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Religion, Radicalisation, and the Internet

Research Paper (undergraduate) from the year 2016 in the subject Sociology - Religion, grade: 94%, Deakin University, language: English, abstract: Australia has not yet experienced Islamic terrorism within its borders. However, the changing international landscape, brought on by the events of September 11, 2001, has had an enduring impact on the national psyche. A few years after, the London bombings of July 7, 2005, brought to light another threat, 'home-grown terrorism' (Akbarzadesh 2013, p.453). Despite being a priority of concern in Australia, the question of why some people become radicalised and some do not, still remains unanswered. Violent extremist online content has grown rapidly over the last decade, coinciding with the rise of Web 2.0, the internet has enabled radicals to inform, influence and recruit supporters in all corners of the globe (Wolffe & Moorhead 2013, p.81). The lack of research specifically devoted towards exploring the motivations of an individual to search for radical online content in the first place, has contributed to the ambiguous nature of findings and has, arguably, misguided government counter initiatives (Aly 2010, p.4). We will explore why religions turn to violence and present theories of online radicalisation. We will then discuss initiatives set out by the Australian government in countering radicalisation and explore their limitations.
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