A More Constructive Approach Against Fighting Extremist Thought

  • 14 May 2007

The technological revolution currently witnessed by the world has also revolutionized the world of telecommunications. The Internet has become a major medium for the transfer and dissemination of information, in a manner that cannot be compared to the more traditional methods used by the world for centuries. The Internet has been employed to promote development in various fields, thanks to its multifarious benefits, as well as to facilitate communication across the globe as never before, giving greater credence to the phrase that the world is becoming a small place. Undoubtedly, the uses of the Internet have been highly beneficial.

In contrast to these benefits of the World Wide Web, however, terrorist groups have also been propagating their twisted ideologies through the Internet. Such groups have made the electronic medium a strong medium for finding and training new recruits and have launched thousands of websites for promoting their extremist views by various methods.

To confront this dangerous abuse of the Internet by terrorist groups, authorities in various countries are monitoring them and closing them down. In this context, it would not be incorrect to say that the United States and Al-Qaeda are also waging "an Internet war," perhaps as aggressively as the wars fought in the fields of Afghanistan and Iraq. US authorities are making extensive efforts to track down Al-Qaeda websites and close them to prevent the organization from disseminating its ideology, even after it has been weakened militarily.

However, closing down websites related to Al-Qaeda or its brand of terrorism will not be an effective method in itself, because one closed Al-Qaeda website is soon replaced by several other websites of the kind. What is required is a more focused approach in exposing the falsity and hollowness of the extremist ideology, by launching web sites that disseminate the right message and enlightened thoughts. Ideologies cannot be confronted by closing down websites, but by exposing them directly.