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Terrorists radicalising teens through social media: Oz MP

india Updated: Jan 30, 2016 19:27 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
social media

Terrorists, clever at brainwashing the youth, are recruiting at the global level through their most potent weapon yet — social media. Australian politician Timothy Graham “Tim” Watts shared this concern with HT on Friday at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in SAS Nagar .

“Social media is a double-edged sword, being misused to manipulate and radicalise teenagers,” said the Australian Labor Party member representing the division of Gellibrand, Victoria. A member of the Australian House of Representatives since September 2013, Watts is visiting SAS Nagar for the Fifth Conference of the Australia-India Youth Dialogue. Terrorism, he said, was a challenge for every country “but in Australia, we are fighting the ‘lone wolf’ kind of terrorism, which is unlike the coordinated attacks elsewhere in the world, and for which the radicals are using the social media fairly largely. Our security agencies are, thus, working with the social media operators to keep a check on this activity”.

A lone-wolf terrorist commits violence in support of some group, movement, or ideology, but operates alone, outside of any command structure, without material assistance from any group, though he or she may be influenced or motivated by its beliefs.

“Considering this, the security laws in Australia have undergone a change and online interaction is under the surveillance of the security agencies, while the operators are expected to store data for two years,” said the Australian MP.

‘Racial attacks on the wane’

About the racial attacks on Indian migrants in Australia, the politician from Oz said: “A spurt came between 2008 and 2009, since the migrants were unaware of the security issues they could face abroad; but now that we are working constantly for their safety and awareness, there has been a decline in these crimes.”

For easy visa

The Australian MP said he was all for visa relaxation for emigrating to Oz, as it was a solution to his country’s workforce-related issues. “We don’t have many people in the age group of 32 to 40. Most of the Indian come to Australia on study visa, so we need to work towards retaining this effective workforce,” said Watts, highlighting a great demand for skilled workforce in the information technology and health sectors Down Under.

‘Punjabis popular Down Under’

Punjabis are the largest growing community in Australia because of their entrepreneurial qualities and hard work, says Watts, adding: “For me they are the 3Cs — commerce, community and culture — and they add colour to our culture with their festivals.”