Referrals to “Prevent” — the United Kingdom’s top anti-radicalization program — reportedly have fallen by more than half during the national coronavirus lockdown, prompting fears of a spike in terrorist recruits.
Jihadists and right-wing extremists are taking advantage of the March 23 stay-at-home order to target young people who are spending more time alone and unsupervised. “Isolation may exacerbate grievances that make people more vulnerable to radicalisation,” explains Ch Supt Nik Adams, national coordinator for Prevent. “The extremists and radicalizers know this and…will look to exploit any opportunity to lead those people into harm, often using topical issues as hooks to lure them in.”
Groups on the extreme right, for instance, are using false claims of a link between 5G technology and coronavirus to bait people into joining chat rooms, where they can subsequently be groomed. ISIS, meanwhile, is urging U.K. followers to plan attacks on the grounds that the West is preoccupied with the COVID-19 crisis and, therefore, is vulnerable.
source: The Guardian