“The era we live in is the so-called ‘era of international terrorism’, with many unknowns and threats to individual, national and group security. Our life becomes insecure because of the enemy whose address or place of residence is unknown” Bashkim Selmani
Contemporary terrorism is global and unconventional, closely linked to violent extremism and radicalism, carrying with itself relentless dose of unpredictability, dynamism, hybridism and transnationalism and backed by globalization is becoming the greatest challenge to national and world security.
Professor Darko Trifunovich from the INIS Institute for National and International Security in Serbia says there are special methods by which security assessments can be made. According to him, it should be determined whether terrorists, terrorist organizations, humanitarian organizations that finance and provide logistical support to terrorists, operate and are present in given territory, whether countries that are sponsors of terrorism act, and whether at the given territory as motive to carry out the attack is used religion or abused.
University professor Bashkim Selmani, who says that tackling terrorism requires specific intervention, backs the statement.
“The security services should actively monitor the phenomenon and the level of radicalization of individuals and groups, while law enforcement agencies take over the role at time when there are suspicions of possible crimes that are sanctioned by the Criminal Code. After they are sanctioned and sent to serve prison sentence, the new process begins that seeks to influence them, i.e.t is their de-radicalization and re-socialization,” he said.
THE ROLE OF THE DIGITAL WORLD IN THE REALIZATION OF EXTREMISM AND RADICALIZATION THAT LEAD TO TERRORISM
Professor Selmani and Professor Trifunovich agree with the fact that there are numerous manners and tools of communication used by terrorists with the help of the Internet.
Prof. Trifunovich singles out one of the most popular tools, Top Network (The Onion Router). “Due to its architecture, it is very difficult for anyone to identify the source of the information or the location of the user. It is also prevalent among thousands of people who care about their privacy, including journalists, administration, activities, various security agencies, etc. But it is also more than popular with terrorist groups such as al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, ISIS and others.”
He adds that a study published in 2011 shows that there are about 300 forums of terrorist organizations in the Thor Dark net.
Prof. Selmani, on the other hand, emphasizes the fact that the manner of committing a terrorist act becomes more sophisticated over time: “The future terrorist wants to win the war without firing a bullet, based on communication and information technology,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Interior, the digital world has the role of facilitator or enabler in the direction of the realization of extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism. They explain that “online platforms” or in general, the Internet space are mostly used as propaganda to engage and persuade individuals, especially young people to support various groups or terrorist organizations. A number of individuals who are unable to join the battlefield are fighting over the social media by openly supporting it.
Regarding the regulation of the digital world in relation to violent extremism and radicalization, the interviewed experts point out the legislation and the responsibility at all levels of the country.
NORTH MACEDONIA IS NOT TARGET OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
“Fortunately, currently our country is not target of international terrorism, although there are indications that such thing is possible at any moment. However, the fight against cyber-terrorism needs to be regulated. A balance needs to be struck between the fight against terrorism and civil rights, which means making ideal compromise between national security and the rights of citizens,” explains Prof. Selmani.
In this context, the Ministry of Interior says: “In the country, in this area, the National Committee for Combating Violent Extremism and Fight against Terrorism has been established, headed by the National Coordinator for recognizing the challenges and coordinating different institutions to dealing with these phenomena.”
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE MOST EXPOSED TO RADICALIZATION
“Everyone is exposed to radicalization, but special emphasis is placed on young people. Violent extremists and terrorist organizations do not choose the means to attract young people in order to realize their ideas,” said 28-year-old Filip Petrushevski.
They offer targeted people a sense of belonging, fulfilment, inclusion, equality, dignity, and often fill in some psychological gaps. “It is much easier to reach those people who had problems in their youth and were growing in unhealthy environment.” He adds that methods related to religion are also used, and very often, they are offered various benefits for taking care of the family if they commit certain terrorist act.
The 28-year-old Viktorija Miloshevska has the same view. She appeals: “In order to prevent these organizations and people from achieving their goals, investment is needed by each one of us. Reporting any suspicious situation in public space, investing in staff, equipment, and technology in the civil service responsible for preventing terrorism, active communication with the same services in neighbouring countries, introducing subjects such as ethics, psychology and similar subjects in primary education of children.”
Authors of the story: Natasa Janchikj-Menkovski, Angela Rajcevska, Damjan Temelkoski, Enis Murtezi
This article was prepared within the framework of the project “Building resilience against violent terrorism and extremism through reinforced capacities of journalists, media and government officials”, funded by the European within the STREVE Global program (Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism -STRIVE Global) through Hedayah (International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism) The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and AJM, IEP and the Konica Institute and can in no way be taken to reflect the views and opinions of the European Union.