'Youngsters are easy target for terror recruiters'
The cyberspace can be positive, but it also influence the youth and lead to their moral deviation, said experts
More young men and women are becoming easy targets of terrorist groups through online recruiters, claim experts.
During the Aqdar World Summit - Nourishing Minds, Nourishing Nations, held in the UAE Capital on Tuesday, Dr Boyan Radoykov, Unesco's chief of Communication and Information, said that youth are targets for terrorist recruiters, from the "dark side" of the online world.
"Youngsters spend 7-9 hours a day on the Internet and social media, and half the population's minds are built on social media."
The Summit is held under the patronage of Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Interior.
Dr Radoykov said a whopping 95 per cent of all global internet activity is "dark space," and only five per cent is "normal access of cyber space."
"Three billion surf online and two billion use social media, and in just one minute, there are 400,000 Tweets generated, 600 websites created, and hundreds of thousands of emails sent.
"Cyberspace can be positive, but it can also have hard consequences on youth. Information is now available to them, in which can have a long term effect not only in their personality, but also leading to moral deviation."
Dr Radoykov stressed that because of moral deviation, terrorist activity is growing around the world.
"In 2016, 108 countries were touched by terrorist acts, and 34,000 victims were killed."
He pointed out that societies must thus focus on educating children from an early age, in order to keep them safe from the dangers of the online world.
Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the Department of Education and Knowledge, said: "All institutions, not only educational institutions, must take moral teaching seriously. Morals are imperative, morals are necessary, and it is a social responsibility, because a human with no morals is a destructive tool to the society, to his family and to himself."
Dr Al Nuaimi stressed that moral deviation is the main cause of the rise in racism, hatred, and extremism, which is why it is crucial to focus on educating the youth in every society. He said it is imperative to teach moral education because each citizen is the representation of his country.
"When one shows good morals during his travels, especially during difficult situations - it will reflect on the UAE and will influence foreigners to visit the UAE."
Sheikh Abdallah Ben Bayyah, president of Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies Forum, also said institutions, adults and parents must focus on the youth, in order to protect the society as a whole.
"What we have in the Middle East and globally are difficult problems; extremist thinking have transferred into actions. It's very important to know that moral deviation acts as the other face of extremism and terrorism.
"Those who are approaching extremism, approach it because they have moral deviation. We need to speak to our youth to show them the right path."
Dr Atiq Jikka Al Mansouri, director of the UAE Center for Public Policy and Leadership, said moral deviation and not economic deprivation, is the main cause of extremism.
"There are terrorists in Europe for example, who are targeting Europeans. These are ground terrorists, it means they have been made by Europe and were not exported from the outside."
Dr Al Mansouri thus stressed that it is not necessarily the economical factors that lead to terrorist activities, but rather, the lack of moral education.
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