Monday, September 29, 2014

As more Malaysians join jihad in Syria, Dr M fears Islamic State coming home

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — Muslims enamoured with the Islamic State jihadist movement in Syria could be tempted to replicate the violent revolution in Malaysia, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested today.

Warning Putrajaya that it no longer has the Internal Security Act (ISA) to deal with such a contingency, Dr Mahathir said it was not impossible that rebels from neighbouring countries might attempt invade Malaysia to form an “Islamic state” here.
“A call for form an ‘Islamic state’ is very tempting to Muslim youths anywhere because they are disappointed that there is no government or country that is willing to save Islam, Muslims, and the Islamic countries,” he wrote on his personal blog,, today
He pointed out that the conflict in Syria and Iraq was founded on the ideological differences between the Shiah and Sunni denominations, a religious clash that is also present in Malaysia that only recognises the former school of Islamic jurisprudence.
Dr Mahathir added that there are claims of some Muslims here who feel Malaysia is not adequately Islamic and that some of these were among those who have travelled to the Middle East to partake in the Islamic State’s so-called “jihad”.
“If it crosses their mind to make Malaysia a part of the ‘Islamic State’, would they not join in attacks launched from the outside by those calling for jihad to form an Islamic state in Malaysia?”
Seeds of such discontent already exist, Dr Mahathir asserted, pointing to growing secessionist movements in Sabah that was also the site of an armed Sulu incursion last year.
He also reminded readers of the Al-Maunah militant group that raided an army camp for weapons in July 2000 before they were cornered in a deadly standoff with the armed forces and police.
Earlier today, the Bloomberg news service reported that as many as 40 Malaysians are currently fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, with some saying that the jihad was mandated by the Prophet Muhammad.
The total number of Southeast Asians fighting alongside Islamic State is estimated by governments and police to be a few hundred.
The violence and brutality committed by terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria poses a threat to the Middle East and, if left unchecked, the world, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations said in a statement on September 27.
Malaysians and Indonesians fighting for the IS have also reportedly banded together over their common language and are said to be planning to expand their numbers to form a “katibah”, a military unit of 100 men roughly equivalent to a company.
Malaysia has designated IS a terrorist group.
The organisation was formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
On August 11 this year, Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post reported that Malaysian police have revealed local jihadists who joined IS are now training their sights on Putrajaya.
A senior Malaysian police official was reported as saying that suspected jihadists had planned attacks on entertainment venues in Kuala Lumpur and a Carlsberg factory in Petaling Jaya.
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