Punctuated by intermittent lockdowns, these past two years have witnessed an uptick in digital content consumption as billions worldwide spend more time indoors and online than ever before. Accompanying this spike in internet usage are fears that terrorists may capitalise on the surge in screen time to lure vulnerable individuals onto the path of radicalisation leading to violent extremism.
To address these concerns, on 11 October 2021, the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) organised a webinar titled “Countering Online Radicalisation in Southeast Asia”, which marked the last instalment in ICVPTR’s “Terrorism Landscape in Southeast Asia” webinar series for 2021.
Mr Savic Ali, Director of NU Online and Islami.co, analysed the landscape of radical Islamist websites in Indonesia. He drew on his extensive experience with the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Media Network to illustrate the value of not just the quality but also the quantity of content in countering the radical ideologies and narratives flooding cyberspace.
Mr Akil Yunus, Assistant Director at the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), explored the exploitation of social media by terrorist groups as a tool for radicalisation and recruitment, especially among youths. He outlined a multi-stakeholder approach to preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE), and also mooted the idea of digital resilience as an enduring and effective solution to online radicalisation.
Lastly, Ms Amina Rasul-Bernardo, President of the Philippine Centre for Islam and Democracy, touched on a post-Marawi survey of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which flagged the camps for Internally Displaced Persons as areas of particular concern with respect to radicalisation and recruitment. Besides highlighting the need to increase government investment in PCVE initiatives, Ms Rasul-Bernardo suggested tapping social media influencers as a potential avenue for dialogue with youths, as well as adopting and adapting the tactics of internet trolls to counter extremist messages in online spaces.
Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel: