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Bans won’t stop terror

British-born Khalid Masood, the man responsible for killing four and injuring many more in London Wednesday, had a criminal record, but was not seen as a terrorist by the cops.

Published: 25th March 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2017 11:03 PM   |  A+A-

British-born Khalid Masood, the man responsible for killing four and injuring many more in London Wednesday, had a criminal record, but was not seen as a terrorist by the cops. In Hyderabad, India, Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani, his brother Ilyas and five others were held for suspected IS links and plotting attacks on Indian soil last year, even though none had been to Syria or shown any linkages with terror groups.

This disturbing trend of the Daesh (Islamic State) and other terrorists using the internet to overcome visa bans and profiling based on religion has been troubling security agencies for some time now. Encrypted messages sent online  also allows the terrorists to remain anonymous and claim credit only if the mission is successful, as was the case with the London attack. For instance, the Indian youngsters arrested in Hyderabad were unable to provide much detail about their handlers. And the attack in London was initially described as a lone wolf attack until the Daesh claimed it.

Tarring and targeting an entire community, as US President Donald Trump appears to be doing with Muslims, only alienates law-abiding members of the community, and makes it easier for the Daesh to recruit ‘lone wolves’. In India, the government, ever sensitive to this issue, has launched community outreach programs, to help identify—and perhaps reform—youngsters lured by the call of the Daesh. Apart from that, the government has also launched a programme to build toilets in one lakh madrassas across the country. It also plans to introduce mid-day meal schemes and upgrade the skills of teachers in these educational centres as part of its “3T formula—teachers, tiffin and toilets”. This constant engagement between the community, the police and other authorities also helps identify and address other long-standing issues faced by all parties. While all this may still not be enough, it’s at least a good start.



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