06/23/2023, 11.43
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Singapore: Music and online games new frontiers of jihadist recruitment

by Steve Suwannarat

The alarm raised by PM Wong confirms experts' fears. Young people in particular are a 'valuable target' of fundamentalist propaganda, from Isis to al-Qaeda. A problem that also concerns Christians, as emerges from the indoctrination case of a 16-year-old boy who wanted to strike two mosques.

Singapore (AsiaNews) - The alarm launched yesterday by Singapore's Prime Minister Lawrence Wong confirms the fears advanced by many: the inhabitants of the city-state, the young in particular, are "valuable targets" for terrorist groups that are increasingly active in indoctrination and recruitment. A privileged instrument in its various forms and possibilities is the Internet.

Wong himself confirmed this when he spoke at the annual event of the Religious Rehabilitation Group. An initiative involving experts and volunteers of the Muslim faith, which aims to rehabilitate those who have been drawn into the orbit of Islamic fundamentalism - but not only - and who are serving prison sentences because of it.

In fact, one of the aims is to anticipate indoctrination by warning of the risks this entails on a personal and social level, the latter not to be underestimated. On the one hand, extremist and terrorist movements continue to maintain an active local presence, which is useful in a geographic area that is predominantly Muslim but at the same time strives for development and prosperity that does not disdain global methods and parameters. On the other hand, these groups can act almost undisturbed due to the lack of awareness of their existence among the population.

We are talking about movements and organisations with the aim of terrorism and destabilisation. These include the self-proclaimed Islamic State and al-Qaeda, which continue to be active in the region and have never failed to emphasise that it is precisely South and South-East Asia that constitute the easternmost areas of a future global caliphate.

The use of increasingly sophisticated and popular systems, starting with social platforms, makes propaganda more widespread and insistent and, at the same time, controls more complex. "This has not only made the dissemination of extremist material easier, but also accelerated the radicalisation process, reducing it to months or even weeks," Minister Wong reported.

The latest 'frontiers' of extremist propaganda', the premier confirmed, are streaming music sites and gaming platforms, which are particularly used by young people and from which Isis servers can be accessed.

As shown by recent arrests of 15-16 year olds who have already been radicalised, it is a process that has accelerated since 2016, when the first case was officially registered. A problem that, if it has in Islamic religious extremism the leading element, is not immune to other forms of radicalisation or calls to violent action. One example is the 16-year-old Christian who allegedly planned the attack on two mosques in Singapore after being indoctrinated with hatred towards Muslims.

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