In the globalized world, distance plays a much lesser role than it used to be. This also goes for the fight against extremism. Not only do extremists use international digital channels, of which the use can only be limited by national authorities, but also the gloomiest corners of the Internet, such as the Dark Web, for their evil undergoings.
In the classical world, extremists sometimes travel and attach themselves to groups of ideologies or religions they deem similar to their own. Honorable citizens and migrants, often well-integrated, should be careful not to overly trust those opportunist travelers. As proven by many cases of terrorism and trials of those apprehended, some of the perpetrators go through great lengths to gain the trust of the members of peaceful religious communities and other groups, exploiting the latter as stepping stones.
Once illegal acts committed, and, alas, even terrorist attacks, the trust those violent extremists misused, in some cases with no reluctance to become suicidal, harms in terrible ways the peaceful groups they frequented, beyond distances and national borders. Groups who harbored terrorists, in many cases without a clue, then face popular backlash by part of their host countries.
Thorsten Koch MA, PgDip
7. March 2021