White Paper: IS threatens to reinvigorate local militant groups

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The Islamic State (IS) is a threat to Malaysia and Southeast Asia because its philosophies could revitalise militant groups in the region, the White Paper on terrorism, tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday, said.

"The ideology of IS is not a new phenomena. It has been championed by Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the southern Philippines. The emergence of IS could reinvigorate the spirit and activities of these local groups that have been, thus far contained by the authorities in the affected nations," the Paper said.

The 19-page White Paper, with a 12-page appendix, including photographs of IS militants and locations, added that local militant groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah, Mujahidin Indonesia Timur, Tawheed Wal Jihad and the Abu Sayyaf Group, among others, had sent militants to support IS efforts.

"Malaysia is faced with the same threat, as the Salafi-Jihadi philosophy has been championed by militant groups, including Al-Maunah, Darul Islam Sabah and Tanzim Al-Qaeda Malaysia. The increasing influence of IS could revive the activities of these groups within Malaysia and spark fear and worry among Muslims and non-Muslims," said the Paper.

The Paper added that IS had influenced violence outside the current conflict zones in Syria and Iraq, citing as examples the May 24 shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium by Sharia4Belgium member Mehdi Nemmouche which saw four civilians killed, and the Sept 24 stabbing of two Australian counter-terror police officers in Melbourne by suspected IS supporter Abdul Numan Haider.

"The call by IS leader al-Adnani urges all Muslims who cannot fight in Syria to launch attacks on Western interests, specifically those of the United States, Australia, Canada and France as a reaction to their air strikes conducted in their participation within the US led coalition. This means that IS supporters could attack interests of these nations in Malaysia," the Paper added.

It further stated that IS was also a threat to Malaysia because it opposed all other governments, even those of Muslim-majority nations.

"IS rejects the systems of government practised by other Muslim-majority nations that do not practice Syariah law as they do, considering such governments to be deviants. The IS system of government is intolerant of anyone in opposition to them, especially non-Muslims," said the White Paper.