Digital battle against Isis crucial

The fight against militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extends to the digital front, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

He was speaking about the crucial role of technology at the Defence Technology Prize (DTP) ceremony yesterday.

"Not surprising then that even international terrorists are using social media for their cause," he said.

"They've learnt who are the people with superficial understanding of religion, how to package their products to suck you into false ideologies to bring you over to Iraq and Syria."

There are about 10,000 to 20,000 foreigners reportedly in Iraq and Syria, many of whom might join ISIS, he added.

This is where agencies in the security sector must come together to counter these false ideologies.

"What's the most powerful weapon? It's really what people believe in. What people believe in will affect their resolve, their actions that come out from it," he said.

As such, Dr Ng called on the defence technology community to collaborate with others on the Internet like how they do in the real world. He said the Religious Rehabilitation Group has been actively countering the spread of extremism by promoting awareness of Islam's true values.

"They do it in real life. But how do we do it on social media?" he asked.

"It's as important a challenge as in the real world. Because this is a digital battle. It cannot be won by analog means only."