You are on page 1of 4

Special Article

www.iasscore.in

Case Study : Use of Media by Terrorist Organization


One of the biggest challenges of today's world is Terrorism & its increasing reach. Almost all the continents
are facing it with the same urge. Terrorist organizations are using media & especially electronic media like
internet platforms, emails, and social media etc. due to convenience, affordability & broad reach provided by
it. Social media platforms like You Tube, Facebook, and Twitter are increasingly used by them to spread their
ideology, fear, intolerance, extremism and hatred. They are instigating youth to take the path of violence and
destabilizing societies.

OR

The Major use of media by terrorist organizations started when Terrorist organization Al Qaeda released the
audio and video recording tapes of 'Osama bin Laden'. Al-Qaeda regards itself as a global movement and
therefore depends on a global communications network to reach its perceived constituents & currently Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant, also translated to ISIS, using the widespread of news over Social Media to their
advantage when releasing threatening videos of beheadings. It was found that the Somalia-based terror cell AlShabab was using a Twitter account under the name @HSMPress. Since opening on December 7, 2011, the
account has amassed tens of thousands of followers and tweets frequently. Shortly after a series of coordinated Christmas Bombings in Kono, Nigeria, in 2011, the Nigerian-based terror group Boko Haram released
a video statement defending their actions to YouTube.

i)

SC

Case Studies of Uses of Social Media by Terrorist Organizations:


In Recruitment from other countries:

Notes

GS

ISIS is using the network of their recruiters


around the world & paying them $2000 to
$10000 depending upon who is recruited.
Recruiters are using social media platform.
They are releasing videos of to target
individuals who are susceptible to its message
of violence and adventure. ISIS has also
benefited from "disseminators", individuals
who are sympathetic to their cause but not
fighting for them. Social media and other
communication methods has also enabled
those who are willing to be radicalised to
directly engage with the conflicts in Iraq and
Syria and communicate with ISIS fighters.
As per new confidential U.S. intelligence
assessment indicates that as many as 30,000
foreigners from more than 100 countries have
flocked to Syria and Iraq to join the ranks of
ISIS in the past year, double the number of
recruits from the year before. Of the 30,000
newcomers more than 4,500 have come from Western countries, including 250 Americans and 750 Britons
In Europe it is Belgium from where more than 500 people joined ISIS.

www.iasscore.in

India is also suffered from it however less severely. So far, near 23 Indians have gone to ISIS hold areas in IraqSyria to fight for the terrorist group. Out of the 23 Indians who are in ISIS, 17 are from Southern states. Four
belong to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, four are from Kerala, three from Tamil Nadu, four from Maharashtra,
one from Jammu and Kashmir and one from Uttar Pradesh. Of them six were killed while one returned home
in Mumbai. 30 other Indians, who were radicalized by ISIS elements, were also prevented from travelling to
the conflict zone in the Middle-East.
Nearly 150 youths in the country are under the surveillance of security agencies for their alleged leanings
towards dreaded terrorist group ISIS. Three students from Hyderabad were detained at Nagpur's Dr. Babasaheb
Ambedkar International Airport while they were on their way to join the banned terror organisation - ISIS. They
were held in a joint operation conducted by the Telangana Police and Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS).

ii)

In latest arrests, a 16-year-old girl from Pune was held as she was planning to join ISIS. According to the ATS,
the teen developed her interest for the terror group four months back on the internet. Gradually, she came in
contact with a person from Sri Lanka and several others from other countries on Facebook, Twitter, Telegram
and through emails.
In Name of religion:

OR

A 26-year-old MBA from Hyderabad, decided to leave his pregnant wife to join the ISIS in Syria. To do
khidmat (service) and be part of the ISIS or the Islamic State, this young man, like many other Indian
Muslims, had been interacting with handlers on the social media and gradually getting lured to the idea
of attaining jannat (heaven) by serving the Sunni terror group that has massacred thousands in order to
set up a Caliphate. After watching ISIS videos and interacting with radicals, he wanted to go to Syria.

SC

In another instance when a youth liked a post on facebook. It changed his life. Soon his friend list was
full of radical elements. They shared provocation video with him & soon he got interested & inspired by
idea of Jihad. One day he got message from Abu Hamza Al Muzahir & he convinced him if he joined
ISIS his all sins will be washed away & he will get Jannat. He was also provided with money to reach Iraq
through Syrian border. He was guided & given directions using Skype to reach their & meet persons.
However, he was tracked & finally stopped from joining the ISIS.
iii) Life Style:

GS

ISIS has been using "Caliphate" lifestyle very cleverly. This not only emphasizes the glory and excitement
of fighting but also the normal family life people enjoyed. The idea is to entice not only young men but
also their wives and children to come and support the state they are trying to establish. This enables ISIS
to break down the barrier between them and their target populations all over the world.
iv) Targeting Women:

Notes

In Recently Three teenage girls left their homes and families in London to travel to Syria and join ISIS.
Days before the girls' departure, a Twitter account appearing to belong to 15-year-old Shamima Begum
tweeted to an account associated with a female ISIS member known online as Umm Layth. Umm Layth
is the name used online by Aqsa Mahmood, a 20-year-old woman who ran away from her home in
Glasgow in November 2013 to join ISIS and marry a militant. Mahmood is part of a small clique of ISIS
women with active and publicly visible Twitter profiles. They use the platform to share "the truth" about
their lives in Syria and Iraq and make themselves available to potential "recruits." These accounts actively
encourage interested parties to reach out to them using messaging apps like. Kik and SureSpot for advice
on how to "make hijrah," or migrate, to the "Islamic State." In addition to offering one-on-one advice, these
accounts also continually tweet reasons why women should leave their countries and join the militant
group. Accounts claiming to belong to ISIS fighters also applaud the women who have joined the group.
One of the much-touted selling points of living in ISIS-controlled territory, according to these accounts,
is its diverse membership.

www.iasscore.in

v)

Use of Print Media:


Copies of Dabiq which carries ISIS propaganda on an array of topics including jihad and reviving slavery
were available for $26. The product description described Dabiq as "a periodical magazine focusing on
issues of tawhid (unity), manhaj (truth-seeking), hijrah (migration), jihad (holy war), and jama'ah
(community), including photo reports, current events, and informative articles on matters relating to the
Islamic State." Despite going on sale Saturday, Dabiq is freely available online. The magazine is part of
ISIS's sophisticated propaganda efforts that also include YouTube videos and forays into social media.

Social Media in the arena of Communal Violence:


i)

2012 North East Violence

In July 2012, violence in the Indian state of Assam broke out with riots between indigenous Bodos and
Bengali-speaking Muslims. The violence and exodus of thousands of people from North-east India reportedly
led to a series of incessant protests in Assam, at multiple locations, during the months of August-September.
The protesters' main demand was expeditious detection and deportation of illegal infiltrators from Assam.

SC

OR

Nearly 80 people have been killed and 4,00,000 displaced in fighting between Muslims and mostly Hindu
Bodo tribesmen in North-eastern Assam state. The mass flight was sparked by rumours that Muslims, a big
minority in predominantly Hindu India, were seeking revenge for the Assam violence. First a Mumbai
demonstration in support of Muslims in Assam turned violent, leaving two people dead. Then tens of
thousands of people from the Northeast who lived and worked in big cities in the south of India packed up
and fled back home terrorized by Facebook, Twitter and text messages threatening them with violence in
retaliation for what was happening in the North. The Indian government accused Pakistani agents of producing
the threatening material to destabilize India. Then India went on a web crackdown, ostensibly trying to shut
off the social media causing the panic but setting off a fierce debate about censorship in the process.

GS

As the government began to dig in to the cause of the panic, the story became increasingly strange. Almost
none of the images that were ostensibly outraging Muslims in the rest of India, and potentially spurring them
to acts of vicious revenge, were actually of Assam. The much-circulated Facebook images were Photoshopped
(often badly) pictures of atrocities allegedly carried out against Muslims in Burma several years ago or entirely
unrelated pictures (such as those of Buddhist monks helping earthquake victims in Tibet) purporting to be
from Assam. But the media consumers in question were not sophisticated, and the rationality was lost in the
mass panic.
The use of bulk SMSs and social media to aggravate the communal situation is a new challenge that the recent
disturbances have thrown before us we need to devise strategies to counter the propaganda that iscarried out
by these new means. Any measure to control the use of such media must be carefully weighed against the
need for the freedom to express and communicate.
ii)

Muzaffarnagar Riots:

Social Media had a key role in the Muzaffarnagar riots also, the posts by user over Facebook, Twitter, SMS
& coverage by the Indian media tend to affect to mold the opinions and actions of the other individuals of
the society.
27th August 2013, a terrifying yet sad day in India which gave birth to a new group of communal riots namely
'Muzaffarnagar Riots'. Severe clashes between the two communities, the 'Muslims' and 'Jats' in Muzaffarnagar
and Shamli, India broke out in the parts of rural areas and communally sensitive district of Muzaffarnagar in
Uttar Pradesh which claimed more than 43 lives leaving 93 plus injured.

Notes

From inception, the situations and factors which led to the emergence of such serious riots and violence was,
on this one day when a Hindu girl was walking past a Muslim community on her way to school; she was being
harassed by a man who passed lewd, insulting comments on her. Subsequently killing of Muslim boy &
lynching of girl's brother in revenge started the problem which turned into a social unrest.

www.iasscore.in

This was not the end but a beginning which opened doors to the Muzaffarnagar communal riots. The girl's
father, when tried filing a FIR against the family of the boy who had harassed the girl, the police refused to
register the FIR. On the other hand, when the Muslim family went to file a FIR for the murder of their son
who harassed the girl, the police readily registered the case and arrested the Father of the girl with his other
close relatives.
Here, the problem actually started, as by thinking that, clear discrimination was done by the administration,
the Jat community requested the panchayat of their community to force the police in order to drop the charges
against girl's father. Nonetheless, the Administration did not take any final decision. The Jat community again
approached the Panchayat under the 'Bahu Beti Bachao Sammelan' and distributed a few inflammatory videos
and pictures via CD/MMS. In situation when no action taken by administration, Muslim community attacked
the Hindu on certain day . After this incident, the riots spread like fire which became uncontrollable.

OR

The vernacular media and a few major national news channels (electronic) have seemed to have played a vital
role in provoking and instigating serious violence and aggression against the Muslim community. Through
unfound and false stories, a mischievous and deliberate attempt in spreading hatred between the communities
was a part of the role which the media played. Nonetheless, with the support of the representatives of political
parties like BJP, they used social media like Facebook, MMS and CD's as a tool arouse hatred before as well
as during the riots. Moreover, the people of Muzaffarnagar gave a communal color to the violence by exaggerating
the incidents. Many Hindi news channels and newspapers misreported the happenings on daily basis by setting
up a picture in the minds of the public that it was the Muslims who were slaughtering the Hindus and initiating
distorted violence. As a result, there was a severe rise in the rumors and passion to fight and revolt back in
the riots.

SC

Conclusion

The internet has become an integral part of modern living. The spread of social media and the use of
platforms is changing the way society operates. Social media has been playing a destructive role in inciting
communal violence in India and time has come to check its misuse. Social networking sites are a threat to
national security as they are used as tools for drug trafficking, money laundering and match-fixing, terrorism,
instigating violence and for rumor tools etc. Social media tools like Blogs, Wikis, Discussion forums, Micro
blogs, SMS, And the most burning issue, i.e. Social networking sites Facebook, Twitter etc.

GS

Social Media can be defined, among other things, as tools; how they are used, by whom they are used and
for what reason can represent either a threat or an opportunity for National Security, it is itself shouldn't be
seen as a potential threat to National Security but those who use these tools may pose a potential risk.

Notes

"It is now a given that social media environments are important sources of data for understanding the dynamics
of the diffusion of information and human behavior. Evidence suggests that, social media had an impact on
events such as Mujaffarnagar riots, Godhara Riots, Babri Masjid riots etc. Groups representing a potential
threat to National Security like, International terrorist groups, Transnational Crime Organisations, Cracker
groups, Religious sections, Hacker groups, NGO's, International organizations,Allied foreign states, terrorist
groups etc.