Dr. John Andrew Morrow, New Age Islam
14 June 2017
From a strategic standpoint, the struggle against extremism and
terrorism relies upon both soft power and hard power, the proverbial carrot or
the stick. Soft power is non-coercive. It attempts to change and influence
social and political opinion. It seeks diplomatic solutions. Its currency is
culture, political values, and foreign policies. Hard power refers to modes of
coercion, including economic sanctions and direct military confrontation. If
hard power seeks to coerce, soft power seeks to co-opt.
With the exception of lawful combatants under the command of state
actors who abide by the articles of war, most Muslims are not in a position to
participate in direct military conflicts against Takfiri terrorists in West
Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia or elsewhere. Such Muslims can,
however, engage in social, political, and economic activities that support the
war against sub-human psychopaths who pretend to be Muslims.
If a handful of ugly ISIS losers and rejects can operate a propaganda
campaign from some cesspool in Syria, producing videos and publications which
are then shared to tens of thousands of fools and failures, individual Muslims,
along with Islamic organizations and associations can easily set up cyber
centers that are far more efficient and professional. If a small-band of
overly-hairy ISIS apes, who are as handsome as Ron Jeremy and as manly as the
Village People, can ruin the image of Islam over the course of a few years,
similar-sized brotherhoods and sisterhoods of beautiful bona fide Muslims can
create a new narrative.
In terms of the information war or cyber jihad against ISIS and
extremism, the Covenants Initiative proposes the following in terms of
Rather than have a single, centralized, cyber center, various smaller
centers should operate around the word.
Intelligence and computer experts estimate that ISIS employs as little
as half a dozen full-time internet propagandists.
With a dedicated staff of similar size, ISIS efforts could be countered.
With a larger staff, an information center could flood the field, dilute, and
drown out the discourse of the extremists.
The possibility of coordinating efforts with media giants such as Google
merits serious consideration. Private sector partners could prove particularly
useful. Some of our partners are working with Google in order to disrupt ISIS
recruiting online. Such efforts should be supported and expanded.
5) If and when possible collaborative
efforts between the various anti-ISIS information centers and law
enforcement/intelligence agencies could be envisioned. While some agencies have
the technological tools to target ISIS and other extremists, they do not
necessarily have sufficient content knowledge to fully comprehend the enemy and
to determine the most effective strategies to implement. Unfortunately, many of
the major powers in the world today have a history of simultaneously supporting
and opposing extremist groups. Consequently, caution is the order of the day.
In most cases, Muslims should take the initiative to act independently.
For Muslim contemplating the creation of counter-radicalization cyber
centers, the Covenants Initiative proposes the following guidelines:
1) The soft war on terror must employ all available technology,
including, but not limited to email, social media, and videos.
2) The content should be multilingual. Languages need to be prioritized
on the basis of their frequency in propaganda and recruitment efforts. English
and Arabic come first followed by French, German, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch,
Swedish, Urdu, and Russian.
3) Bots, fake friends, or computer algorithms that act like real people,
should be created by the tens of thousands to disseminate anti-extremist content.
4) Using “Artificial Intelligence-information systems,” just like a
spyware or a spam or pop-up detector for online browsing, an application and/or
plug-in could alert the end user if the information being read or discussed in
live communication is leaning towards “ISIS-friendly” direction, say with
color-coded 5 levels of alerts. A smart app, can then offer context-sensitive
suggestions to help tackle misinformation, and therefore to protect the
untrained mind. (This feature could be packaged along with the existing McAfee
or Norton type products).
5) A plagiarism check system, such as turitin.com, could be used to
identify “sources” of information shared by ISIS-friendly party, since most of
the content used by ISIS over the internet to recruit others, could very well
have been coming from similar sources. For instance, ISIS recruiters might
quote certain verses or hadiths more often, and that would be an easy way to
6) A Checklist/Scorecard/Detection system to be developed that can be
used by Muslims and Non-Muslims to quickly (with some higher level of accuracy)
ascertain “ISIS-friendly” content, and clear action plan on how to deal with
7) Just like cold war era, hold exercises or drills in schools,
colleges, work places, temples etc. about how to deal with “ISIS-friendly”
situations. Offer these webinars/seminars just as currently sessions about
"responsible use of social media" are being offered through
8) Mini-movies to be shared on YouTube showing public how ISIS and
similar groups might recruit.
9) Since 13 to 27 might be the age group from the West most likely to
get recruited by ISIS, schools/colleges to consider offering a combat ISIS, 0.5
credit hour mandatory class showing ISIS versus Islam.
10) Distribute free or steeply discounted tablets that have free
internet and restricted access in war torn countries, so only specific content
may be viewed by young people there, whereas ISIS and other extremist content
is completely blocked. These tablets can be used to offer free degree programs
to the youth to pick up skills or advance knowledge, therapy etc. In other
words, create other opportunities so youth have no time to connect with ISIS-friendly
people or recruiters.
11) Entertainment should be employed in any anti-extremist endeavors.
Comedy is an effective tool against extremism. It has been used effectively
throughout the Muslim world. Mockery and parody of extremists by comedians,
artists, writers, and poets helps to ridicule them in the minds of the Muslim
majority. The academic approach only tends to impact educated people; however,
the use of entertainment reaches a much broader segment of the population.
Whether it is comedy, theatre, music, videos, short films or full-length
features, entertainment is a powerful tool that can be used to counter the
12) While Muslim volunteers would be most welcome, as ISIS does not pay
its propagandists, they do it for free, cyber centres are free to pay their
staff, even hiring non-Muslim hackers as mercenaries and allies at the service
13) Since as little as 1% of the internet is visible to ordinary users,
the rest residing in the unindexed deep web, which contains mostly legitimate
information, and the encrypted dark web, used by bankers, fraudsters, phishers,
scammers, the military, illegal pornographers, paedophiles, human traffickers,
drug traffickers, hit-men, and terrorists, computer experts should take the war
to the cyber battlefield and systematically attack and expose Takfiri Satanists
and their sponsors.
There is no good without evil and no evil without good. As the Prophet
Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, foretold, the Kharijites would
resurface sporadically from the seventh century until the end of time when they
will be finally vanquished by the Messiah Jesus and the Imam Mahdi. Extremists
and terrorists are the catamites of the Anti-Christ. All Muslims must fight
them in the name of Allah and His Messenger. And while there is a time and
place for the sword, most Muslims must rely upon the word. As the Prophet
Muhammad and Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq confirmed: “The ink of a scholar is more
precious than the blood of a martyr.” As important as military might may be, it
is unable to destroy a pernicious and perverse ideology. In a war of ideas, it
is the most convincing and compelling idea that will ultimately win. Only true
Islam can defeat fake Islam: “With Allah is the perfect proof and argument”
(6:149). So raise your pens, Soldiers of Allah, and spill your ink in His Path!
Andrew Morrow is Native North American a proud member of the Métis Nation.
After taking his Shahadah at the age of 16, he became both an academic and a
Muslim ‘Alim. He has authored over thirty peer-reviewed books and over one
hundred scholarly articles. His most influential work to date is The Covenants
of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. His websites include
www.covenantsoftheprophet.com and www.johnandrewmorrow.com. His videos and
lectures can be found on The Covenants of the Prophet Channel on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqM3-puvWuKuCEJsDQDZFrA . His Facebook
accounts include @johnandrewmorrow and @covenantsoftheprophet. He can be
followed on Twitter @drjamorrow. - See more at:
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