29 October 2015
As Islamic State continues to grow as a global threat, Malaysia and Indonesia face the task of how to deal with their followers both domestically and regionally.
Since Islamic State (IS) proclaimed itself to be a worldwide caliphate on 29 June 2014, the group successfully presented itself to Malaysian and Indonesian Muslim audiences as a new, dynamic outfit that has promulgated an Islamic state that applies ‘Islamic law’ in full and in its purest form. According to Indonesia’s National Anti-Terrorism Agency’s (BNPT) data, more than 500 Indonesians are estimated to have left the country to join IS. In Malaysia, more than 100 suspects have been arrested since 2014 for being involved in extremist or terrorism- related activities.
Given the transnational nature of terrorist networks, the IS threat in both countries has an impact on each other. The BNPT’s chief recently warned of the imminent deployment of foreign terrorist fighters from Malaysia. In an interview, Saud Usman Nasution expressed his trepidation that IS was working with smugglers to bring foreign fighters into Indonesia. He noted how these terrorists come from Malaysia and are taken to Poso in central Sulawesi, a suspected IS training ground. Most worryingly however, he noted that: “There is information that in Malaysia there are thousands, a lot of foreign terrorist fighters there who are about to be deployed — we don’t know where to — under the IS network.”
… Adri Wanto is a Research Associate with the Indonesia Programme and Abdul Mateen Qadri is a Research Assistant with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015