Islamic State recruiter targeted local schoolboy, police say

An image from the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 11, 2014 allegedly shows a militant of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq waving the Islamic Jihad flag. — AFP pic
An image from the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 11, 2014 allegedly shows a militant of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq waving the Islamic Jihad flag. — AFP pic

PETALING JAYA, Oct 14 — In a shocking revelation, police confirmed a 14-year-old boy has been targeted by recruiters to fight alongside militants in Syria.

Bukit Aman’s special branch counter terrorism division said the student was being brainwashed by a Malaysian recruiter in Syria, via social networking site Facebook, to join the Islamic State (IS).

Its principal assistant director SAC Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said: “We found that among those targeted by the recruiter was a Form Two student.

“The recruiter was communicating with this boy through Facebook, coaxing him to join IS in the war-torn country (Syria).”

He said several other teenagers are also being lured to fight Syrian authorities there.

The recruitment drive for all the youths were operated via Facebook. The same method is also used to lure college and university students from Malaysia.

Ayob, however, remained tight-lipped over the boy and his location as well as the extent of the investigation.

“He is an SMK (national secondary school) student,” he said, without wanting to talk further.

Ayob said teenagers were targeted as they were easily misled and manipulated and the recruiter would use and misinterpret Quranic verses to legitimise the objective of fighting against the authorities in Syria.

“The trend to recruit youngsters via Facebook is worrying,” he said.

This comes barely a day after police revealed a former Kolej Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Selangor student had left for Syria on October 4 to join IS.

Syamimi Faiqah, 20, was apparently lured to Syria through Facebook.

Police believe Syamimi was based at the Turkey-Syria border.

Ayub said investigations revealed an individual waited for her at the Istanbul Airport to take her to the border.

“From there, she will be transferred from one location to another until she reaches her destination,” he said. 

Religious authorities need to step up and take proactive measures to ward off such propaganda.

A source said militants have the tendency of targeting youths to serve as its foot soldiers or sex slaves.

“In Australia, there was a case where a 12-year-old boy had followed his father to join IS. The boy would then spread the teaching to others during his growing years.”

To date, 22 Malaysians, including three women, are involved with militant groups in Syria while 23 others had been detained in Malaysia for alleged links with militant activities.

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