‘Terrorism’ is a tough terminology to define. Many schools of thought exist about it, who takes a look upon it with varying perceptions according to their ethnicity, education, cultural groom and personal preferences. Terrorism may take a form of religious duty at one place, a form of revenge at another, a tactical or strategic arm or threat, a justified form of resistance to oppression or a coercive power for armed forces; conclusively whatever shape it takes, it causes violence, may it be on human or nature.
Moving along the revolutionary change brought about since the last century is mainly because of information. Robin Morgan, famous feminist activist, writer and poet, summed it up by saying “Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility. ” Unfortunately or not, this world is being completely obsessed in the husk called information warfare. It’s not the time anymore when military would be a sign of arrogance and symbol of pride and power of a nation; today military is the last resort to take over any territory.
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This new form of warfare is an offensive onslaught or a defensive mechanism, adopted in order to ‘deny’, ‘exploit’, ‘corrupt’ or ‘destroy’ rival’s information based systems, like computer networks and Information systems (Goldberg, Director IASIW). In simplest words, it’s a discipline that has originated a smarter way to tackle one’s adversary. Putting together the Information warfare with terrorism, the greatest fears of twentieth century are combined together as “Cyber terrorism” (Patrick, 2002).
Cyber Terrorism The phrase ‘Cyber Terrorism’ is one of the most ambiguously defined term, or should we say that information warfare has propagated the definition of Cyber-terrorism in order to limit or disrupt the main cause of Terrorism. Major discussion today is regarding the scope of cyber-terrorism, as it is overlapping with cyber-crime, cracking and terrorism (Baranetsky, 2009). Major discrimination between these crimes is on the basis of motivation, methods, targets and the involvement of computer system.
Technically, cyber terrorism and information warfare are the same things, but there’s a practical difference. Cyber terrorism is originated by politically motivated groups, disrupted individuals, or cyber cracking facilitators against information, computer systems and networks, in order to target nonviolent portions in society; whereas, Information warfare is originated by national defences against information, computer systems and networks in order to aggravate the enemy losses (Colarik & Janczewski, 2005). Ideological Extremism
Another profound and old notion of human history is extremism. It is usually associated with religion, ideological and political practices of people which are not in accordance with generally accepted norms of a religion, society or a political setup. It’s not something that could be easily defined in is recognized (Sotlar, 2004). Recently, the element of terrorism has taken its roots in those extremist people, and they have developed the ideology against forces, that are held together to fight the rising terrorism in the globe.
Most known of these extremists are people of Al-Qaeda who, so called on the name of Islam, are spreading their ideological extremism, not only through militia warfare, but also electronic and information warfare. Cyber terrorism and Ideological Extremism Talking about the national security, the two major concerns of every nation today are terrorism and ideological extremism. Both are the sources of violence, may it be political or ethnical in nature (Gunaratna, 2008). Major source of both these concern today is Al-Qaeda.
Originated by Osama Bin Laden, leader of Al-Qaeda, today they are the source of terrorism all over the world. With recent transformation from an operational to ideological organization, today the pose the greatest threat not only to non-Muslims, but to Muslims and Islam as well. Now the idea behind this shift is to dismantle the social structures and religious beliefs into ideological extremism such that people of Asia, Africa and Middle East stand and operate for them on the front line. In simple words, they’re brain-washing and making terrorists.
Recent developments from this “Jihadi” movement have come in the form of extremist articles on the websites. Through various websites, they are prompting targeted people into expressing their views about articulated beliefs that are designed to brain-wash the mind of those people. Other recent propaganda of extremist views encompasses political repression, racism, ethnical conspiracies, religious cults, Jihadists movements and religious fallacies. Certainly or not, is ideological extremism open terrorism?
Are these terrorists making use of internet to indulge people into morally, ethically and socially wrong activities that are endangering all their surroundings? Certainly we need to find how cyber terrorists are expanding their spectrum of operations and are including those vulnerable people as the match stick to next bomb to be exploded anywhere in the world. As we stepped into the twentieth century, we were welcomed by some uprising, strong challenges that have so far consumed most portion of the world’s economy. Terrorism was one of them.
With terrorism finding its roots in many different countries, terrorists have diversified their operational methodology. Now at the front end, they are fighting by using one of us. The new revolution of Ideological Extremism, especially in the name of Islam, is taking its roots into the youngsters. Not surprisingly, those terrorists have exploited the simple connection of whole world, internet. Apart from the major role of U. S led war on terrorism, two other important fundamentalists are United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Anti-terrorism policy of Saudi Arabia is mostly termed as “soft counterterrorism”.
But over the period of time, it has been proven successful (Hegghammer, 2010). They have reacted calmly to the situation, and by using their local preachers, they have successfully tackled those terrorist militants (Hegghammer, 2010) who were there with the intent of disrupt the government structure of Royal family, who had supported U. S. in its war against terrorism (Miller, 2003). They didn’t only counter those ideological extremists but also started a rehabilitation program in order to neutralize their extreme beliefs with reality and norms of Saudi culture (Boucek, 2008).
They are also concerned about the uprising ideological extremism in the country (Saleh, 2006). They reinstated their solid stance against terrorism, and they withheld their stance against any part involved in terrorism (Source: Arab News: 2010). U. S. , which was previously accusing Saudi Arabia to be an ally of Al-Qaeda (Sperry, 2002), commended the efforts of Saudi Arabia in controlling those terrorist activities, and rehabilitation of detained militants (Source: Saudi Embassy, 2009 – 2010).
UK has well-defined laws for terrorism, and are actively involved in reviewing and improving them, as per the current terrorist threats (Source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office). Following the incident of 9/11, UK adopted policies to minimize the developing security threats from terrorists (Browning, 2005). They experienced their major setback in the month of July, 2005, when in London bombings, more than fifty travellers were killed, leaving 700 injured. To the surprise of British, the leader of those terrorist attacks was British born Muslim (Talbot, 2006).
Since then, Islamism is considered a threat in UK, may it be in any of its form (Readings, 2010). The widespread of this ideological extremism is very much attributed to the up-rising cyber terrorism, and use of internet to propagate local people about their home countries, brainwashing them, and making them fight for terrorists (Gunaratna, 2008). Importance of internet today is more of a necessity than a luxury. It outweighs endless opportunities to all the people around the globe to retrieve or share anything they want to.
Freedom of speech and lack of centrally aligned governing body has exposed the contents of internet to boundless criticism from different sects in the world. But in this up-rising assault of information warfare, cyber-terrorism and ideological extremism, it’s the time for the authorities to sit back and define the limitations of this free source. Before legitimatizing the use of internet, it would be important to keep in mind the reasons behind following.
- Spectrum of cyber-terrorism: what exactly comes in it?
- Need of regulating the flow of information on internet
- Why ideological extremism exists?
- What are the factors leading to innocent people ending up terrorist?
- What lacks in the social structure that is prompting such activities?
- How the use of internet is provoking extremism in up-coming generation
- Who are propagating the information to provoke such behavior
- Are we ready to fight this front of terrorism
- Is there any social remedial for a terrorist?
There is a big question mark on the upcoming days, as international security continues to be threatened by extremists. This research is expected to bring forward key reasons behind the amalgamation of two concepts, cyber-terrorism and ideological extremism, to bring forward a new front in the war against terrorism. Through this research, we aim to: Understand the ideology behind use of internet to spread extremism Understand policies adopted majorly by, Muslim world leader, Saudi Arabia and, the economic giant, United Kingdom to secure their respective people.
Reveal threats that are present to the respective monarchies. Facilitate the policy makers with succinct information to start with.Explore different fronts that these extremists target to exploit youth Find out the weakness in our social systems that allows these ideologies to be successful Discover the spectrum of sources in which cyber terrorism exists. Find the roots of ideological extremism and its effects on current monarchy. This research will be divided into two parts, as per the two portions of research question.
To take views on “whether ideological extremism is terrorism or not”, cyber-terrorism to be specific, we will rely on qualitative measures of research. On the other hand, to find the “extent” to which terrorists are making use of information warfare to spread ideological extremism, we will use quantitative measures of research. Qualitative Research Through this research, we wish to: Understand views of respondents about the issue. Solicit their approach in reaching their respected viewpoints. Explore the difference in opinion that exists in policy makers. Consider the possible impact of their thoughts over the people.
Quantitative Research Through this approach, we wish to: Understand the perception of youngsters about this issue. Discriminate respondents on the basis of their ethnicity and racism to understand involvement of any pattern among people of similar sects. Materialize our results and statistically analyze how many of them could possibly be a victim of those terrorists in near future. Sample For Qualitative research, we aim to take inputs from different critics, terrorism analysts, cyber-crime writers, internet regulatory bodies, extremist group leaders, journalists, and writers on “extremism”.
These people will be selected on the basis of relevance, work in the respective fields, availability and quality of work. For Quantitative research, we aim to survey young students studying in different continents of the world. As all of them will be everyday user of internet, we also aim to distinguish them on the basis of their involvement in internet, and their socio-ethnic mindset about ideological extremism.
In order to conduct a pilot study on the above mentioned topic, the literature selected, for secondary research, as a source of Qualitative research is linked in the appendix A. Purpose of this study is to understand the perspective of officials of Saudi Government regarding terrorism and ideological extremism. This study was analytical, as qualitative measures were expected out of this study. Description The document comprises of official statements by Saudi government and religious representatives.
Their statements usually revolve around the issues of terrorism, war against terrorism, extremism and the teachings of Islam, combating extremist ideology, role of mosque as an institution, condemning immoral, unethical acts and supporting moderation. They withheld their solid stance against terrorism, and declared any one fighting against the custodians of Holy Ka’aba as non-Muslim. They also instigate their support to find out and tackle the roots of terrorism and extremism. Their stance on condemning extremism, violence and any form of terrorism is mitigating with the learning of Islam.
Their religious scholars emphasized on the need of omitting deviant ideologies that have been developed between Muslims, and join together united as one creed, as a Muslim. They also highlighted that the reasons of deviant ideologies are lack of knowledge about the religion, and prejudiced in Fatwa. Most of their statements emphasized upon the basic theme of Islam, peace. They extended full support to international community in the war against terrorism. Outcomes of the study Learning from the pilot study reveals. Saudi government takes terrorism as a threat to its nation, its territory, its religion, all Muslim Ummah, and non-Muslims.
They are the custodians of Holy places of Muslims. They take it as their duty to defend the religion that was gifted to them by their Holy Prophet. All of the officials agree upon the solid stance they have against terrorism. They want to unite Muslims in order to protect the religion which has been badly reputed by ideological extremists. Their views are diverged towards the central goal of achieving a peaceful state. They are being the voice of nation, and they stand to serve their people justly, with their lives and properties secured.
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