• Radicalization

    Germany is debating the question of whether the country’s intelligence and law-enforcement agencies should out under surveillance minors radicalized by extremist Muslim clerics. The law currently bars the country’s intelligence agencies to save any data on anyone under the age of 18 when the data was collected. Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann said it is “divorced from reality” to argue that investigators should look the other way when they learn about a radicalized minor.

  • Radicalization

    The terrorist attacks in Manchester and London renewed discussions about how to stop young Muslims being radicalized. A lot of the ideas focus on closing down social media sites, reporting “at-risk” individuals or organizations, and educating pupils on the evils of extremism. But while it’s important to be having these types of conversations, most of these suggestions are reactive. If there is any chance of stopping it, there has to be understanding of its roots, along with long-term strategies to undermine the causes. And as most terrorists are “home-grown” – in that they are often born and raised in the country they then go on to attack – what happens in schools may well be critical.

  • Extremism

    The U.S. Extremist Crime Database tracks violent attacks carried out by extremists. The database shows that since 1990, supporters of jihadist movement have committed 45 fatal events, while far-right extremists committed 195 fatal events during the same time frame. Initially, the data lead one to believe that far-right extremists are in fact more dangerous than jihadists because they are responsible for nearly four times as many events. But the data also show that attacks by jihadists have resulted in more overall deaths than those by right wing extremists.

  • Extremism

    Inspired by an ancient heathen religion, known most commonly as Odinism, White supremacists carry out terrorist attacks on American soil. In at least six cases since 2001, professed Odinists have been declared guilty of plotting – or pulling off – domestic terrorism attacks. Today’s Odinists claim it is the only pure religion for white people, one not “mongrelized” by the Jewish prophet Jesus – thus making Odinism a perfect fit for a strain of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in America. “Now is a great time for Odinism because it fits into this historical narrative about European cultural greatness and a connection between whiteness and nationality,” says one expert.

  • Extremism

    In the wake of the terrorist attack on London Bridge, there is a push for new legislation to target not the criminal behavior of violence, but the ideology behind it. This is based on the problematic assumption that criminalizing the motivations behind an action can prevent it from happening: but my research suggests that the opposite may well be the case. Providing legitimate and credible non-violent alternatives to terrorism may seem fanciful, but the motivations for some of these individuals often begins in their social exclusion and alienation. Addressing and engaging with these issues much earlier could help prevent violent motivations ever taking root. This means re-orientating criminal justice so that the focus is on the illegitimacy of political violence, not the identities and individuals themselves, could help prevent these attacks, particularly as they become more difficult to detect. Dialogue, not criminalizing non-violent forms of expression, will help prevent political violence.

  • Terror tunnels

    A terror tunnel was discovered under two United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools, prompting Israel to file a letter of protest with the United Nations on Friday. A former UNRWA official acknowledged in 2014 that it takes “no steps at all to prevent members of terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, from joining its staff.”

  • Facial recognition

    Germany will be testing facial recognition software at a Berlin train station this summer to see whether it can assist police identify terror suspects more quickly. Volunteers will help police test the software at Berlin’s Suedkreuz station. If the test is successful, the use of the biometric software would be expanded to other locations, and also used to help police identify criminals, not only people suspected of terrorist activities.

  • Terrorists & social media

    After London’s most recent terror attacks, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on countries to collaborate on internet regulation to prevent terrorism planning online. May criticized online spaces that allow such ideas to breed, and the companies that host them. Internet companies and other commentators, however, have pushed back against the suggestion that more government regulation is needed, saying weakening everyone’s encryption poses different public dangers. Many have also questioned whether some regulation, like banning encryption, is possible at all. As a law professor who studies the impact of the internet on society, I believe the goal of international collaboration is incredibly complicated, given global history.

  • African security

    The Trump administration is in the process of revising U.S. strategy in Africa, and one of the first indications of this new approach is the greater freedom given to military commanders on the ground to conduct operations against Islamist groups. The most visible demonstration of this approach so far has been in Somalia, where the United States has intensified its involvement with the campaign against al Shabaab. Critics of the administration argue that in many ways the policy still relies on relying too heavily on corrupt and incompetent partners, and that it suffers from not paying sufficient attention to the non-military aspects of the fight against extremist terrorism.

  • African security

    The countries of West Africa’s Sahel region have requested $56 million from the EU to help set up a multi-national force to take on Islamist militant groups across the vast, arid region. The sparsely populated region has attracted a growing number of jihadist groups, some affiliated with al Qaeda and Islamic State. The G5 Sahel countries — Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania — have proposed the creation of a capable and mobile regional task force, the mission of which would be to tackle the cross-border Islamist threat.

  • An conversation with Monica Duffy Toft

    Scholars of terrorism found thatonly one in seven terror attacks is actually claimed by the terrorist group responsible. They argue that groups like IS are composed of two kinds of agents. One is rational leaders with strategic, political objectives. The other is operational foot soldiers, some of whom are not rational. IS’ leaders claim responsibility only when they calculate a political benefit; they refuse to claim responsibility when an attack might hurt the group’s objectives. If this theory is correct, IS claimed responsibility for both the recent Manchester bombing and the London Bridge assaults because its leaders calculated that it would result in a net benefit – like cash from its sympathizers or overreaction from its targets.

  • Chemical weapons

    Chemical weapons are nightmarish. In a millisecond, they can kill hundreds, if not thousands. But, in a new study, scientists report that they have developed a way to adhere a lightweight coating onto fabrics that is capable of neutralizing a subclass of these toxins — those that are delivered through the skin. The life-saving technique could eventually be used to protect soldiers and emergency responders.

  • ISIS

    At least twelve people have been killed and dozens more injured in Tehran, in two-pronged suicide bomb and gun assaults – one on the Iranian parliament and the other on the mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the two attacks. This is the first terrorist act by ISIS inside Iran. Terrorist attacks are rare in Iran’s big cities, but that during the past ten years or so, two Sunni militant groups — Jundallah and its splinter group, Ansar al Furqan — have been conducting a deadly insurgency campaign in more remote areas of the country.

  • Terrorism in Britain

    The terrorist attacks of 22 March, 22 May, and 3 June 2017 across the United Kingdom have showed very considerable variation in terms of their modality and choice of targets. They range from an attack on the iconic home of British democracy (22 March) toward an attempt to kindle a war on public relaxation, with massacres at a pop concert in Manchester (22 May) and on pubs and bars around London Bridge (3 June). Such atrocities are low-tech in execution, but they rely upon state-of-the-art communications to generate a wider resonance. There is an inverse relationship between means and effects here. Thus, a tactically crude attack can be launched in the full knowledge that a crowded street will be full of camera footage – dramatic images are guaranteed.

  • Terrorism in Britain

    Paul Nuttall, leader of the populist UKIP, claimed that only one in eight referrals to Prevent, Britain’s counterterrorism program, comes from the Muslim community. There are at least four problems with this claim. First, suspicious extremist activities are reported to many different organizations – the police, MI5, the Channel program, anti-extremism websites, etc. – not only to Prevent; second, it is not clear how accurate these figures are: Channel notes that between 2012 and 2014, 56 percent of reports of suspicious extremist activity were likely recorded by Muslims; third, since the religion, age, gender, or ethnicity of the often-anonymous tipper are not published by the Home Office (and are often not available to the Home Office), it is difficult make a determination about the percentage of Muslims among the tippers; fourth, the number of referrals made to the Prevent program is not indicative of the success or failure of the counter-extremism strategy: The Manchester suicide bomber, and one of the terrorists in the Saturday London attack, were reported to Prevent and known to the authorities – and they still managed to carry out their deadly attacks.

  • Terrorism in France

    French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday announced the creation of a counterterrorism task force to tackle radicalization and terrorism in France. The task force will initially have twenty full-time specialists working in shifts, 24/7. A spokesperson for the office of the president said that the task force will be animated by this: “A single slogan in watermark: no blind spot will be tolerated.”

  • London attack

    The fans of Millwall Football Club, a soccer club located in Bermondsey, South East London, have long prided themselves on their refusal to duck a fight, celebrating their intimidating reputation with the chant: “No-one likes us, we don’t care.” Roy Larner, a 47-year old Millwall fan, was at the Black and Blue steakhouse on Saturday night when the three terrorists, wielding knives, burst into the restaurant shouting “Islam, Islam, this is for Allah.” Larner did not turn away to run, however. “I took a few steps towards them and said, ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall’. So they started attacking me,” he told the Sun. Larner fought the three attackers with his bare hands, and bleeding profusely, followed them out of the restaurant, continuing to punch them. The police said that had it not been for the fact that Larner stood his ground and occupied the three attackers for a few minutes, the number of dead and injured would have been higher.

  • London attack

    As the recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom painfully show, the odds are in favor of terrorists. All they have to do is succeed once, no matter how many times they try. For public safety professionals to be fully successful, they have to prevent 100 percent of the terror attempts. It’s a number to aspire to, but even the most experienced countries fighting terror – such as Israel and the U.K.– can’t measure up to this standard. These days, it’s necessary to consider any place where crowds congregate as vulnerable “soft targets” for the attackers. Community policing, though, could help. Community policing means using the community as a resource to minimize the spread of radical ideologies. By informing and supporting law enforcement through proactive partnerships, citizens can become key players and reliable partners in what some call “co-produced” public safety. These strategies won’t provide absolute security. But they will help minimize attacks and get us closer to that golden 100 percent standard.

  • London attack

    Three terrorists drove a van into pedestrians before jumping out and stabbing people. Seven people were killed and forty-eight injured – twenty-one of them remain in critical condition. Police officers, arriving on the scene within eight minutes of being alerted, fired 50 rounds – a high number of rounds by British police standard – killing the three attackers. One bystander was hit by a police bullet, but is now in stable condition. Prime Minister Teresa May said there is too much “tolerance of extremism” in the United Kingdom.

  • London attack

    Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that there has been “far too much tolerance of extremism” in the United Kingdom, and vowed to step up the fight against Islamist terrorism after the London Bridge attack. “Enough is enough,” she said. May said the recent wave of attacks showed the United Kingdom was “experiencing a new trend in the threat we face.” She continued: “As terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalized online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.”