KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Counter-terrorism think-tank Iman Research today said that the police should re-examine if the two ethnic Rohingya, who were arrested for planning attacks on temples and churches to avenge the death of firemen Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, are really involved in the case.
In a statement today, Iman Research said the Rohingya community in Malaysia are more concerned with their own grievances and struggles living as refugees and are unlikely to be entangled in local issues.
Two Rohingyas aged 20 and 25, one with a United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) tag, were picked up in Kuala Lumpur and Old Klang Road, in a Bukit Aman counter-terrorism operation between May 5 and 7 where two others — a Malaysian and an Indonesian — were also arrested.
The police had said that all four men were planning terror attacks and assassinations in Malaysia during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Iman Research, however, rebuked this claim stating that it has had many encounters with the Rohingya people, and that the community is small and vulnerable to exploitation by terror groups like Islamic State (IS) who want to recruit its people to establish a base Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
“Our findings indicate that it is uncharacteristic of them to become entangled in local issues. Therefore, it is unlikely that the two captured Rohingyas were trying to avenge Muhammad Adib’s death.
“Similarly, Muhammad Adib’s death does not appear to fit in with the larger IS narrative of seeking to establish an Islamic State. As such, IMAN feels that the connection between the foiled attacks and the tragedy of Muhammad Adib’s death needs to be re-examined.
Iman Research urged better understanding between the authorities and the refugee community to comprehend the relationship between refugees and violent extremist groups.
The research outfit said current issues in Malaysia can be manipulated by local hardliners and extremists to garner sympathy and amass a blind following among disenfranchised communities.
It urged everyone to be mindful that incidents with racial overtones such as Adib’s case can be manipulated by extremists to incite hatred among different communities.
“Therefore, we call on all stakeholders to work together in finding ways to engage further with the Rohingya and other fringe communities in this country.
“Although Malaysia is not a part of the international convention for refugees, it has an important role to play in curbing the exploitation of refugees by terror groups to serve their own agendas,” it said.