Tuesday, May 23, 2006

1,000 Radical Groups Post Terror Ideology On The Net, Says Expert

May 22, 2006 17:47 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 (Bernama) -- Some 1,000 radical groups in Southeast Asia have gone to the internet to post their terror ideology, and this has posed a potential threat to the stability of the world, particularly the region, said a renowned expert on JI Dr Rohan Gunaratna.Dr Gunaratna, a researcher at Singapore's Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS)'s International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism said: "Most of these groups use the internet to disseminate their propaganda, to recruit new members and to raise funds for their discourse."Therefore he suggested three proposals to curb them from taking advantage of the internet with among others the need to enhance collaboration among Southeast Asian countries to increase security and intelligence, he told reporters at the Malaysia's Outreach Counter-Terrorism Course, here Monday.The four-day course was jointly organised by the South East Asia Regional Centre For Counter Terrorism (SEARCCT) and the Asia Pacific Centre For Security Studies (APCSS).Dr Gunaratna said: "The nations in the region should be working together to understand how terrorists use the internet and try to find methods to fight back."He also proposed the Southeast Asian region to emulate the European countries and the United States on how they developed their internet technologies to overcome the challenge.Thirdly, he suggested the Southeast Asian nations to develop a collaborative framework among the region, and also the linkages with outside the region.Given the wide disparity in information technology application between countries in the region, there was therefore a need for cooperation between them to fight terrorism, he said, adding that "if not Southeast Asian countries would be left behind."Dr Gunaratna said although terrorists in the region used the internet to promote their radical discourse, they still used the conventional method in their attacks."They have yet to reach a stage where they could attack via internet," he said.He said there had been proof that the internet had been used by terrorist groups such as the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), whereby its leader Hambali or Riduan Isamuddin had used the medium to communicate with other terrorists on the Sept 11 2003 attack in the United States and the Bali bombing in Indonesia.Dr Gunaratna also lamented that there was only less than a dozen of moderate Islamic groups which posted their teachings on the moderate Islamic practices on the internet, which could help to oppose the idea of the radical groups.-- BERNAMA

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