Reasons for IS targeting Malaysia

FORBES REPORT

KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic State militants are targeting Malaysia because it is considered a moderate Muslim state and it has strongly condemned the IS.

A report in Forbes said there was fear that it was just the start of more attacks on Malaysians.

The first confirmed attack by IS on Malaysian soil was the June 28 grenade attack on the Movida entertainment outlet in Puchong. Eight people were injured.

Malaysian police have foiled other would-be violence, such as an attempt in March 2015 to attack two embassies in Kuala Lumpur.

The report said keen disputes over the extent of Islam in Malaysia could be a reason why IS was interested in Malaysia.

The report said Malaysia, with a majority Muslim population, was widely considered one of the more moderate nations.

Also, Malaysian officials have been among the world’s most vocal against IS, and Putrajaya backs US efforts against IS.

“Where Muslims are a majority, there’s an effort to make it more puritanical,” Oh Ei Sun, of Singapore Nanyang University was quoted as saying.

He said, easily swayed by religion, some of the poor could be turned into recruits for IS.

“Malaysia is naturally viewed as a thorn in IS’s worldview and ideology,” said Phuong Nguyen, associate fellow at the Southeast Asia Program of the US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.