Mr Arshad is one of a growing group of digital media stars who use YouTube videos, Facebook posts, tweets, photos and standup comedy to counter the barrage of extremist propaganda online — particularly from social media-savvy terrorist groups such as Isis. His YouTube series, which tackles issues facing Muslim youth in London, has been watched more than 73m times. One video, “I’m a Muslim, not a terrorist” has been screened in more than 100 schools around the UK by the police.
Another Briton had died in Syria, and back in London investigators were busy “scraping” through his online peer network for clues about fellow Islamic State (Isis) foot soldiers.
It was little surprise that Rhonan Malik knew two Canadian brothers, Gregory and Collin Gordon. After all, Twitter rumours suggested that all three had been killed in the same December air strike. More intriguing was the prodigious Facebookpresence of Collin Gordon which indicated that, shortly before becoming a jihadist, he had been “quite the party boy”.
On a labyrinthine upper floor of King’s College London is the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), the first global initiative of its type, whose offices are frequently contacted by counter-terrorism officers, hungry for information on the continuing flow of Britons to the ranks of Isis.
At 4.30pm on Thursday the centre’s researchers were assiduously examining social media “accounts of value”, noting the ongoing ripples of jubilation following the Charlie Hebdo and Paris attacks. A pseudonymous jihadist from Manchester, Abu QaQa, had said that the shootings had persuaded Isis and al-Qaida supporters to bury their differences.
“He’s saying we should be happy that jihad was made against the crusaders. It doesn’t matter that AQ and IS have been fighting each other – if it brings attacks against the west he’ll support it,” said Joseph Carter, research fellow at the ICSR.
So far the centre’s database has amassed profiles of about 700 western foreign fighters who have joined either Isis or groups such as al-Qaida’s Syrian offshoot, the al-Nusra Front. Each individual is categorised according to 72 data points, such as their birthplace or previous employment. At one point the database held the particulars of up to 90 Britons, a figure that has dwindled to around 50, largely as a consequence of coalition air strikes against Isis positions – Malik is believed to be at least the 35th Briton killed in Syria during 2014 – while a handful have simply vanished without trace from social media.
Con el objetivo de promover y facilitar la colaboración entre las autoridades de las instituciones socias de la Red de Universidades Públicas No Estatales ― G9, el viernes 13 de diciembre su presidente y rector de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Ignacio Sánchez, y el presidente del directorio de Red Universitaria Nacional, REUNA, José Palacios, firmaron un memorándum de acuerdo, mediante el cual RedG9 se integra a la plataforma digital que REUNA ha desplegado a nivel nacional y conectado globalmente.
De esta manera, las autoridades de las universidades adscritas a la Red que en la actualidad no son socias de REUNA –como la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, la Universidad Católica del Maule, la Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción y la Universidad Católica de Temuco– podrán acceder para las actividades de RedG9 a esta plataforma, al igual que las universidades de la Red que ya son socias de REUNA –como la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, la Universidad Austral, la Universidad Católica del Norte, la Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María y la Universidad de Concepción.