04 July 2017
Overall, the IS’ more inclusive approach towards women and the presence of social media propaganda targeted at women are catalysts for their growing radicalisation.
How can Singapore and the region counter the IS propagandists’ elaborate efforts to bring women into their fold? The speedy and continuous spread of IS propaganda and recruitment material on social media increases the vulnerability of young men and women. A part of the solution, then, lies within the regulation and monitoring of the online domain.
It is evident that online policing or closing down social media accounts is a reactive measure that can be ineffective. There is a need for preventive policies, such as community policing and the promotion of counter-narratives to IS propaganda in the online domain. The IS’ elaborate social media campaign gives women like Izzah a chance to feel accepted and create bonds in the radical online community. Keeping this in mind, preventive policies, such as the introduction of media literacy programmes targeting youth, are needed.
These initiatives should be focused on training youth, specifically young women, to critically evaluate the relationships they build online and the vast amount of information available, which can often be manipulative and inaccurate. This will allow a critical approach to IS propaganda, hate speech and violence-oriented material. Unless efforts are made to curb the influence of social media, cases of other young women like Izzah are likely to emerge in Singapore and the region periodically.
… Sara Mahmood is a Research Analyst with the International Centre of Political Violence & Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online / Print
Last updated on 11/07/2017