Warped road to Damascus

Warped road to Damascus

Since April 2014, the local media has carried numerous stories of Malaysians who are directly or indirectly linked to terrorist groups operating in Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iraq.

We are told that they see themselves as "jihadis" who are fighting for an Islamic cause.

There are also unconfirmed reports that some of them have been killed in the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Police intelligence appears to have mined a lot of information about the activities of these individuals and groups. Their local training hideouts have been revealed and their regional and international links exposed. This has enabled the police to make several arrests.

Eliminating Muslim terrorist networks of this sort will not be a walk in the park.

The police, and indeed the majority of the Malaysian populace, share the same faith as the individuals associated with these terrorist operations.

A lot of Malaysian Muslims may also harbour some of the misconceptions and prejudices which impelled some of these jihadis to take the road to Damascus.

What would have motivated them to tread this perilous path?

What would have persuaded thousands of Muslims from some 80 countries - according to a certain estimate - to join the armed rebels against the Bashar Al-Assad government in Syria?

Why are they so determined to topple Bashar?

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