5 Drivers Causing Singaporeans To Become Extremist

Psychological studies of Singaporeans who support the Islamic State (IS) have revealed five drivers behind their radicalisation.

In a presentation during the East Asia Summit, a symposium on religious rehabilitation and social reintegration, Ministry of Home Affairs psychologist Hu Weiying said the Islamic State’s exploitation of social media to recruit foreign fighters in large numbers has resonated with a handful of Singaporeans, resulting in them being radicalised by the online propaganda.

Hu, who interviewed several radicals during her study, said there are five psychological drivers contributing to the adoption of the Islamic State’s agenda by locals.

The first is justifying violence, such as when Islamic State fighters or sympathisers attributed the responsibility for violence to external factors and developed a binary worldview — that is, a world of good guys versus bad guys. One example of this was when the Islamic State’s violence was justified based on the actions of the Assad regime in Syria.

The second driver is the romanticised view of the Islamic caliphate. Hu said this was driven by the view that many Muslim nations are ruled by corrupt and inefficient regimes subservient to Western powers. The desire to restore the Islamic caliphate comes from the romantic idea of reigniting the glory and influence of the Ottoman empire.

The third driver, according to Hu, is the desire to be a ‘good Muslim’. The Islamic State, she said, offered both a transcendental-future time perspective as well as a present-hedonistic time perspective.

In the transcendental-future time perspective, the IS focuses on life after death, giving its followers attractive notions on what happens to them after death. This redemption through jihad, according to IS, redeems not just the fighters, but also their families.

The present-hedonistic time perspective, meanwhile, gives IS fighters a sense of excitement in the here and now. The actions of the group arouse feelings of novelty, pleasure and stimulation, while also transcending the individuality of its followers. It also romanticised the idea of the being part of the ‘real action’.

The fourth and fifth factors are the need to escape the ‘unbearable present’ and the existential anxiety in relation to End Times prophecies. End Times prophecies, Hu said, motivates people to increase their levels of religiosity by engaging in ‘worthy causes’. The fear of missing the final opportunity, she added, drove misplaced activism.

While most radicalised individuals driven to misplaced activism aren’t ready to go and fight for the IS in places like Syria, many resort to ‘negative activism’, such as buying jihadi-themed paraphernalia or ‘clicktivism — using social media to help promote or spread the ideology.

In a later discussion, Indonesia’s national counter-terrorism agency (BNPT) international co-operation deputy head, Inspector General Dr Petrus Reinhard Golose said many of the same psychological factors were seen in Indonesian radicals and extremists.

Hu said that in order to wean these people off the IS, the group’s ideology and legitimacy had to be undermined. She also said radicalised IS followers needed psychological counseling and cognitive reframing in order to change their radical worldview and to help them find alternative perspectives.


Source: https://sg.news.yahoo.com

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