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photo courtesy of Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

photo courtesy of Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

Smart phones – the newest weapons?

According to an article in the Prague Post on Oct. 31st, members of Al-Qaeda are looking to indoctrinate and empower Muslims living across the EU, including the Czech Republic, using social media sites like twitter and Facebook. While the Czech Republic specifically has not had a threat of terrorism and is part of NATO’s anti-terrorism operations, the issue with this kind of spread of ideas is that it targets what the article calls “lone wolves” – those who are alone and Muslim in the EU and are therefore harder to monitor. The article is based off of the¬†Czech Military Intelligence Service’s (VZ) annual report for 2013. The major threat here is that there will be more individualized terrorist threats and actions, where these individuals who have been listening or reading the content posted online (through the jihad website, Facebook, or Twitter) and will act, without any evidence of banding together or planning. The report explains, “Radical ideas have been spreading uncontrollably, along with stands that influence young European Muslims’ thinking,”.

This kind of spreading of ideas to smaller groups though social media creates an issue that will be hard to solve. With issues of Ebola, ISIS, and Al-Qaeda still remaining unresolved, it can be hard to find resources to keep tabs on these “lone wolves’ who could, at any time, be reading these posts and planning attacks that they themselves will carry out in smaller cities where groups don’t exist. The article, originally posted in the Prague Post, is also shown on the Virtually Islamic website as well as the Muslim Ads News page. While the article does say that the Czech Republic is not the primary target of this kind of indoctrination, there is no saying as to who has gained access to this content, and who might act on what they’re reading, and where in the EU that could be.

In a related article, titled, “How Terrorists Are Using Social Media”, it is explained that the Islamic State is using social media heavily, now that “terrorists are now able to hide their identities using encryption tools which were once only available to government agencies”. Interestingly, the article states that Al-Queda has been active online for nearly two decades, with the Taliban having a strong following on twitter since their start in May 2011. The article goes so far as to say that “Social-media monitor Recorded Future found that Isis had succeeded in creating hype with a total of 700,000 accounts discussing the terrorist group”. With this kind of spreading of ideas and number of accounts being used, it is impossible to track each possible threat for terrorist action throughout the EU. While the Czech Republic at large is a peaceful, non-terrorist country, there is no telling who, and how many, are being reached by these accounts and radicals worldwide.

featured image courtesy of Automotive Social

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