KUALA LUMPUR: Many Malaysian Muslims have joined the Islamic State (IS) forces in the Middle East because they felt burdened with sins and sought redemption by dying a martyr’s death, Utusan Malaysia reported yesterday, quoting a senior police officer. Special Branch principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said these Malaysians felt joining Isis and dying a martyr’s death was a shortcut to heaven.
“Our investigations have revealed that many Malaysians who joined Isis felt that they could redeem themselves for their sins by dying a martyr’s death. “These Malaysians include drug addicts, those who come from broken families and those who felt burdened by previous sins,” Utusan Malaysia quoted Ayob as saying.
Ayob warned that the threat from the Salafi Jihadi movement would be never-ending as it would continue to come up with new tactics and strategies. In the past, Malaysia has been threatened by Kumpulan Militan Malaysia and Jemaah Islamiyah; now it is Isis.
Ayob said suspects who were interrogated by police had confessed that Malaysians fighting in the Middle East are more than ready to die.
“When an enemy fighter aircraft drops a bomb or fires a missile, the Malaysians charge towards the bomb in the hope of being killed and dying a martyr’s death,” he was quoted as saying. Furthermore, Ayob said police had learnt that infighting also occurred among Isis members due to differences in opinions.
On Oct 24, the National Fatwa Council blacklisted the Isis militant group in a bid to stop Malaysians from joining the war in Syria and Iraq. Council chairman Tan Sri Dr Abd Shukor Hussin said the move was aimed at preventing Malaysian Muslims from being influenced by the terrorist organisation.
“We will discuss further [the steps to blacklist the militants]. Our focus right now is to arrest, to discourage and to issue a fatwa making it haram [prohibited] to join Isis militants. Muslims are advised not to be influenced by Isis because the move spreads chaos in the country and among Muslims. This is because those who are killing and being killed are Muslims,” said Shukor.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said those who were killed in the war in Syria and Iraq were not martyred. “After discussing this and bringing forward research findings as well as arguments based on clerics’ decrees, we have concluded that [deaths in] Isis’ battle in the name of jihad are futile and those killed will not be called martyrs.”
He said it is inaccurate to say that they are fighting for jihad, adding that such deaths are a waste. “In the name of jihad, people are influenced and willing to die because they think they will become martyrs, when in fact their deaths are futile.”
Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism division has so far arrested 22 suspected Malaysian militants since April 28. Putrajaya has also said it would fight Isis and prevent Malaysians from joining the ranks of the militant group. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 3, 2014.