Muhammad Aqif Heusen Rahizat, 25, known as Abu Sufyan Malayzi within Isis, appeared in a propaganda video along with Singaporean member, Abu Akil Al Singapuri, calling on sympathisers to strike at home if they could not reach Isis in Syria or Iraq.
“Allah has ordered you to launch jihad in your own country. If you face obstacles to hijrah [travel] to the land of Iraq and Sham [Syria], then Allah has opened to all of you the land of jihad in your own country,” Aqif said.
The Malaysian security services said Aqif convinced his elder brother Muhammad Afiq Heusen to join him in Syria along with Ummi Kalsom Bahak, who was arrested while trying to fly out of Kuala Lumpur on October 2014.
“You have no reason [to claim] you are left out from defending your religion.”
The Malaysian authorities have taken the threats seriously and had reportedly stepped up intelligence gathering and were on high alert to deal with any security challenges.
A total of 53 Malaysians are estimated by the authorities to still be in Syria, including 12 women.
In the video Abu Akil calls on Muslims to slay the enemies of Allah wherever they find them.
They then shoot three figures in red uniforms whom they claimed were “enemies” of Islam.
The video, intelligence sources told the Malaysian media, showed that Muhammad Aqif was still active with Isis despite the heavy losses suffered by the group in Syria and Iraq.
“The call of false jihad in the video is a big threat to Malaysia’s security as it might influence IS supporters in Malaysia to launch attacks,” a source reportedly said.
Isis remained the biggest terror threat for Malaysia this year, despite its West Asian losses, because it continued to attract recruits, said Malaysian counter-terrorism boss Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.
The police said the number of terror suspects arrested in Malaysia last year declined to 105 from 119 in 2016, while claiming to have prevented five attacks during the 2017.
“I rank Islamic State as the number-one threat as its ideology has spread all over the world. Even though they no longer have any territories, they still receive strong support and have many sympathisers,” Ayob, head of Special Branch’s counter-terror squad, told the media.
“The reason for [recruitment] is due to IS’s powerful propaganda … their fight for an Islamic caliphate which is said to be the true practice of Islam attracts the interest of Muslims all over the world to … support their struggle,” Ayob said.
The Malaysian armed forces are braced for attacks. Picture credit: Wikimedia