IS threat: Experts warn of self-radicalised lone wolves

KUALA LUMPUR: With IS (Islamic State) finding new ways of reaching out through the Internet, experts are warning Malaysians of the threat of “self radicalised” lone wolves.

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

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

He referred to a chilling 21-minute video uploaded on social media on June 23, calling on Malaysians to join the “Philippines brotherhood” entrusted by IS to lead the “caliphates army”.

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

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 Udins 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 IS supporters.

Voicing similar concerns, geostrategist Prof Dr Azmi Hassan said IS propaganda was a “first class act” that could win peoples 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 IS, but said the linkup between the two was in any case very bad for Malaysia and the region. – Bernama

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