While they have busted numerous terrorist cells successfully in the past, recently the Bahrain counter-terrorism forces have stopped one of its big terrorist threats in the country’s history and thwarted a number of planned attacks. (GDN, March 4).
They have arrested 116 members of the terrorist group – a really remarkable achievement in fighting terrorism by any standards.
However, the successful counter-terrorism efforts also demonstrated how we are lagging behind when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of our youths where foreign based recruiters have succeeded.
Our youths have been and continue to be indoctrinated, radicalised and recruited by Iran-backed Bahraini militants residing in Iran. They persuade them into traveling all the way through to Lebanon and Iraq to receive military training and return to Bahrain only to join the business of terrorism.
How do they steal our youth’s attention? What can we do to prevent our youths from falling into the hands of terrorist recruiters? Answering these questions will hold the key to preventing the youth from subscribing to terrorist outfits and help lift the burden counter-terrorism forces are shouldering.
So basically, it is who wins for the hearts and minds of our youths that make the counter-terrorism campaign easy and successful. If we are able to dry the sources from where the terrorists are recruited, we are denying them the ground and diminish their ability to staging terrorism activities.
So where to start? The parents, school, community and the government have roles to play in moulding our youths. The main actors, however, seem to be centred on mosque preachers. Friday sermons should focus on building social cohesion, coexistence and tolerance, preventing sedition and avoiding sectarian ideologies.