Johor police chief: 17 reports lodged against hardline Islamist movement Hizbut Tahrir

Ayob Khan reminded HTM followers that police are monitoring their activities. — Picture courtesy of the Johor Police
Ayob Khan reminded HTM followers that police are monitoring their activities. — Picture courtesy of the Johor Police

JOHOR BARU, Oct 1 — The Johor police have initiated investigations against hardline Islamic movement Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) after receiving 17 reports on claims that its ideology was in conflict with the Sunni denomination that is practiced in the country.

Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said investigation papers have been opened and a detailed probe will be carried out against the group that has allegedly labeled the government as infidels.

He said police are currently investigating HTM under Section 298 and Section 505 of the Penal Code, as well as Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Ayob Khan also reminded HTM followers that police are monitoring their activities.

“So far, the Hizbut Tahrir members in the country have not been arrested for causing any problems yet.

“But if they cross the line of security, we will take immediate action and arrest them under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma),” Ayob Khan said during a press conference at Johor police headquarters here today.

He was responding to questions on the status HTM in Johor and its claim of being maligned by the state’s Islamic religious authorities over a religious edict (fatwa) as the movement is seen to be deviant and extremist.

Ayob Khan, who was the former Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) principal assistant director, explained that Hizbut Tahrir has been in Malaysia for some time and is a worldwide movement with international chapters.

He said five states, namely Johor, the Federal Territories, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Sabah have declared HTM’s ideology to be in conflict with the teachings of the Sunni denomination.

“Hizbut Tahrir is also banned in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Syria and Jordan,” said Ayob Khan.

He revealed that HTM members in the country were made out of academics, lecturers and also businessmen.

“In Johor, our investigations found that the movement now has 80 active members throughout the state.

“HTM started to operate in Johor since September 2005 with their operational base at a house in Skudai,” said Ayob Khan.

The house in question is believed to be a meeting place for Johor HTM members called the Khalifah Centre.

Yesterday, Johor Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Tosrin Jarvanthi said the state government would not tolerate HTM’s ideology as it had been declared to be in conflict with the practiced Sunni denomination since October 10 last year.

Hizbut Tahrir is a global Islamic group seeking to recreate a caliphate worldwide.

Despite the fatwas and strong sentiment against it by Malaysia’s religious authorities, the movement is still holding out for a peaceful resolution.

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