KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 (Bernama) — Cyber warfare needs to be intensified in preventing the threats and destructive ideology of the Islamic State (IS) from spreading in this country.
Principal assistant director of the Counter Terrorism Division of the Special Branch in Bukit Aman, SAC Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin Pitchay said a holistic approach was required with the cooperation of all the relevant government agencies, including the religious authorities.
“For example, a website should be set up, operating actively at all times, to answer all questions from the public on the Islamic aspects with regard to the IS militant group,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview, here, today.
“The move (setting up the website) will enable people to get the facts right at any time, via online.”
Ayub Khan said the religious authorities too could play an important role by correcting any misunderstanding of jihad and related issues.
He noted the good example set by a neighbouring country which had been playing an active role through its websites, exposing the aberrant IS ideology.
“It has also been going to the ground to distribute leaflets in English, Tamil and Mandarin on the IS bluff and not just giving public lectures via television and sermons.
“The time has come for such engagement, including with the media to educate the public on the true meaning of jihad…this problem (influence of the IS ideology) does not only exist in Malaysia but has spread to other parts of the world too,” he said.
Ayub Khan said the strength of the IS media lay in their mastery of using the social websites with thousands of efficient and fast-working cyber troopers to rebut the statements made by their detractors on the IS’ wrong interpretation of the Quran and Hadith.
Among the IS group’s justification is to legalise sexual intercourse with prisoners of war and allowing sexual intercourse with underage girls who have not reached puberty,” he said.
Ayub Khan was commenting on the threats posed by the IS group and the spread of its ideology in Malaysia, including via social media as they are also persuading school students to join them, which is very alarming.
Last Wednesday, police arrested a 14-year-old female student as she was about to fly off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to join the IS militant group in Syria.
The girl, who is from Muar, Johor and a student at a tahfiz school in Shah Alam, had wanted to travel to Syria via Egypt, and police believe she has a friend or contact in Egypt.
Ayub Khan said from the monitoring carried out, police found there were still Malaysians who believed in the IS deviant ideology and keen to join the militant group in Syria despite the arrests made on individuals in preventing their departure.
He said the main issue was the IS threat and the spread of its ideology and aggressive recruiting of followers through the social media.
Jihad is an Islamic term referring to the religious duty of Muslims, and it also means struggle or resisting, while the IS is a radical Islamist group that has seized large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq.
The IS is hinged on the Salafi-Jihadi ideology which promotes Daulah Islamiah through waging wars and declaring as “infidels” Islamic governments that do not uphold Syariah laws.
It has received severe criticism from other Muslims. In August last year, Saudi Arabia’s top religious cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, condemned IS, saying:
“Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilisation, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims.”
In Malaysia, in the government’s commitment to fighting the IS threat, Parliament had on last Nov 26, approved a White Paper tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pertaining to combating the IS threat.