Malaysian police arrested twelve men with links to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) who plotted to attack government buildings and people in Kuala Lumpur. The twelve men bring the total number of people arrested in Malaysia connected to ISIS to 104.
The men age between 17 and 41. Police also seized numerous explosives during the arrest, which “included 20kg of ammonium nitrate and 20kg of potassium nitrate.” The suspects allegedly answered the demands of ISIS to attack countries like Malaysia.
“The plan by the cell members to launch attacks is in response to calls by ISIS leaders in Syria to attack secular Islamic countries deemed to be their enemies,” stated police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.
The men included school dropouts, but also businessmen, and those enrolled at universities.
“They were on their way up to the mountains to test the homemade bombs,” sources claimed.
Authorities do not know exactly how the men planned to launch their attacks.
“It can happen. There are so many possibilities. They can put it (the bombs) under a car, or use suicide bombers… anything,” said a few more sources who only spoke if publications did not identify them.
Last month, Malaysian authorities identified two men who appeared in an ISIS beheading video. Mohd Faris Anuar, 20, is the man who beckons the camera to come closer to the victims and Muhamad Eanndy Muhamad Jedi, 26, films the execution. They claim in the video that the man was a spy in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad.
In October, The Malay Mail Online published a piece on Malaysians leaving the country due to growing Islamic fundamentalism. Malaysian officials tell the world the country is a “moderate Muslim nation,” but their actions tell a different story. Here are a few stories that highlight Islamic fundamentalism’s growing draw in Malaysia:
– Officials threatened young teenage Muslim girls after they jumped the stage to hug and kiss members of a popular Korean boy band.
– Islamic groups asked officials to take legal action against a Muslim girl who held an “unclean” dog.
– Islamic groups forced a church to remove a cross from their building.
– Authorities seized 321 Bibles from the Bible Society.
– The State Assembly of Kelantan is considering a hudud (crimes against God) bill that would allow the state to execute anyone accused of apostasy, which is the abandonment of Islam.
“Thinking Muslims are being marginalised and persecuted,” said Azrul Mohd Khalib, a human rights activist, on how Islamic authorities intimidate Muslims in the country. “It is creating a climate of fear, suspicion and prejudice. Because of that, Muslims who do not prescribe to that belief system do not see themselves as being welcomed or even tolerated in this country.”
Activists know of many people who will not return to Malaysia due to the growing fundamentalism.
“It’s not for economic reasons, but simply because they feel that the environment here has become so negative and oppressive that it’s impossible to be able to live as peaceful, productive citizens any more,” explained Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, a social activist. “You just never know when something that is perfectly acceptable one day becomes ‘haram’ [forbidden] the next day.”