Terrorism threat from Islamic State ‘lone wolves’

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KUALA LUMPUR: Experts are warning Malaysians of the threat of terrorism by “self radicalised” lone wolves because of the influence of Daesh (the Islamic State terrorist network) in finding new ways of reaching out through the Internet.

The experts note that Malaysian IS members are asking their countrymen to fight alongside Daesh in the wake of the terrorist group’s “recognition” of the southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf as part of the Islamic State “caliphate”.

Dr Maszlee Malik, a political analyst at the International Islamic University Malaysia, said Daesh was now encouraging its supporters to carry out their own “jihad” in their country without any need for organisation.

He said a 21-minute video posted online on June 23 calls on Malaysians to join the “Philippines’ brotherhood” entrusted by IS to lead the “caliphate’s army”.

Featured in the video was Malaysian Mohd Rafi Udin, also known as Abu Aun al-Malysi, who said that sympathisers should launch their own ‘jihad’ on Malaysian soil, using whatever means at their disposal, if they could not go to Mindanao

Mohd Rafi said those who had sworn an oath of allegiance to the ‘caliphate’, even if it was only in their heart, should kill all who were against them, wherever they found them, using any means at hand.

“You have a car, knock them down. You have a weapon or a knife, even a small one, stab them in the chest. Do not be afraid,” he said.

What was clear from the video, said Maszlee, was that IS was encouraging a new method of destruction – the lone wolf attack.

“Lone wolf attacks involve self radicalised individuals who are IS sympathisers. They can launch their own attack and consider it a ‘jihad’.

“This was what happened in Puchong. Rafi Udin’s call was a clear indication that he was giving orders to lone wolves. It was not an organised, well planned attack. A few sympathisers answered the call to launch their own attack,” he said.

On June 28, eight people were injured after a hand grenade exploded at an entertainment centre in Puchong. Police later confirmed that the blast was the work of two Daesh supporters.

Voicing similar concerns, geostrategist Prof Dr Azmi Hassan said IS propaganda was a “first class act” that could win people’s sympathy for the group.

According to Azmi, Abu Sayyaf’s oath of allegiance to Daesh would make it easier for sympathisers to join IS.

“Instead of travelling to Syria or Iraq, they can now go to the southern Philippines and fight alongside Abu Sayyaf. This is a direct pressure on our country because radicalisation could happen among Malaysians,” he said.

Azmi said the alliance could also mean that Abu Sayyaf would be receiving assistance in terms of money and expertise from IS.

He did not know whether Abu Sayyaf had already received aid from Daesh, but said the linkup between the two was in any case very bad for Malaysia and the region.