Saturday 17 January 2015

Journey to Jihad: Lotfi's death inspires more Malaysian militants

TODAY, 16 Jan 2015

Malaysian militant Mohd Lotfi Ariffin’s death in fighting for the creation of an Islamic state in war-torn Syria has inspired the former religious teacher’s students in Kedah to follow his path, according to a special video report by the New York Times.

In the video, Lotfi’s brother, Ustaz Mohd Zainon, is shown telling students at a local madrasah in Kedah that they should follow his path if they wished to become martyrs in the name of Islam.

“As students we should follow the path of our teacher Ustad Mohd Lotfi,” Mr Zainon said in a feature titled “The jihadist in our family.”

Lotfi, a former a member of Kedah PAS, died last year after falling into a coma following an ambush on rebel militants, according to Facebook posts from other Malaysian jihadists.

In the 8-minute video, Mr Zainon describes Lotfi’s militant path as a noble one, pointing out that he had to leave his family and friends behind to fight for his beliefs.

One of Mr Zainon’s students, nineteen-year-old Yusran Budiman said he was inspired by Lotfi and followed his journey through messages and videos from family members and posts them through his own social media.

“If we want to go to heaven, we have to die with honour. One of the easiest ways is to die a martyr. So personally, I would like to die a martyr,” said Yusran.

Snippets of Lotfi’s life in Syria was recorded through various video clips and followed closely by students but his death was almost as well-received.

At home, even when eldest son Ahmad Salahuddin heard news of his father’s passing, he said he was relieved.

“When we heard the news, we were thankful, he had achieved what he sought. It’s not easy to die a martyr. Allah has to choose you. Praise to God,” he said.

Islamist party PAS has distanced themselves from him, saying he was sacked for his involvement in Syria.

“We are proud to have an ustaz who is pious enough to fight for Islam with his life and soul. As students we should learn from him, as example of a teacher who has left us,” said Mr Zainon.

Since February last year, the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division has arrested 51 suspected Malaysian militants.


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