Monday, April 4, 2016

Quotable: CRS Insight Report on European security and Islamist terrorism

A brief summary “Insight” report by Kristin Archick and Paul Belkin of the Congressional Research Service, “European Security and Islamist Terrorism,” issued on March 29, 2016, had just a few mentions of radicalization, extremist propaganda, and the social media, and these were not mentioned in the report’s “Issues for the United States.”  The report included these points, however:

  • The uptick in terrorist activity has reinforced long-standing concerns about the integration of Muslims in Europe and the potential for radicalization among some segments of Europe's Muslim populations.

  • Worries also persist about attacks by self-radicalized individuals who may not have traveled abroad but have been inspired by Islamist extremist propaganda, such as the Danish gunman who killed two individuals in Copenhagen in February 2015.

  • European officials are also working to more aggressively counter radicalization and extremist propaganda, especially via the Internet and social media. Some have called on U.S. technology companies to assist these efforts by preemptively removing terrorist content from their sites.

  • [Belgium]  In late 2015, the government proposed new measures to strengthen law enforcement capabilities against terrorism and better tackle extremism, including shutting down hate-preaching websites and monitoring radicalized youth (potentially through the use of electronic tags).

  • The EU has sought to enhance information-sharing among national and EU authorities, strengthen external border controls, and improve counter-radicalization efforts, particularly online and in prisons. However, implementation of some initiatives has been slowed by national sovereignty concerns, law enforcement barriers to sharing sensitive information, and civil liberty protections.

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