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Growing echoes of ISIS in India


By Rajesh Ghosh

After the alleged ISIS recruit Areeb Majeed’s bail plea was rejected a month earlier by a special NIA court, the External Affairs ministry sought his internet and financial information from four West Asian countries and a European state.

Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkey and Luxemburg have been sent requests seeking details of his travel and stay related financial transactions. They have also been urged to share all pertinent internet activities undertaken in these countries.

Although a relatively less number of Indian youths have been reported to be either actively engaged in jihadist activities in West Asia or are directly in touch with recruits, the Indian intelligence has not taken them lightly. There is a looming fear of ‘Lone Wolf’ attacks within the Indian territory and attacks by returning radicalized jihadists hardened by their experience in the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.

Indian Intelligence is also wary of the growing interest of India in Jihadist circles. In a video message released in late 2014, the Al-Qaeda supremo Al-Zawahiri called on Muslims ‘to wage jihad against enemies, to liberate their land’ as he announced the opening of a so-called ‘Indian branch’. Earlier this year ISIS flags were seen fluttering at various protests in Kashmir which send chills down the spine of intelligence agencies.

ISIS, also derogatorily called Daesh among many circles, has also increased activities in India’s neighbourhood of Bangladesh. Many attacks including a deadly attack in a Shia mosque and an attack on an Italian priest have been claimed by the ISIS.  There is growing fear within Indian Intelligence circles of the spillover of this growing ISIS footprint in Bangladesh.

While India’s fears are legitimate any exaggeration of the ISIS threat must be avoided. Indian stability is more threatened by its homegrown radicalized youths and Maoist activities. However, the intelligence agencies must stay on their toes to prevent any large-scale Paris-like attack in vulnerable Indian cities. (Image: Patrika)

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Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Twitter starts the initiative #BloodMatters. VOA

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites, but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.

The organization released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google.

Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen said the company had no comment on the report. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

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Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” as its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction, but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed, but not before they can be widely shared.

He pointed to Instagram posts threatening terror attacks at the upcoming World Cup in Moscow. Another post promoted suicide attacks with the message, “You only die once. Why not make it martyrdom.”

Cooper said Twitter used to merit an F rating before it started cracking down on Islamic State tweets in 2016. He said the move came after testimony before a congressional committee revealed that “ISIS was delivering 200,000 tweets a day.”

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This photo shows Facebook launched on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. VOA

Cooper and Eaton said that as the big tech companies have gotten more aggressive in shutting down accounts that promote terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism, promoters of terrorism and hate have migrated to other sites such as, a Facebook lookalike that’s based in Russia.

There also are “alt-tech” sites like GoyFundMe, an alternative to GoFundMe, and BitChute, an alternative to Google-owned YouTube, Cooper said.

“If there’s an existing company that will give them a platform without looking too much at the content, they’ll use it,” he said. “But if not, they are attracted to those platforms that have basically no rules.”

The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and terrorism. (VOA)

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