PETALING JAYA: Militant groups prey on the young and the naive, giving them a false illusion of martyrdom, say Muslim scholars.
This follows reports that 26-year-old Malaysian Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki had allegedly volunteered for a suicide bombing mission in Iraq and other reports of Malaysians linked to militant groups in Syria and the Middle East.
Ahmad Tarmimi was said to have killed 25 Iraqi soldiers in an attack at al-Anbar on May 26.
Official sources say there are 20 to 30 Malaysians involved in these groups, but some estimates put their number at around 100.
International Islamic University of Malaysia political science lecturer Dr Ishtiaq Hossain said many young people are taken in by the precept that if a person dies as a martyr, he or she will receive hefty rewards in the afterlife.
However, he said, jihad is a struggle to improve oneself and not a war to be fought between one Muslim group and another.
“The concept of jihad has been hijacked by people with extreme ideas,” he said, adding that the concept of a “just war” in Islam is provided for under specific grounds.
“If a person has no other alternative in life, what will they do? If they do not receive better job opportunities, a certainty of employment, they are trapped,” said Dr Ishtiaq, citing the case of Ahmad Tarmimi.
Jihad for Justice chairman Datuk Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim said while Malaysians often organise humanitarian missions to Palestine, it is less common to find Malaysians who fight there compared to Syria or Iraq.
Thasleem said it was ironic that Malaysians who join the war in Iraq and Syria think they would be martyrs when the fact is they are only getting killed in a civil war between two factions.
Ulama: Certain tactics employed are un-Islamic