Violent religious and political radicals are increasingly using the Internet to spread their message of harm and to recruit unsuspecting young people to their heinous cause. Specific events are exceedingly uncommon, but when they occur, law enforcement commonly tracks some of these cases to an online source of religious or political radicalization.
Becoming radicalized online and posting, possessing, or espousing extremist views are not necessarily criminal activities. Under the First Amendment, individuals are granted freedom of speech, religion, and the press. As long as these individuals do not partake in, conspire to engage in, or facilitate the engagement of acts of violence or commit other crimes in support of violent acts, individuals and groups espousing even the most radical of views are protected under the constitution.
That being said recruitment to violent criminal activity is a preventable problem.
In American Christian communities, hardline political themes and anti-minority, anti-Muslim, or antisemitic rhetoric may be employed by violent anti-government groups to recruit followers to the path of domestic terrorism. These highly armed and organized groups though small in number, represent one of the greatest threats to both law enforcement safety and domestic homeland security today.
Domestic radicalization in the Islamic community is also exceedingly rare. However, when it does manifest, the sources of radicalization is typically from outside the United States. Overseas based predators may utilize familiar and sacred religious symbols and events like references to the “Shahada” or the Prophet Muhammad’s (sws) “Hijrah” (journey to escape religious persecution) from Mecca to Medina to lure susceptible young people into traveling to join the ranks of overseas violent extremist groups like Daesh, also known as ISIS.
Like sexual predators, unbeknownst to families, violent radical recruiters reach into homes through Internet blogs, chat rooms and online forums. These pariahs commonly make use of social naiveté and isolation, employing social, political and religious dissimulation to draw in their victims.
Having computer access limited to public areas of your home is one step to limit your families exposure to everything from indecent online content to the increasing danger of violent radical recruitment.
Help assist our law enforcement agencies by identifying these online threats and in turn insulating the minds of our young people from the poisonous and unGodly message of these monsters.
If you come across a suspected online violent radical predator, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This information will then be forwarded to law enforcement personnel for further assessment and investigation. If you so desire, this information can also be forwarded anonymously. Together we can all be a part of keeping our children and young adults safe from the destructive message of violent religious and political radicals.
Violent Extremist material online could include:
- articles, images, speeches or videos that encourage hate or violence
- statements or posts made on social media, chat rooms or blogs that encourage hate or violence
- content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism
- websites created or hosted by terrorist organisations
- terrorist training materials
- suspicious content regarding use or sale of chemicals or weapons online, associated with violent rhetoric
- videos or images of terrorist attacks