Singapore Must Boost Online Anti-terror Efforts

Singapore is not an easy target. Even so, if terrorists did strike, the attack would likely be by "self-radicalised" individuals consumed by online terrorist ideology.

Terrorism experts said this is why Singapore needs to redouble its efforts to tackle the terror threat online.

The issue should be "front and centre" as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has “a big, strong social media presence and we know they are making a strong effort to target Southeast Asian Muslims," said Dr Kumar Ramakrishna, head of policy studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. He added that we must build "mental firewalls" to be more resilient to such ideology.

Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said that although what is happening online is difficult to control, Singapore must invest in and build online platforms to counter terrorism. 

He added however that Singapore remains a tough target because of its tight border control and firearm laws.

Singaporeans, too, appear to be vigilant, said Dr Norman Vasu, deputy head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security. But that does not mean Singapore is not vulnerable.

Any successful counter-terrorism strategy would require society to develop a resilience to take a successful attack in its stride, said Dr Tim Huxley, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (Asia). He pointed to how Singapore came together during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis as proof that Singaporeans are socially resilient.

What can Singapore and Singaporeans do to counter radical ideology online? Share your thoughts with us!

Source: “S'pore 'has to boost efforts against terror threat online'” (The Straits Times, 18 Nov 2015)

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