London: The internet is a “fertile breeding ground for terrorism” and plays a part in most, if not all, cases of violent radicalisation, British lawmakers have said.
According to the report, Internet service providers should be more active in monitoring the sites they host and the Government should work with them to develop a code of practice for the removal of material, which promotes violent extremism.
It comes as four radical Islamists will be sentenced this week for plotting a major pre-Christmas terror attack on the London Stock Exchange after being inspired by the preaching of the recently killed extremist Anwar al-Awlaki.
The nine-month inquiry by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee found that the Internet played a greater role in violent radicalisation than prisons, universities or places of worship, and “was now one of the few unregulated spaces where radicalisation is able to take place”.
However, it added that a “sense of grievance” was the key, and direct personal contact with radicals was a “significant factor”.
The Government’s counter-terrorism strategy should show that “the British state is not antithetical to Islam”, the committee said.
“The conviction last week of four men from London and Cardiff radicalised over the internet, for a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange and launch a Mumbai-style atrocity on the streets of London, shows that we cannot let our vigilance slip,” the Daily Express quoted Keith Vaz, the chairman of the committee as saying.
“More resources need to be directed to these threats and to preventing radicalisation through the Internet and in private spaces. These are the fertile breeding grounds for terrorism,” he said.
The al Qaida-inspired fundamentalist group wanted to send five mail bombs to various targets over the 2010 festive period and discussed launching a “Mumbai-style” atrocity.
A hand-written target list found at one of the defendant’s homes listed the names and addresses of London Mayor Boris Johnson, two rabbis, the American Embassy and the Stock Exchange. The police counter-terror operation, which led to their arrests was the biggest of 2010.
The committee also called for better information sharing between prison bosses, the police and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) following the release of prisoners who have been convicted of terror offences.