03/23/2017, 15.09
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About 82 per cent of militants radicalised on social media in Bangladesh

by Sumon Corraya

The result is based on a survey of 250 jailed militants by the Bangladesh police presented at an international police seminar. Last year’s massacre in Dhaka showed how some Islamic preachers influence young people on the Internet.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – A survey by Bangladesh police among 250 jailed militants found that 82 per cent were radicalised on social media. The study was presented at a police seminar held in Dhaka on 12-14 March attended by representatives of law enforcement from 15 countries.

“Various social media are a headache for defending against militancy in Bangladesh,” said Md Moniruzzaman, assistant inspector general of the Bangladesh Police, in his address.

“We found that youths are learning militancy through different social media. We need more investment and training to protect ourselves against cyber crime and militancy”.

Seminar participants decided to set up an international network to fight terrorism at various levels.

The issue of extremist online content was highlighted by the terror attack in Dhaka on 1 July 2016 that left 20 people dead, mostly foreigners.

The investigation revealed that the four bombers were brainwashed online. The attackers used the Internet to exchange information.

The probe found a direct link between Rohan Imtiaz, one of the attackers of the Holey Artisan Bakery Café in Gulshan, and Zakir Naik, a famous Indian preacher who espouses radical Salafi views.

After the attack, the governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan banned Naik’s Peace TV, which broadcasts his speeches.

Militants use many tools to exchange information online through Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Throma, etc. “Many militants use them to chat," Moniruzzaman said, and they are hard to intercept.

“Militants,” he explained, “use fake personal Identification number and it is harder to catch them. There is a gap between apps, organisations and the government. This is a big challenge for police.” Extremists “have become more talented in the use of social media and information technology.”

Sadly, "There is no way to prevent militancy on the Internet. It is not possible for any single country to overcome this challenge. Only jointly with other countries can this be done.”

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