Monday 14 December 2015

'Malaysia has 50,000 ISIS sympathisers'

The Sunday Times, 13 Dec 2015

KUALA LUMPUR • There are an estimated 50,000 Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sympathisers in Malaysia, said its transport minister, warning that the nation needed to guard against radicalisation of some of its citizens.

The influence of ISIS among Malaysians is a real threat that cannot be ignored, said Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai yesterday at a conference on national security and the threat of ISIS in Kuala Lumpur, reported Malaysian newspaper The Star.

Mr Liow said that according to the Malaysian Special Branch, there are an estimated 50,000 ISIS sympathisers in Malaysia.

"If only 1 per cent turn radical and if they attack any part of Malaysia we will be in trouble," he cautioned.

According to a report released this month by New York-based security consulting firm The Soufan Group, about 100 Malaysian citizens are estimated to have travelled to join ISIS in Syria.

More than 100 suspected militants have been detained, the Malaysian police have said.

The authorities have also said that they have foiled several terror plots in the country, including one on kidnapping top politicians.

In September, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that his country will set up a messaging centre to counter the terrorists' narrative of Islam, and will also use social media and other messaging tools.

Malaysian cops: ISIS camps training children to kill
The Straits Times, 14 Dec 2015

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's counter-terrrorism chief said yesterday that the authorities were aware of two training camps set up by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group to train young children, with one of the camps possibly involving Malaysian children.

At a seminar on the threat of ISIS militants yesterday, Bukit Aman Special Branch counter-terrorism division head Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the camps - which are currently training some 500 children - are based in Kazakhstan and Syria.

"They have just established two camps specifically to train children. The youngest are two-year-olds," he was quoted as saying by The Star. "They are teaching the children how to use firearms... the children are being brainwashed into performing false jihad (religious wars) when they're older."

Datuk Ayob said the authorities also learnt that Bahasa Indonesia was among the languages used to reach out to those from South-east Asia. He added that while the police had no information that Malaysians were involved, "we are not discounting the fact that there could be Malaysian children there".

The police do not have figures on the number of Malaysians believed to be involved, due to the difficulties of obtaining intelligence from Syria, the Malay Mail Online reported him as saying.

So far, no Malaysian families have planned to send their children to the camps, he said. However, he added that some Malaysian families who migrated overseas to join ISIS could have joined the camps.

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