FSB chief urges international campaign to discredit ISIS ideology and leaders

FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov © 
Aleksey Nikolskyi
The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service has told his colleagues from 64 nations that an important part of fighting the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS, or ISIL) was in exposing the terrorists’ propaganda and discrediting their leaders.

Aleksandr Bortnikov was speaking at an international conference of heads of special services and law enforcement bodies dedicated to the threat from Islamic State. The conference takes place in Russia’s Yaroslavl on Wednesday and Thursday.

We should expand the practice of joint operative investigation into terrorist groups, expose and stop the activities of people who form the core of these organizations, discredit their leaders and sow discord among these bandits,” Interfax news agency quoted Bortnikov as saying.

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The Russian security chief also said that uncovering secret financing schemes and exposing terrorist recruiters were priority tasks, noting that radical propaganda is rife not only in mosques and schools but also on the internet.

He said that prevention was the most important part of the global anti-terror effort.
Our main task is to knock the props from under the apologists of radicalism and to remove the fake halo of common people’s protectors. We must visually expose the true essence of ISIL, which contradicts both Islam and general human values,” Bortnikov told conference participants.

He also suggested several efficient means to achieve this common goal, such as spreading the idea that the followers of radical Islam betray the true faith of their ancestors and also using an international anti-terrorist database, which he called the most effective modern mechanism to warn security services about people wanting to join foreign-based terrorist groups.

On a visit to the United States in February this year, Bortnikov said that cooperation between special services, despite the strained relations between nations, was the key to defeating the terrorist threat. He especially emphasized that Moscow sought Washington’s cooperation in the common fight against Islamic State, adding that the existing exchange of intelligence data was already helping to achieve positive results.

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Since last December, Russia has officially designated Islamic State and the affiliated Al-Nusra Front as terrorist groups, banning all citizens from participating in these organizations and rendering those supporting them liable to criminal prosecution.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier called upon all nations to recognize the two groups as terrorists, in line with resolutions passed by the UN Security Council.

In addition, two major Russian Muslim unions have issued fatwas denouncing the Islamic State as enemies of Islam and calling for the punishment of all its members. Russian Muslim scholars also advised against calling the followers of Islamic State “Islamists” as it sheds a negative light on their religion. They suggested rendering the IS abbreviation as “Iblis State” – after one of the names of the Devil used in the Koran.

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