Malaysian Prime Minister: Islamic State Poses ‘Very Real’ Threat to Country

AP Photo/Joshua Paul
AP Photo/Joshua Paul

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak declared the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) poses a “very real” threat to the Asian country after the group threatened the nation as a backlash to numerous arrests.

“This threat is very real and my government takes it very seriously,” he announced. “This is a challenge that faces us all around the world. We are far from immune to this danger in Malaysia.”

Katibah Nusantara, the Islamic State’s wing in Malaysia and Indonesia, vowed revenge against the Malaysian government after authorities arrested several suspected militants.

“If you catch us, we will only increase in number but if you let us be, we will be closer to our goal of bringing back the rule of the Khalifah (caliph),” the group vowed in its message, adding, “Those who brand us as khawarij (dissenters), Daesh (another name for IS) and even as Mossad agents are in fact Syiah and its allies.” The message went on to assert, “We will never bow down to the democratic system of governance as we will only follow Allah’s rules.”

A website run by the Islamic State published the video, which indicates the group recognizes Katibah.

“Prior to this, we only saw videos posted on Facebook or other social media sites but this particular video is a clear indication that Katibah is among the major foreign factions in IS,” explained SAC Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the head of Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division.

Between January 11 and 15, Malaysian and Indonesian authorities arrested seven suspected militants. One man allegedly “confessed to planning a suicide attack” in Malaysia after he received orders from the terrorist group in Syria. He also owned many weapons and Islamic State documents.

Police arrested three people at Kuala Lumpur International Airport upon their return from Turkey, “where they were detained for trying to make their way into Syria.” The authorities in Indonesia detained “three men on suspicion of links to multiple bomb and gun attacks that turned Jakarta into a conflict zone for three hours on Thursday, leaving seven people dead.”

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told the press the men planned to attack “strategic locations” in Malaysia. He also stated a 31-year-old man who works as an assistant housekeeping manager at a hotel leads the local terror cell.

Intelligence divisions learned the Islamic State boasts “200 fighters from Indonesia and Malaysia” in Katibah Nusantara.

“This splinter cell of the terror group has gained prominence in the IS hierarchy,” said an anonymous source. “Instead of being chosen for petty duties such as cleaning, fighters from Katibah are highly sought after for ‘specialised missions,’ including as snipers and suicide bombers.”

In July 2014, Indonesian men appeared in a video to recruit others to join the Islamic State. Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi told his brothers in Malaysia and Indonesia to “migrate” to the terrorist group since “it is an obligation decreed by Allah.”

He added:

We ask you, where’s your faith? Why are you worried? What’s the reason for your fear? Are your wives and children the reason that you’re prevented from jihad?

Are your homes, businesses, and wealth more beloved to you than Allah, His Messenger, and jihad in his path? … Have you forgotten that the companions of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) emigrated for jihad to Sham? Before that, they were ordered to emigrate from Makkah to Madinah? They obeyed without hesitation and did not look for excuses! They went to Madinah seeking Allah’s pleasure.

A week later, the Indonesian government banned support for the Islamic State and publications of pro-Islamic State propaganda.

“The government rejects and bans the teachings of ISIS […] from growing in Indonesia. It [ISIL] is not in line with state ideology, Pancasila, or the philosophy of kebhinekaan [diversity] under the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia,” said Djoko Suyanto, minister of Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs.