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Singapore Site Enters Terror Theatre August 10, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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A Singapore portal has entered the central theatre for extremist ideologies as the Web opens a new front in the battle for hearts and minds. Set up by a group of religious teachers, the site www.rrg.sg aims to counter the growing influence of the Web as a fertile recruitment ground for terrorists.

Extremist ideology has attracted adherents through their cut and paste messages of Islam found online. It becomes inevitable to supplement Muslims with the moderate message of Islam. The portal is launched by the Religious Rehabilitation Group which has counseled Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members detained for allegedly plotting to bomb foreign embassies and government targets.

The site seeks to engage an audience in South East Asia, the base of the JI, and as far as the Middle East. It is mainly in English but its sparse Arabic and Malay content will be boosted in the future. The Singapore portal aims to be a global model for rehabilitation and community engagement. On the Website are articles written by religious scholars as well as video clips of dialogues on religion.

Its target is Internet-savvy youth. Global survey findings show that terrorists and self-radicalised individuals are likely to be between their teens and their thirties. At present, fewer than 100 mainstream Muslim websites are actively showcasing ideological responses to rebut an estimated 6,000 radical websites.

Other Singapore-based moves to counter extremist ideologies include the blog, counterideology.multiply.com. Local mosques are also working to add sections to counter-terrorist ideology on their respective websites.

In a recent case, former lawyer and polytechnic lecturer Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader, influenced by terrorist Websites, wanted to go to Afghanistan and fight alongside the Taleban. He was arrested in June. Read my related post on DIY jihadists.

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