Be mindful of IS manipulation, Umno & PAS reminded

Be mindful of IS manipulation, Umno & PAS reminded

PUCHONG: Political parties such as PAS, Umno and NGOs such as Ummah have been told to be more mindful as to prevent their statements and activities from being manipulated by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (IS).

“All political parties and NGOs should be careful as their expressions and activities could be exploited and manipulated by Islamic State to attack non-Muslim places of worship,” said security studies professor Rohan Gunaratna of S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Nanyang Technology University.

“Adib’s death was a rallying point for opposition parties Umno and PAS in a recent rally co-organised by Muslim NGOs,” added Gunaratna who recently co-authored The Three Pillars of Radicalization: Needs, Narratives, and Networks.

He said this in response to the arrest of several IS operatives who were plotting a terror attack.

On Monday, Bukit Aman announced the arrest of four individuals: two Rohingyas, one Indonesian, and a local suspected to be Islamic State operatives. 

Police are also on the lookout for another three suspects: two local youths from Bedong in Kedah and one Indonesian.

Initial investigations revealed that they were motivated to launch attacks on non-Muslim places of worship assassination plots in a bid to avenge the death the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.

Two patterns appear to be emerging. First is the use of Adib’s death as a reason to trigger a terrorist attack. 

The death of Adib was used as fodder by predominant Malay Muslim based parties to rally support: – Umno and PAS.

This was also reflected in the Himpunan Pertahan Kedaulatan Islam rally that was held on May 4.

Rohan also told The Leaders Online that Islamic State’s operating model is to work with likeminded groups, networks, cells and personalities.

“By collaborating with such entities, IS provides resources to plan, prepare and execute attacks. The support ranges from guidance on targets to the attack methodologies,” he said.

Second, is the involvement of a Rohingya Muslim. 

The involvement is significant as IS was not able to penetrate and champion the cause of the Rohingya community who have been denied their rights as citizens of Myanmar previously.

On the involvement of the Rohingya Muslim, Gunaratna said that IS is building its support base within the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

“IS has a presence in Bangladesh, the gateway to Myanmar. ARSA is operating in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Some ARSA members support IS including those in Myanmar.

“IS co-opted an IS supporter in ARSA to participate in the attack to hit a Buddhist temple in Malaysia.”

By: K Pragalath

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