KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — The federal police’s counter-terrorism division arrested seven foreigners and one Malaysian late last month on suspicion of planning to destabilise the local democracy and spreading religious extremism.
According to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Fuzi Harun, early investigations showed the suspects planned to instill views that trousers, tertiary education in non-religious institutions, and workplaces without gender segregation to all be haram or forbidden in Islam.
“Preliminary investigations by police and shared information with foreign intelligence agencies revealed that the foreigners have links to a madrasah in Dammaj, Yemen that was founded by Syeikh Muqbil Hadi Al Wadi’i, an extremist Salafi jihadist.
“The madrasah in Yemen is a stronghold of the Salafi jihadist ideology that permits the killing of non-Muslims as well as Muslims not aligned with them and consequently deemed unbelievers; it also labelled democracy as Thoghut (against Allah’s law),” he said in a statement.
Of the group arrested, the IGP said six foreigners — one from the Americas and five from Europe — were picked up from a religious centre in Perlis. One suspect is believed to have undergone weapons training in Yemen, but all are believed to be linked to the Islamic State group.
A Middle Easterner was also arrested in Kuala Lumpur, also at a religious centre where he is believed to have been spreading extremist ideology to Klang Valley residents.
The Malaysian was detained in Muar, Johor, where he worked as a trader. The suspect is an alumni of the religious school in Perlis where the six above were arrested.
All the arrests were made on September 24.
“This is not the first time foreign Salafi jihadist elements have used Malaysia as a launchpad to spread the ideology and recruit new members.
“The modus operandi was used by Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Bashir, leaders of the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist group to infiltrate Malaysia in 1985 and form Islamic centres in Negri Sembilan and Johor to spread the ideology,” Mohd Fuzi said.
The eight were arrested for terrorism-related offences under the Penal Code and being held with the invocation of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.