KUALA LUMPUR – The effort to recruit Malaysian girls to join militant groups in the name of jihad, is taking an aggressive turn with school children being targeted in the recruitment drive.
Principal assistant director of the Counter Terrorism Division of the Special Branch at Bukit Aman, SAC Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin Pitchay, in revealing this said, the individual concerned was actively recruiting this group via Facebook as they were young and easily misled.
“The trend to recruit youngsters between the ages of 15 and 30 through Facebook is worrying. We are aware that some secondary school students have jihad tendencies and have been persuaded through Facebook.
“Besides school children, students of private and public higher learning institutions with family and educational problems, government and private sector employees and businessmen are also being coaxed to strive together and fight for jihad,” he said when contacted by Bernama here Monday.
Ayob Khan said the three militant groups with Malaysian participation in Syria were the Islamic State (IS), Jabhat Al Nusra and Ajnad Al Sham.
He said that the targeted groups were usually taken in by verses from the holy Quran and fighting alongside the mujahideen.
“At times only part of the Quran verses are used or verses are misinterpreted to make their objectives legitimate,” he said.
In that context, Ayob Khan said it was now appropriate for religious authorities to take proactive measures in dealing with this matter and ward off these militant groups’ propaganda at once.
In this regard, he said that religious authorities should issue an official fatwa as carried out by several Arab countries including Saudi Arabia which had banned its citizens from helping jihadist fighters in battlefields of other countries especially Syria, as a measure to curb militant recruitment.
“Controlling militant ideology and breeding is the role of the religious authorities. The police will take action if there are evidence and basis of individuals planning acts of violence,” he said.
Ayob Khan said all parties, especially parents, teachers and employers should be aware of recruitment activities and inform the police should they come across anyone with tendencies to be jihad fighters in war-torn countries.
He said should the police be informed at an early stage, they would arrange for counseling sessions with religious experts from the Royal Malaysia Police for the individuals involved.
So far 22 Malaysians including three women have been detected to be with militant groups in Syria and 23 others have been detained in the country for alleged links with these groups. – Bernama