PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Islamic State (IS) recruiters are targeting young Malaysians and schoolchildren especially girls via social media to fight or provide "domestic services" in Syria and Iraq.
Bukit Aman's Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division's principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan said young girls were being increasingly lured to join militant groups as they were more vulnerable to influence.
"The militants have been found trying to entice those aged between 14 and 30, using well-scripted texts on why 'jihad' (martyrdom) is an obligation in Islam,"
"As such, even school students have shown interest in joining IS," SAC Ayob told The Star.
He said the process to recruit the young usually took about three months, adding that the youngest target for the militants so far has been a 14-year-old boy.
SAC Ayob said social media had now become the main tool to recruit members with militant Akel Zainal, a former musician, among those trying to entice more young Malaysians to fight with him in Syria.
"It is disturbing that Akel has 15,000 followers on Facebook while former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Mohd Lotfi Ariffin who was killed recently, had close to 30,000 followers," he said.
"We fear that the influence of such people can be far reaching."
SAC Ayob said three groups in Syria - the IS, Jabhat Al-Nusra and Ajnad Al-Sham were involved in trying to recruit young Malaysians.
He said 23 Malaysians had been detained since April 28 for militant-related activities and that the latest person arrested was a woman planning to leave the country to marry a Malaysian fighter in Syria.
He also confirmed that former college student Syamimi Faiqah boarded a Turkey-bound flight from KL International Airport on Oct 4, enroute to Syria.
He said some recruits used their own money to go to Syria while others sold their properties to fund the trip. Female recruits are mostly funded by the militants and given safe passage into the country.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has urged anyone with information to contact the nearest police station or division at 03-2266 7010 or 011-2104 6850 or e-mail the police at CTD.E8M@gmail.com.