It was heartbreaking news. 129 people killed in the 13 Nov terrorist attacks in Paris, which ISIS has claimed responsibility for. Thankfully there are no Malaysians among the casualty list. But what’s with ISIS? They seem to be getting bolder day by day and they’d stop at nothing – not even at taking people’s lives.
Paris is thousand of miles away, so we Malaysians prolly think we’re ‘safe’. But are we really? For those of you who have not been following news about ISIS, they’re encroaching more closely into this country than you think. For one, they’ve recruited many Malaysians already. Secondly, they’ve targeted Malaysian leaders on their hit list too. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin is one of them, including several senior members of the Cabinet.
Now the Home Ministry reveals that ISIS is targeting….UM lecturers?? WTH??!! Why is ISIS targeting UM lecturers?
ISIS doesn’t wanna kill them……they wanna RECRUIT them!
Ohh…you thought…? Well, no. ISIS needs them ALIVE!
So, why UM lecturers? What special skills do they have that ISIS needs? According to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan, the terrorists are looking for lecturers who are skilled in weapons and explosives.
“The ingredients are easily obtained and they can learn from the Internet, but they don’t have the expertise to assemble the bombs.” – Datuk Ayub Khan, Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism division head Senior Asst Comm, The Star
And uhhh, actually ISIS is not specifically looking for UM lecturers ONLY. Heck, they’ve recruited a Rela member and a stationery shop owner too. They appear to be recruiting Malaysians and Indonesians in general. About 75% new members are recruited online – though blogs, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Unlike early 2000s, where recruits came from religious schools. In total, more than 100 Malaysians have joined them.
But we didn’t bluff ugaiz. ISIS has a UM link…
ISIS already found their mole in the UM
His name is Dr. Mahmud Ahmad (aka Abu Handzalah). He’s a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Akidah and Islamic Thought, Academy of Islamic Studies. We found his deets and CV still up on UM’s page. We contacted the uni, but they told CILISOS he was no longer with them since last year. To get more information, we had to send an email, so we’ll update the article once they respond. In the meantime, there’s a lot of info about him online. Based on his CV, he joined UM in December 2010.
In all respects, he looks like a pretty nice guy, right?
Before ISIS, Mahmud was already an al-Qaeda militant VETERAN! He trained with them in Afghanistan in the 1990s, while he was studying in Pakistan.
“Once he became a university lecturer, he recruited and sent 4 Malaysians to Syria.” – Datuk Ayub, The Star
WUUUT??! How did he get hired by UM? In a report by The Malaysian Insider, Azmi Sharom (also a professor at UM) said the uni has no control over the staff’s ideological beliefs. Short of actual active recruitment of students, the uni can’t be responsible. Perhaps they didn’t know of his past.
At the time TMI published that article (it was 3 Jul 2014), the 36-year-old lecturer had been missing from uni for 2 months. He ran away to southern Philippines with 4 other Malaysians who’d joined ISIS.
But what was he like? Mahmud’s faculty colleagues revealed that his ideals were no secret. They all noticed the change in him late 2013…
“He was not discreet about his passion for jihadism and martyrdom. We would be chatting about the most mundane of topics and somehow he always managed to divert the conversation to these subjects.” – a fellow faculty member told New Strait Times
So currently holed up in southern Philippines with the other 4 (ALL on Malaysia’s wanted list), they can’t move anywhere coz Malaysian and Filipino authorities are hunting him down. But Mahmud’s plan is to try to get to Syria to swear allegiance to ISIS boss, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi!
Their goal is to start a Southeast Asian chapter
Not satisfied with just participating in the Abu Sayyaf, Mahmud plans to unite all the regional terror group, including Jemaah Islamiah, etc.
In a sense, his job is not to dive INTO action… he’s their recruitment agent and trainer guy. The cell he belonged to was linked to a group which held combat training for Malaysians at Gunung Arang Para in Kuala Kangsar, Perak. They memang like to use isolated places to train Malaysian jihadists. They’ve also got a site in Port Dickson and authorities believe there could be more training sites yet to be discovered. Once their training is done, the recruits are sent to Syria and Iraq to fight in the civil war.
Criminologist P. Sundramoorthy believes they’re forming an inter-nation terror group because they’ve been unable to gain sufficient support from any individual country.
No doubt these guys could do much damage to humanity if they’re not stopped. Mahmud had already proven his HR ‘skill’ when he recruited Malaysia’s FIRST suicide bomber Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki. Ahmad was a quiet 26-year-old factory worker who trained in Port Dickson. On 26 May 2014, he drove a military SUV filled with bombs into Iraq’s SWAT HQ, blowing up 25 elite soldiers, and himself in the process.
Malaysia has a real problem of people joining ISIS
And we don’t just mean adults! It has reached the point where ISIS might be recruiting Malaysian CHILDREN! Also, according to Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim), so many youths are now showing interest in ISIS, asking questions about jihading with them. Doesn’t this worry us as Malaysians?
Let’s look at the stats and compare it to the other Southeast Asian country where ISIS recruits are coming from – Indonesia. It’s estimated more than 100 Malaysians have joined the terror group, while Indonesia has approximately the same figure. But you know what? The population of Malaysia is barely one-tenth of our neighbour’s (30 mill : 255 mill). Which means the RATE at which Malaysians are joining is much scarier than Indonesia’s!
What’s perplexing is how we’re always portraying ourselves as a ‘moderate’ country, yet the trend shows otherwise. So what is the appeal of ISIS to ‘moderate’ Malaysia? Is it really about religion?
Yes, it’s somewhat about religion, but there are misconceptions…
…that all Malaysian recruits are from religious schools.
But Abim President Amidi Abdul Manan said that surprisingly many interested youths are well-educated. Up to tertiary level even. And many come from homes that most people would deem normal. Some were WHOLE young families (husband, wife and kids) who are willing to give up their comfortable lives here for a life under a caliphate.
Like Shams, the famous Bird of Jannah. She was a 26-year-old doctor, middle class life, and had her whole life ahead of her. She joined ISIS and married a complete stranger.
That’s the misconception of non-sympathisers! But ISIS sympathisers have misconceptions too…
They have a skewed interpretation of jihad according to Amidi, and this was something Abim wants to correct at its meetings. He explained that jihad isn’t just about armed struggle or holy war.
“In Arabic, jihad means doing things to the best of your ability, and it can be applied to politics, society and even economics.” – Amidi on TMI
Everyone has their own sense or ideas of religion at the end of the day… But maybe we can understand things better by starting with the misconceptions… like understanding the fact that ISIS has the power to lure even UM lecturers, which is a worrying thing when it was also known that one of the terrorists in Paris was a Frenchman. Yikes.