Anti-radicalization is Every Filipino’s Concern

Anti-radicalization is Every Filipino’s Concern

Vol. XVIII No. 7 (Nov. 22-28, 2014)

“Terrorism is a psychological warfare. Terrorists try to manipulate us and change our behavior by creating fear, uncertainty, and division in society.”
-Patrick J. Kennedy

Muslim extremists group’s dream to establish a Caliphate in Syria and Iraq is a vision that consecutively surface ruthlessness shocking the world everyday by broadcasting breaking news. It is a reverie that according to those who condemned this, “they are people without any place on earth. They are people who thrive from terrors and evils; the ultimate way to end this is to stop recruits from joining the assembly for it is an entity that doesn’t conform but violates the factual teachings of Islam, which means peace.”

This spreading dilemma shaking most of the Western world’s peaceful populace is reaching its heights. But such escalating problem’s devastating impact can conceivably penetrate in proximity within Philippine society without our notice through the presence of cyberspace containing the social media. Social media which disregard boundaries can be powerful springboards for the fusions of such conflicts to any corners of the world today. The breakthroughs of numerous social media through the net, allows Islamic extremist group to penetrate any peaceful place on earth for their propaganda in order to achieve their shocking society- unsanctioned agenda. Earlier, Muslim extremists known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS) launched their campaigns through the cyberspace and has lured thousands of recruits to be trained in Syria as Jihadist, leaving questions from the recruits’ government authorities if these ‘radicalized’ populace knew what cause they are fighting for, who they are engaging with and what lies ahead of their grisly actions.

In as much as social media are accessible by majority of Filipino users, ISIS’ triumphs to penetrate and recruit in Asian countries’ population are conceivable. Everyone should be mindful that there are Asian countries with Muslim populace but whether you embrace this religion or not, every individual is prone to the influences of their almost worldwide movements. ISIS is determined to turn the world in chaos through the spread of their extreme dogmas which are seen as inhumanly unlawful by any world’s civilization. Descriptions of their ideologies which do not represent true Islam are disseminated by the media till the present day as seen over Cable Network Channel (CNN) and British Broadcasting Company (BBC) who by all means cover the breaking news for the whole world to know to stay watchful.

It is a role of every family, educational sectors, and other government agencies to stay vigilant by interplaying early launching of campaigns on how these can be avoided while the country’s populace aren’t evidently influenced by the extremists’ movements over the cyberspace. Every nationality should be warned that the ISIS had surfaced success in other countries through the internet’s assistance.

It is probable that individual citizens or groups would think of riding on with these global events through blitz that may ruin the peace of this country whose citizens are lucky for having unable to experience the gruesome atrocities taking place in the lives of displaced people of Islamic extremists-torn countries. The appalling issues taking place in Syria and Iraq where ISIS have used as strongholds are very distressing problems that may confront Filipino youths who have the immediate access of the internet. For whether they aren’t recruited physically, ideologies yielded by their modus operandi may possibly be imprinted in their minds that can produce radicalization effect, adversely affecting their viewpoints regarding the society they live in; may be a sign of “radicalization.”

“Radicalization” has been progressively and globally widespread. For this reason, it suits us to form what meaning it wants to surface. Source explicates that the term “radical”— in a socio-political framework—means “extreme,” “fundamental”; in the noun form, it means “a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist. “ To connect this with the ongoing issues, a “Muslim radical” is someone “who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles. “This is the main objective of the ISIS today, to radicalize citizens to join them in instigating other strategies through the cyberspace. They spread their trademarks, publicities and news around the world.

Sources reveal that ISIS is a fraction of Al Qaeda-“an unrecognized state and active militant group operating in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Though their main targets are the Western countries where they plan to secretly establish their strongholds, other citizens around the world could be susceptible. It had been discovered that the ISIS recruit members especially children that are too easy to radicalize. Secondly, they too are desperately seeking any measures of assistance to escalate territorial authority to establish a single Islamic State. Also, they produce financial resources by any means by drumbeating their propaganda to terrorize citizens specially the Westerners. Other than that, they adapt the military tactics of their enemies to be used in their wicked purposes. With their growing numbers, they can finance whoever shows interests to their cause. Whether these problems are the primary concerns of the Western world, they still serve as alarming signs that ruins the peace of Asian territories.

Meanwhile, Ricardo Saludo of the Manila Times in his column dated November 21,2014 entitled ISIS will intensify terrorism in the Philippines, reveals that “the US to defer its plan to “transition” or transfer its counter-terrorism (CT) force out of Mindanao fearing terrorists in Southeast Asia would turn to the Philippines, where security forces are less capable than those in nearby states and “particularly in Mindanao, according to ISIS Study Group of retired American military officers and analysts.” It is an analysis that elucidates the great possibility of ISIS to diffuse its movements particularly to Muslim countries in Asia especially that their actions utilize the social media.

ISIS manipulates social media to further their reason by varied schemes which should warn public users to be vigilant to what they are interacting with in the cyberspace. There is a crucial need to be mindful of their strategies.

One virtual tactic is Hashtag hijacking, wherein they use a popular trending Hashtag as a way of infiltrating chats by adding that Hashtag into one of their remote tweets. They can also mass tweet using their own designated Hashtags, which gets them to continuously operate without divulging their real identities.

Another is through personal account exploitation which explains that ISIS has its own Arabic-language Twitter app called “The Dawn of Glad Tidings” or simply “Dawn”. When users sign up, they give ISIS permission to send tweets through their own personal accounts. This allows ISIS’s tweets to reach hundreds, thousands or millions of accounts, giving the perception that their coverage is larger and more prevalent than it might appear to be which attainably attracts and lures users to be entertained by them or to entertain them. When this happens, communication to spark invitation of recruits begins.

A Further tactic they employ in the internet is education which utilizes dawn app as an educational tool, to be able to disseminate news and worthy information about ISIS group to users. ISIS also employs education to its social media followers by the process of accessing information to sites that has been blocked by the governments through the so-called”TOR or Anonymizer lessons”.

The fourth cyberspace method is through “Bot Armies” where networks of computers are penetrated to transfer its campaigns through distant control which makes those secretly operating their activities undetectable or untraceable while it profusely regenerates massive accounts. Because of these ‘Bot Armies’ extensive areas of exposures, concern government authorities and social media networks perform all the means to hinder advanced ISIS’s moves
Fifthly , the ISIS uses Western trend influences which is done by distributing propaganda definitely planned to fascinate audience, like using Hashtags that they are certain their prospective audience are searching over the web to be able to recruit or to intimidate.

In addition, ISIS uses social media terror by building classy online publicity crusade utilizing varied social media networks available like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp among other media forms capable to disseminate information. The group hires experts in the fields of marketing; PR and visual content production to ensure deceptions through reasonable but fake appearance of its messages. The intended goals of the campaign are to mainly recruit new members, to incite fear to their enemies, to generate a solid front geographically and to raise funds which are consistently being achieved. If other social media are used for their campaigns, it is not impossible that game sites frequently visited by children and even adults could be used by this extremist group in getting world’s attention to participate in their movement.

ZeroFOX.com and Infographics.com have several factual revelations on how the ISIS cunningly operate to lure world’s populace in reinforcing their wicked authorities. For the Philippine government, these unfavorable tactics could be hampered through its moves with the serious cooperation of agencies on communications and company network providers in the country capable to block sites believed to be operated by ISIS. With this kind of background obtain about their operations, it is enough that all users must be vigilant that not all social media content are favorable instead, they could be extremely destructive. Most active users of social media are children and that these innocent users are vulnerable to “radicalization.”

Children are adventurous and despite their innocence, they can ride on with the blitz without anticipating the adverse effects of their would-be drastic actions. They may perceive cyber breakthroughs without noticing that they have been hooked with some propaganda’s luring impact. Children who are curious to experiment on what they see in the You Tube where ISIS uploads their gruesome murders through military maneuvers with weapons of sophisticated qualities, mass executions of their enemies and innocent citizens, beheadings of captives, and suicide-bombings, hostage taking, among others.
It is not a crucial concern limited to specific places but should be an international apprehension that must not only be pioneered by the governments of countries but should basically start in the homes of every family in a country that yearns for the preservation of peace and values the significance of human lives. Out of these dilemmas that jeopardize human rights and lives, it is elders and parents’ concern to monitor the cyberspace activities of their kids just like the guidance we provide our children’s television program viewing choices and schedules when they were much younger. Children nowadays have evidently shifted to the amusement of the cyberspace which by curiosity they explore the virtual world with varied discoveries that may harm or build their identities. As parents, we shouldn’t think that monitoring their Internet entertainment activities is a form of depriving or invading their privacy. Doing it manifests our perpetual care to restore in them the value of right directions which form a sturdy foundation that will never detached them from the kind of thinking we wanted them to possess. We need to assure that what we wanted our kids to be nourished through their real world environmental engagement not to be displaced by the continuous tempting breakthroughs of the cyberspace. By performing the best we can to condition our children to have control over technological inventions where cyberspace developments play central part, we can empower them to weigh and consider what they are dealing with. In connection with this, we do not allow unfavorable website contents to intervene along their right paths they ought to follow. We do not cease employing our credence in ensuring parental guidance till they become free from environmental stimuli that may unpleasantly shift their lives we have preciously preserved. Through the moves we make, we instill the wonders of emulating right directions and their ability to embrace the gifts of time. Through these efforts we make as parents, change will surely surface building a great difference as our lasting contributions to a society-free from enthrallment. marvinwacnaglidawan@gmail.com