According to Spain’s Secretary of State for Security, Daesh has now radicalised more than 30,000 people online to join its ranks.
The announcement came as Francisco Martinez was addressing an international security forum in Leon, France.
That figure is truly shocking. It shows just how dangerous the threat of cyber-terrorist grooming is and will continue to be. Daesh’s twisted, pseudo-religious ideology and the call to violence that accompanies it is invading tens of thousands of people’s homes, hearts and minds.
It brings what we might think of as a faraway threat right into the laptops and smartphones we keep with us. The device you place on your bedside table is a potential channel for Daesh to conduct its sinister recruitment.
We do not know how many of those who have been radicalised online are still alive. Many of those who travelled to Syria will have soon realised the true horrors of life within Daesh. That they’ve been lied to. That they were brainwashed into a violent, gruesome ideology.
The majority of Daesh’s activity has been via social networks, preying on the vulnerable with empty promises of purpose and a brighter future.
Our children are facing a threat that is spreading far wider and far more quickly than we feared.
Irfan Chishti, an imam from the Rochdale Council of Mosques, recently warned us that: “No one is immune to it [online grooming]. The tentacles of Isis [Daesh] really are spreading so quickly, not just into homes but into palms, via the internet on phones. We have got smartphones that are making us dumb. Isis is not in any way Islamic and we need to push back harder to say it’s not. We have to be pushing this message shrewdly to counter Daesh’s narrative.”
We recently reported how Daesh is adapting its tactics to reach young people using slang and code words. It knows how to masquerade as a friend, an ally, speaking the same language that your children do.
There are fears that as Daesh loses fighters and land in Iraq and Syria, its focus might be to now recruit even more foreign fighters online. It has already shown that it can brainwash people via the internet to carry out attacks in their homelands. We must prevent this happening to our children.
The JAN Trust’s Web Guardians© programme is designed to equip Muslim mothers with the essential skills to tackle dangerous influencers online. We make sure mothers have the necessary knowledge to enter the online world with confidence, so they support their children at home and, ultimately, protect them. Our training is not simply focused upon technology, but extends to the social and cultural ploys used to radicalise and recruit.
To find out more about Web Guardians©, visit our website or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re an organisation that is interested in partnering with us, please fill in our partnership form.