PUTRAJAYA, Jan 6 — The international community must work together to eliminate recruitment source of terror groups such as Islamic State (IS) who were quick to take advantage of ethnic and religious conflicts, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said today.
Speaking in a panel at the Putrajaya International Security Dialogue 2018 at the Marriott Hotel here, the deputy home minister said conflicts such as the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar is of particular concern.
“Take for example the oppression and injustice committed against the Rohingyas, we fear that this will create an opportunity for organisations like IS to infiltrate and hijack their struggle, it would be better for us to work together and find a political solution before it evolves into religious strife,” Nur Jazlan said.
He said terror groups had at times effectively exploited conflicts and indeed some attacks were specifically designed to cause discord between communities.
“This why we see terror organisations purposely commit acts of terror specifically designed to create discord between communities including attacks on mosques and churches to targeted assassinations of community leaders, the goal is to create friction amongst communities,” he said.
Nur Jazlan also said the internet, which has proven to be a major medium of recruitment and that every effort needed to be taken to identify extremists using it and to remove propaganda and literature use to draw vulnerable individuals to their cause.
He said the present reality was one where conflict in one part of the world could lead to attacks thousands of miles away in the name of groups active in the conflict zone such as the 2016 Movida Club grenade attack in Puchong, and the Battle of Marawi in the Philippines with both claimed by the IS.
“The internet, which has created a borderless world and has benefitted communities across the globe, the same technology has also been abused by terrorists.
“Malaysia has initiated the Counter Messaging Centre under the purview of Royal Malaysia Police to monitor the use of internet and social media by terror groups to disseminate their radical ideology as well as to counter their narrative,” he said.
He added that for a war for the hearts and minds of those who were vulnerable, it is critical to present a counter narrative that would appeal to the target group.
“IS continues to recruit new members across the globe, mostly targeting the disfranchised by offering a form of escapism by tainting these young minds with their twisted world view and perverse ideology coupled the promise of a higher purpose in life.
“Our counter narrative should be made attractive, relatable and relevant to the younger generation. It needs to be as creative, if not better than the likes of IS in order to counter their propaganda,” he said.
Nur Jazlan asserted that Malaysia had been hugely effective in the fight against terrorism but that a greater emphasis needed to be placed on rehabilitation efforts as these would be key to victory in the long run.
“Between 2013 and 2017 over 369 suspected IS militants, including 87 foreigners, has been arrested and up to 19 terror plots disrupted.
“As nations invests and allocate a huge part of their budget to direct operational anti-terrorism purposes, they must also invest in programmes related to rehabilitation,” he said.