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Countering Internet Radicalisation in Southeast Asia

A joint report by the Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

To read, click here

Foreword

The internet is at the centre of modern life. It can facilitate understanding between people of different cultures and promote a sense of global community. At the same time, however, it can be a powerful tool for terrorists to promote extremist ideology and hatred.

The writings of terrorist groups are regularly posted on websites in our region. And extremists use various web forums and chat rooms to entice new recruits. Convicted terrorists have given evidence about the influence of the internet in their recruitment and communication strategies.

Although the internet has become an important tool for tactical operations such as bombings, psychological warfare and fundraising, the focus in this paper is on its use as a tool to radicalise potential supporters.

This study found that the internet has contributed to radicalisation, will probably grow in regional significance, and might become the dominant factor in radicalisation in the region. And it’s not just passive websites that are important in this context: social networking sites of all kinds, such as blogs and forums, are evolving rapidly.

This paper discusses several policy approaches to counter the use of the internet for radicalisation in our region. These include blocking sites, creating counternarrative websites to promote tolerance, and intelligence-led methods to tackle the problem.

In preparing this report, the authors canvassed a range of views among officials in Australia and the region, as well as those of industry representatives and community stakeholders. The project was carried out jointly by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. We are grateful to the authors and all those, from both organisations, involved in the production of the report.

The report makes an important contribution to understanding how terrorist organisations use the internet in our region and provides clear pathways for policy development to counter online radicalisation at the national and regional levels.

Barry Desker
Dean
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

Peter Abigail
Executive Director
Australian Strategic Policy Institute

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About Muhammad Haniff Hassan

Muhammad Haniff Bin Hassan is a Fellow. He holds a PhD and M.Sc. in Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (previously known as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies), Nanyang Technological University. He received his early education in Aljunied Islamic School. He then continued his tertiary education at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, National University of Malaysia, with honours in Syar`iah and Civil law. Mr. Haniff is also active in social activities as a member of the Islamic Religious Council Appeal Board, HSBC Insurance Islamic Advisory Board from 2000 to 2014, Association of Islamic Religious Teachers and Scholars of Singapore (PERGAS) and Management Committee of Al-Irsyad Islamic School. He writes extensively in Berita Harian (a local Malay newspaper) and has also published articles in The Straits Times. He has published six books in his name, co-authored a monograph and helped publish two books for PERGAS and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. His personal website in Malay is at www.haniff.sg

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