Islamic State using Covid lockdown to brainwash British kids with video games to make them lone wolf terrorists
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- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: united-kingdom;
ISIS have used the Covid lockdown to groom Brit kids while they are stuck in their bedrooms through social media and video games, experts have warned.
Terror cops have previously cautioned that the jihadi fanatics are using the pandemic to spread hate online as well as recruit vulnerable young people.
ISIS is warned to be resurging in the Middle East as it regroups after a series of crushing military defeats – but the main threat remains closer to home.
Eilish O’Gara, a former counter terrorism analyst, told The Sun Online lockdown has created “a very easy environment for terrorists to operate.”
She explained that ISIS will have been using online platforms – such as video games and social media – target “vulnerable” youngsters as schools were closed during the UK lockdown.
It raises the prospect of many youths emerging from months in isolation potentially having picked up extremist views online.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned earlier this month that ISIS are recruiting British kids in “worrying” numbers during lockdown.
He said the death cult’s “brand has weakened – it remains, nonetheless, globally recognised” and said terror cops had detected a 7 per cent rise in extremist content online.
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel last year warned the UK is facing a growing threat from “lone wolves” – terrorists who are radicalised at home and act alone to commit attacks.
And the threat of online grooming can be seen with notorious ISIS bride Shamima Begum – who fled to join the terror cult aged 15 in 2015.
She is believed to have been groomed and radicalised online while she was still a schoolgirl.
Begum, now 21, continues her fight to return to the UK – despite making no secret of her sympathy with ISIS, revealing how she had sewn bombers into their suicide vests
Ms O’Gara told The Sun Online: “Extremists will target any online platform which has young, vulnerable people using it.
“They are honing in on the fact that these young, vulnerable peoples’ contacts have been severed.”
Ms O’Gara says that terrorists are using online video games, just like paedophiles , to groom children.
She said: “We also seeing other emerging areas such as gaming. These platforms are being used like they are used by other types of predators.
“The kinds of games they target are the ones played by children who may have an interest in violence.
“But it could be any platform – as long as there is a vulnerable person sat on the other side of that console, it doesn’t matter about the game.”
She added that the fanatics also target young people on social media platforms, end-to-end encrypted platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram as well as online forums.
Ms O’Gara, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society think tank, explained that forcing children to stay at home has caused a “severe lack of interaction” between them and people trained to protect them.
She said: “What we are seeing is a severe lack of interaction between vulnerable young people and the public institutions that are trained to spot the signs of radicalisation.
“They haven’t in contact with schools, social workers and care providers.
“That’s how extremists will make a foothold in the bedroom of these children – because the signs and symptoms of radicalisation won’t be spotted.”
Meanwhile, human rights barrister Susie Alegre warned of the online radicalisation threat from both ISIS and far right ideologies such as QAnon in a recent column for City AM.
She also identified video games as a potential recruiting ground for extremists – especially as children become isolated during lockdown.
She wrote: “If we want to protect our children and teenagers, and ultimately our societies, from the threat of online manipulation, we need to look not at individual cases and content, but at the global business model that is built on it.
“Shamima Begum is a symptom of a much wider problem that we cannot afford to ignore.”
This comes after Supt Matthew Davison, of Counter Terrorism Policing, said extremists were targeting kids “in their bedrooms.”
He said online recruitment by militants – including far-right groups -increased during lockdown, yet referrals to the government-led Prevent scheme actually fell.
Prevent is a programme which urges communities to flag anyone who may be at risk of being recruited to an extremist group.
He told the BBC: “In the knowledge that young people particularly are spending more time in their bedrooms – because socially and educationally that’s what they’ve got to do – they’re making proactive plans to reach into people’s homes to try and win the hearts and minds of our young people.
“This is something we are really concerned about.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We continue to challenge and disrupt extremists who sow division, promote hatred and undermine our fundamental values.
“We keep the Counter-Extremism Strategy under review to ensure it is best placed to tackle the changing threat and have the Prevent programme in place, which is fundamentally about safeguarding vulnerable individuals to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.”
Source: The Sun