500 Facebook accounts used to entice Malaysians to join ISIS: Police

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian police have identified more than 500 Facebook accounts that are being used to recruit or entice Malaysians to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Federal Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division principal assistant director Ayob Khan said that the profiles, which were still active at press time, belonged to Malaysians.

He said the accounts bore a message that painted ISIS as "peaceful under the rule of caliphate Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi" and some had bought into the propaganda.

"There is a Malaysian who warned his family that if they worked with the Government or stopped him from joining ISIS, he would return and would, if he had the chance, kill them," he revealed.

Despite numerous crackdowns and exposés by the authorities and media, there was still no sign that the number of recruitments were diminishing, added Senior Assistant Commander Ayob.

"In the first half of last year, we identified 30 Malaysians who went to Syria to join ISIS.

"The number rose to 61, which included a 14-year-old boy who went with his parents, by the end of the year.

"The tactic has changed, they are now recruiting the whole family. It is really worrying."

Datuk Ayob disclosed that the authorities had frozen the assets of 39 suspects and that of 18 groups linked to terrorism, including Jemaah Islamiah, under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act.

Mr Ayob said 44 vehicles belonging to them had been blacklisted and the police were in discussions with the Immigration Department to revoke the passports of anyone linked to a terror group.

A check by The Star showed that the Facebook page of a Malaysian man who was identified in the ISIS beheading video is no longer accessible.

It is unclear what happened to the account " Abu Hamzah Al Fateh", owned by Muhamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi, 25, from Durian Tunggal, Malacca.

The account could have been removed by Facebook or disabled by Wanndy himself.

Muhamad Wanndy, along with Mohd Faris Anuar, 20, from Gurun, Kedah, were identified in a 30-second video clip showing a man in a black-and-grey striped shirt sprawled on the ground with his head severed.

The video uploaded on Feb 22, believed to have been filmed by Mohd Faris Anuar, was uploaded onto the Abu Hamzah Al Fateh Facebook account, and was apparently meant as a "lesson" to spies who purportedly betrayed Islam.

Angry netizens have slammed the two Malaysian ISIS fighters, with some terming them a disgrace to Malaysia and mankind.

On Facebook, Tamid Imran denounced the act by Muhamad Wanndy and Mohd Faris Anuar as sheer stupidity.

"Man killed and they are so proud until they pose for a picture," he scoffed.

Others such as Mark David were furious that some individuals on Muhamad Wanndy's Facebook page openly supported the barbaric beheading of the Syrian man.

Anne Jan said she hoped the police were monitoring the "sickos" who are encouraging the spread of ISIS ideology here round the clock before more damage was caused to society.

"This not naughty or bad. This has entered the boundary of pure hardcore evil, these kids will never be the same again… they are broken," she added.

Loo Beng Siew hoped the two would never find their way back to Malaysia as they were a threat to national security.

To Masni Mustafa, it was "crazy" that a person could hurt another, and she wondered how ISIS managed to influence others to sacrifice the comforts of home to kill people in a foreign land.

"Are these people being drugged or brainwashed or are they so poor that they become paid soldiers? What drives these people to kill?" she asked.

Sheetal Ganeeson said: "Beheading and enjoying it means this guys are all sick, misled!"

Anthony George mourned the waste of life and expressed his pity for the slain.

"How will war or conflict end if everyday got new enrolment (into ISIS)?" he asked.

On Twitter, user @RiseTheLycans lambasted the two Malaysians for causing "such embarrassment to my fellow countrymen".

Fellow tweeter @FalisaAbuBakar expressed concern that because of the "stupid jokers", Malaysians would face strict visa applications instead of being free to travel.

"Which heaven are you chasing?" she asked.