Counter terrorism operatives on the ground to smoke out threats in the country have unearthed a number of newly established extremist groups, ready to rain terror.
The men in Bukit Aman’s Special Branch Counter terrorism Division (SB-CTD) had also established that terror cells that had been neutralised had been gaining momentum in their recruitment exercises.
SB-CTD principal assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said while his men had been working round the clock to stem the spread of extremist ideologies in every corner of the country, killing the Islamic State ideology was a great challenge to his team.
He listed Kumpulan Tandzim Al-Qaeda Malaysia, Briged Al Jamaah, Kumpulan Fisabilillah, Kumpulan Daulah Islamiah Malizia, Al Qubro Generation and Kumpulan Gagak Hitam as among the terror cells the division was watching like a hawk.
Kumpulan Gagak Hitam, he said, had been seeing an aggressive recruitment drive, with 38 people under its wing. Intelligence suggested that Kumpulan Fisabilillah, another newly established group, now has 13 ready-to-die fighters to its name.
“What makes it more worrying is the fact that these groups are leveraging social media platforms to recruit new members,” Ayob told the New Straits Times.
The Malaysian IS terror cells, Ayob said, subscribed to the same Salafi jihadi ideology and were determined to “free Malaysia” from the supposed “shackles of secularism”.
“And they believe dying doing that is their shortcut to heaven”. Ayob said intense efforts to draw potential recruits away from such terror cells were partly being hampered by the “role” of certain influential groups in “legitimising” the IS cause.
“My men and I, along with Islamic scholars, have been going to suraus and community halls in villages… even universities and colleges to guide the misguided.
“But, there are groups, including some religious teachers, misguiding the public and promoting the Salafi jihadi ideology.
“When these ulama’s promote the Salafi jihadist ideology, saying that its teachings should be subscribed to, their audience would uphold this teaching as it is encouraged by their religious teachers.”
Ayob shared the “confession” of an IS supporter, who was caught as he was leaving the country to fight in Syria.
“The suspect told our officers that he wanted to go there for “redemption”, saying he was battling with the guilt of his past sins and was hoping to die a martyr.
“He said it was an Islamic scholar who told him that it was the right thing to do if he ever wanted to taste heaven,” he said, adding that there were many IS propaganda tools around that served to justify their cause.
Ayob said despite the arrest of more than 100 individuals who attempted to leave the country to fight alongside IS in Syria and Iraq, intelligence suggested that there were scores of Malaysians who were still trying to escape police radar for the cause.
He said although there were only nine people who slipped through and ended up in Syria this year, the number of people arrested for attempting to do so had increased significantly.
He added that the SB-CTD had, until last month, arrested 112 individuals. It nabbed 82 Malaysians last year trying to make their way there.
There are 60 Malaysians fighting with IS in Syria. – NST