Social media has brought several problems to the world and there are no quick solutions for them.
Laws made by those who are afraid of the “negative” impact of social media have failed. Every problem has a solution and every law loopholes. Targeted countries and public figures can be depicted through signs and drawings that are easily recognised by people. Rabia Al Adawiya square, the political hub for supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi, is symbolised by four fingers or the figure 4 with a yellow background, or five minus one (5-1).
Can any law keep up with all the changes taking place?
The British newspaper Financial Times published a lengthy report about the headache caused to the British government by waging of jihad (holy war) through social media. Around 400 British citizens have left their country to fight in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Al Asad. These people use social media by large and professionally. Each of these individuals has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook.
Posts by these people are full of words like paradise, jihad, caliphate and martyrdom. Security agencies have been following these posts to get clues to track them, but it is very difficult.
Most of these youths and their followers have other concerns. The question is when is the appropriate time for security agencies to arrest a blogger for provoking violence or calling for jihad?
It is impossible. Most of the aforementioned words are mentioned in the verses of the Holy Quran and even in the prayers of Muslims.
When can security agencies decide that these things pose a danger to the security of the country? How will they convince judges of any claims in this regard? (Keep in mind these are democratic countries).
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College, London, estimates that about 2,000 people have gone to Syria to fight. The Centre says that most of these people do not want to return to Europe and will remain in Syria until they attain martyrdom.
The problem is not the presence of these people in Syria, but their death there. The death of these people will increase the desire for jihad in the hearts of those who follow them on Twitter or see their photos, covered in blood, on Facebook.
The British government has blocked as many as 28,000 websites since the beginning of 2013. But things are getting out of control, especially with Twitter, where an account holder can just add a letter to his/her name if his account is blocked, and keep tweeting.
I would like to highlight some points mentioned in the Financial Times report to explain the magnitude of the challenge faced by European, especially British, security agencies.
But let us first see the other side of the story, which was ignored by the report.
My question is, “what would have happened if the United State and Europe had intervened to end the massacres in Syria at the beginning of the war there instead of leaving the death machines to roll, claiming the lives of a large number of people?
Let me explain the issue in another way. Do you remember the war in Bosnia? Serbian forces had seized Bosnian cities, where residents were suffering from starvation and cold, in ways not seen in Europe since World War II.
The Bosnians organised themselves and built an army with 100,000 fighters. Young Muslim fighters from all over the world joined them. This army managed to make progress and recapture lost territory. At this point, the United States decided to intervene militarily and strike Serbian military installations. The Daytona talks started and the foreign fighters returned to their countries.
What Europe does not want to understand is that it is supporting the crime by keeping mum on the killings in Syria, with the US silently watching the crimes take place and not stopping them despite its ability to stop them, so they have to pay the price for it.
European youths would never have gone to Syria to join the war if the West had come forward to stop the massacre there.
Most of the tweets of these youths talk about the pain they feel when women and children are killed, raped and displaced.
European countries spend billions of dollars to monitor social media. Sometimes they derail democracy under the pretext that they are acting to protect democracy. More and more people are being jailed on charges of calling for jihad.
It is not easy to stop the Syrian regime and its supporters killing people. But it is even more difficult to put out the fires raging in the hearts of millions of people who see massacres taking place and no one coming forward to stop them.