Okay, I’ve been away from blogging for a little while now. This has partly been because I’ve been distracted by other projects. I’ve been working on the manuscript and proofs for a book based on my PhD thesis. I’ve sent them all in, and the publishers have said that everything’s running smoothly. Hopefully, if everything goes as planned, the book should be published in December.
I also have to say that I found the political situation here in Britain so depressing and infuriating, that for the last couple of months I found going through my DVD collection far more attractive than having to sit down and contemplate everything rotten in modern Britain, no matter how urgent and necessary that is.
However, I’m now back blogging, and hope to continue doing so, barring further interruptions.
Yusra Hussien: Bristol Somali Girl Lured to Join ISIS
One of the particularly disturbing stories in the local news here in Bristol is that of Yusra Hussien, a fifteen year old Somali schoolgirl from Bristol. The girl has gone to Syria with another girl just a couple of years older, aged seventeen. She is believed to have been radicalised by ISIS through their Jihadist websites. She has gone to Syria to become a wife for the Islamist militants. In their meetings with the press, her family – mother and aunt, have given the impression of a very young, impressionable teenager. They told, for example, of the way she still sucked her thumb while watching TV. They fear that they have lost their daughter, and in a press interview yesterday called on the government to act against the extremist websites, like those that have poisoned their daughter’s mind.
Although the issue on online radicalisation by militant Islamists is very much at the heart of the debate about contemporary Islam, and Islamist terrorism, it’s also part of the wider problem of the exposure of teenagers to harmful material on the Web. The Net can be a magnificent resource, but there is the problem that it can leave children open to predators, such as paedophiles grooming their victims, vicious bullies, thugs on trolls on social media, and political and religious extremists preaching hatred and violence. I know non-Muslim parents, who are troubled by the case of Yusra Hussien, and have every sympathy for her family. It’s many parent’s deepest fear that they may lose a child through being unable to protect them from the dangers of the outside world, whether physical or ideological.
The Problem of Islamist Terrorist Websites
Unfortunately, it’s unclear what exactly can be done against the Jihadi websites. Their online as a way of evading British anti-terror laws. My guess is that most of them are based abroad, so that domestic British legislation doesn’t apply to them, and there are immense ideological and commercial problems and objections to the wholesale censorship of the internet.
Despite this, there are groups and organisations providing help and information exposing the online extremists. Looking through the Religion and Politics sections of the Oxfam bookshop in Cheltenham the other day, I found a pamphlet, Virtual Jihad, published by Civitas. Civitas are an organisation dedicated to fighting Islamist extremism, and the pamphlet is a guide to the on-line Islamist sites, and the vile hatred they promote. Yusra Hussien’s family have called on parents to be aware of and watch carefully what their children read online, both on their computers and mobile phones. It’s excellent advice, and the above pamphlet should help parents worried about the ideological slant of what their children are reading make decisions about it.
I didn’t do much more than glance at the pamphlet, so I can’t give any details about the price or much of the content, except it gives a very full description of the views the leading Islamist militant bigots spread on their sites. If there is sufficient interest, I will, however, go back and get hold of copy and write a longer review.