Facebook terrorism: 'Facebook terrorists' pose new challenges, warns general

Radicalised Islamic terrorists from the "Facebook generation" are working across national borders and creating unprecedented challenges for security forces, MPs have been warned.

By Urmee Khan, Telegraph.co.uk

A Bangladeshi military general has revealed that new generations of extremists are using social networks for terrorist activity.

Major General Muniruzzaman, a former military advisor and Chief of Staff to the President of Bangladesh, told MPs at a Parliamentary meeting on Tuesday evening that the young people from Asian communities in Britain are often more radicalised that their counterparts in South Asia.

He revealed that he would be writing a report next year examining ‘cross pollination’ with communities now living in the western nations and will be specifically studying the British Bangladeshi community and any possible links.

"What we have seen is that many of the diaspora population living in the West have become perhaps more radicalised than their home roots.

“So we are not only seeing roots exporting radicalism to diaspora living in other countries but we are also trying to see whether the diaspora of those living in other areas on other continents is taking radical thoughts back to their roots.

“So we need to see the cross-pollination routes - what level of radical ideology can be taken back, what has been transferred. We are also seeing a disturbing trend now - the typical theory of the madrassas no longer exists. The London bombers did not go to madrassas, the Glasgow bombers were highly educated. 9/11 terrorists were educated in North American universities. So a paradigm shift has taken place in the profiling of the terrorists.

"We are interested in studying the Facebook generation, to see how the Facebook generation is shifting radical thoughts from one country to another, " he said.

President elect Barack Obama said on Monday - following the attack by Islamic militants on India's financial center of Mumbai which killed 183 people - that militants based in the “safe havens” of South Asia represented the biggest threat to the United States.

General Muniruzzaman warned that his own country Bangladesh should not be ignored in any threat assessment, and he pointed to its growing political Islam and militant wahabism, and the “social stress” of the country, which is currently governed by a military-backed interim government . Elections have been scheduled or December 29 but have already been delayed several times.

He identified extremists groups operating in Bangladesh such as Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI), Hizb ut Tahrir, and referred to Fazlur Rahman, of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh (JMB) who was a signatory to the 1998 Al Qaeda declaration of war.

Although General Muniruzzaman refused to disclose any information about any front organizations those groups have in the UK, he said: “we haven’t had clear idea how money is funne l led into Bangladesh through various means. We haven’t really regulated the inflow of money.

“So in terms of counter terrorism financing we have lack of capacity, so I only hope there are loopholes that we have not been able to stop and we need to find them. “

Major General Muniruzzaman, who is President of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) has extensive field experience in United Nations Peace Support Operations and was selected by the UN Secretary General to lead the post election UN mission in Cambodia.

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