‘MIL­I­TANT GROUPS RE­CRUIT IN VAR­SI­TIES’

Re­li­gious schools are a bar­rier to spread of de­viant teach­ings, says counter-ter­ror­ism ex­pert

New Straits Times - - News - SHAR­I­FAH MAHSINAH AB­DUL­LAH KOTA BARU shar­i­fahmah@nst.com.my

UNI­VER­SI­TIES, rather than pon­dok or re­li­gious schools, are the ob­vi­ous choice for mil­i­tant groups such as Is­lamic State (IS) and Je­maah Is­lamiyah (JI) to spread their rad­i­cal ide­ol­ogy and re­cruit mem­bers.

Bukit Aman’s Spe­cial Branch coun­tert­er­ror­ism divi­sion prin­ci­pal as­sis­tant di­rec­tor Datuk Ayub Khan My­din Pitchay said many peo­ple had the mis­con­cep­tion that re­li­gious schools in states such as Ke­lan­tan were used by the groups to spread their ide­ol­ogy.

“It can­not be de­nied that there are one or two re­li­gious schools in the coun­try used by the mil­i­tant groups to spread their ide­ol­ogy, but not all schools.

“Re­li­gious schools are ac­tu­ally a bar­rier against the spread of de­viant teach­ings. About 99 per cent of re­li­gious schools prac­tise true Is­lamic teach­ings based on Ah­lus-Sun­nah wal-Ja­maa’h.”

Ayub said the spread of the mil­i­tant groups’ ide­ol­ogy among univer­sity stu­dents had been proven with the ar­rest of 23 peo­ple from sev­eral uni­ver­si­ties, higher learn­ing in­sti­tutes and sec­ondary schools for their in­volve­ment in IS and al-Qaeda.

He said 11 were univer­sity stu­dents, eight were sec­ondary school stu­dents and four were stu­dents of other in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing.

“An­other 17 Malaysian stu­dents study­ing abroad were de­tained for their in­volve­ment in JI and al-Qaeda.”

Asked about the lat­est ar­rest of nine men, in­clud­ing two from Ke­lan­tan, he said the case was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ayub was com­ment­ing on their ar­rest in a co­or­di­nated na­tion­wide swoop in five states in­clud­ing two in Ke­lan­tan in op­er­a­tions be­tween March 15 and 21.

Those ar­rested in­cluded a pri­mary school teacher, se­cu­rity guard, me­chanic, cy­ber­cafe worker and restau­rant worker.

The group was plan­ning to blow up the Ta­pah po­lice sta­tion in Perak when they were ar­rested.

Ayub did not rule out that more ar­rests would be made by the divi­sion in fu­ture.

“We will con­tinue to carry out sim­i­lar op­er­a­tions from time to time and if there is ev­i­dence of in­volve­ment in mil­i­tant groups, we will not hes­i­tate to make ar­rests.

“We have re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that these groups have used states lo­cated near a neigh­bour­ing coun­try as tran­sit to bring in weapons and ex­plo­sive de­vices.”

He said Perak recorded the high­est num­ber of de­tained IS mem­bers with 38 ar­rested so far, fol­lowed by Kuala Lumpur (33), Kedah (33), Jo­hor (28) and Ke­lan­tan (18).

SOHAIMI PIC BY HAFIZ

Datuk Ayub Khan My­din Pitchay says re­li­gious schools are a bar­rier against the spread of de­viant teach­ings.

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