During an international gathering of senior police in Paris yesterday, the Secretary General of Interpol, Ronald K. Noble, voiced his deep concern about the thus far unchecked radicalisation of youth on the internet:
The advent of the Internet has made the process of radicalization easier to achieve and the process of combating it that much more difficult, because many of the behaviors associated with it are not in and of themselves criminal…
The threat is global; it is virtual; and it is on our doorsteps
This is an issue which ICSR has frequently highlighted in the past, and in March 2009 we also published The Challenge of Online Radicalisation: A Strategy for Action. At our Peace and Security Summit in New York earlier this year, the internet was identified by a number of security experts as a growing problem, for which governments have yet to find a satisfactory response. All four members of the summit’s ‘Counterterrorism Cooperation: Is It Working?’ panel (video available here), agreed that the internet was among the main problems encountered by the counter-terrorism community, perhaps even more so than radical preachers and recruiters. They also agreed that, rather than attempting to censor or shut down jihadist sites – an almost impossible task – governments should seek to harness its power as effectively as al-Qaeda has and use it to counter their messages.
This week, ICSR staff have appeared on both the BBC News website and in the Daily Telegraph discussing this very issue.