack in the U.S. However, these plans were abandoned after a spate of Al Qaeda-linked arrests.
… Sara Mahmood and Shahzeb Ali Rathore are Research Analysts with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 20/01/2016