PETALING JAYA: Malaysians joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terror network have been psyched into believing that they will die as martyrs.
At least 20 of them are believed to be already in Syria to join the Sunni jihadist force that has shocked the world with violent attacks targeting mainly the Shi’ite Muslims. However, the actual number could be much bigger.
“Some of them appear to have joined the terror network with the blessings of their families, as they have a misconceived notion that they would die as martyrs,” said Special Branch’s Counter Terrorism Division principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan.
Police have succeeded in stopping at least 16 more Malaysians from embarking on suspected terror activities abroad.
They have so far charged four suspects and are continuing investigations into another four. Eight others have been released because of insufficient evidence.
Malaysia currently has no preventive detention laws in place to stop the likes of 26-year-old Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki, who made headlines for carrying out a suicide mission that killed 25 elite soldiers at the Iraqi SWAT headquarters in Al-Anbar on May 26.
The jihadist forces are also using social media such as Twitter to spread images of massacred Iraqi soldiers to perpetuate a culture of fear.
SAC Ayob said Malaysians believed to be associated with ISIL were from various backgrounds and professions.
“Some of them who are already in Iraq left with their families’ blessings, as they have this misconceived notion that they will die as martyr in the war against Shi’ites who they believe are no longer regarded as Muslims,” he said, adding that they were aged between 22 and 56.
A small number of the suspects is believed to have undergone militant training in Negri Sembilan and Perak.
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