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Just sharing – From Desert to Word Cities: New Terrorism

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Global terrorism has undergone a massive makeover with the rise of new terrorist groups. Since 2011, the Syrian civil war has breathed new life into jihadi militancy, providing an unprecedented wave of recruits, a large number of whom were ten years old or younger on 9/11. This new generation of jihadists has grown up knowing more about Iraq, Zarqawi and Facebook than about Bin Laden, Afghanistan or the mosque.

Today, the world faces several jihadi threats: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) and violent extremism in the Middle East, terrorist activities by Boko Haram in Nigeria, al Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and competing militias in Libya.

Emerging as well as existing threats that have grown significantly over the past three years make a global response imperative. As a major threat to security and order in the 21st century, terrorism demands a more deliberative and effective response. The last two years has seen a dramatic increase in terror attacks globally: the recent attack in Texas, the attack at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the Lindt cafe siege in the West, several terror attacks in Pakistan and several others in Africa including the Baga massacre and the Kenya University attack. It has been more than a decade since the 9/11 attacks in the United States, which shocked the international system, changing global perspectives on both the threat of terrorism and the tools required to prevent it. Although multilateral instruments against terrorism already exist, the unprecedented reach and potential of terrorist networks that have emerged recently constitute a new danger that challenges existing tools and institutions. In recent years, terrorist networks have evolved, and some have started operating as non-state actors. Taking advantage of porous borders and interconnected international systems—finance, communications, and transit—terrorist groups can reach every corner of the globe and have moved operatives, money and material across borders and through the crevices of the global economy. Terrorism has now moved from the desert to world cities.

No state, however powerful, can defend itself unilaterally against transnational terrorism. The EU and Asia have held several meetings and started various initiatives under the framework of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), among others. However, there is still a need for cooperation and coordination in all dimensions
of counter-terrorism.

In this issue of Panorama: Insights into Asian and European Affairs, we have asked authors from various countries to shed light on the factors that have contributed to the recent development in the Middle East and to discuss the implications of terrorism on societies in Asia and Europe. Special attention was given to the recruitment of young people, the attractiveness of terrorist groups to the youth, the role of religion and social
media, as well as preventive de-radicalization measures.

Dr. Wilhelm Hofmeister


> Preface

> The Rise of the Islamic State: Terrorism’s New Face in Asia, Rohan Gunaratna

> Foreign Fighters and Returning Jihadis — The Biggest Terrorist Threat to Security in Europe?, Kristina Eichhorst

> Western Jihadists in Syria and Iraq: A Preliminary Overview, Peter R. Neumann

> Five Charges in the Islamic Case against the Islamic State, Naveed S. Sheikh

> Religion, Youth and the Effects of ISIS Narratives on Radicalisation in the West, Akil N. Awan

> A Comparison between Ethnic-Driven and Religious-Driven Terrorism: A Study of PKK and IS in Turkey and their Future Prospects, Hüseyin Bagci and Hasan Hilmi Gullu

> The Kurds and the Islamic State: Redrawing the Map in Mesopotamia, Ofra Bengio

> Islamic State, Radicalisation and the Recruitment of Foreign Fighters in Australia: The Pull to Make Hijrah from the Lucky Country to God’s Nation, Greg Barton

> Indonesian Youth: Religious-Linked Violence and Terrorism, Azyumardi Azra

> Terrorism and Youth in South Asia, Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy

> Radicalization: Impact on Muslim Minority Communities in Southern Philippines, Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan

> The Virtual Reality of Youth, Radicalization and Terrorism, Elina Noor

> Syria and Iraq: The Long-Term Cost of Geopolitical Destabilisation, Jörg Michael Dostal

> German Fighters and Their Impact on Domestic Security, Henner Fürtig

> France after Paris: Domestic Radicalization and Policy Responses, Mansouria Mokhefi

> Terrorism and Youth in the UK, Kamaldeep Bhui and J. Boora

> Danish Preventive Measures and De-radicalization Strategies: The Aarhus Model, Preben Bertelsen

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


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