And the need to take indiscriminate action
Every terrorist organisation is constantly trying to recruit young minds and preach to them their twisted and dangerous extremist ideology to ready the future crop of their foot soldiers and leadership.
Social media and its reach aid the process of corrupting impressionable minds for the likes of IS (Islamic State). A recently foiled attempt in Lahore where a young girl was recruited online by IS to carry out a suicide attack is evidence of the effectiveness of using social media as a tool to brainwash young adults.
A seminar on “the phenomenon of extremism” was held yesterday by the Pakistan Army where both the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor spoke about the challenge of extremism and what is required to combat it.
While the COAS spoke more generally on the topic, DG ISPR correctly highlighted how the “nature and character” of extremism had changed with emphasis on the recruitment strategy of IS. This is a welcome step by the Pak Army that has realised the vulnerability of Pakistan’s youth in the face of a relentless enemy that will do anything it takes to disseminate its message of fear, hate and violence.
In this war an indiscriminate action is required against all extremist elements that prevail in our society, be it online, in our schools or homes. We have to be the side that reaches the youth first and provides a counter narrative before our enemies do.
While it is important for every citizen to consider it his or her duty to report any activity – online or otherwise – that preaches extremism it is imperative that we review and fix the syllabi at our schools and universities as well.
Whenever hate speech is ignored, a barbaric child killer is virtually given immunity and the likes of Maulana Abdul Aziz and Masood Azhar are treated with relative leniency, extremism wins because it is not just limited to social media or IS – the problem has persisted for much longer and is much bigger now.