Malaysia monitoring 2 deviant Muslim groups for militant activity: Home Minister

KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/Asia News Network) - Two deviant Muslim religious groups with militant elements are on the police radar to determine the level of security threat they pose, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Thursday (March 24).

"The police succeeded in detecting eight groups with deviant teachings that have militant elements," Datuk Seri Zahid said in a written reply to a question by Tan Sri Annuar Musa (BN-Ketereh) in parliament.

"Of this, action has been taken against six groups with two others being closely monitored," he added.

He added that police were working closely with the federal and state Islamic religious authorities, local council authorities, the Malaysian Multimedia and Communications Commission and Registrar of Societies to keep a close watch on such groups.

He said the groups would initially carry out religious and spiritual activities to gain support and loyalty of followers before indoctrinating them with deviant teachings.

"The groups preach jihad (crusade) and syahid (martydom) and indoctrinate concepts that are deviant.

"For example, attacking and destroying places of worship of other religions, claiming that they are Allah's army and even legitimising the murder of fellow Muslims," he added.

Mr Zahid said it was the respective state Islamic religious authorities and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) that determine if a teaching was deviant.

"The role of the police is merely to monitor the groups and assess the level of threat they pose to national security and public order," he added.

He said action under the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act would be taken against any groups if there was proof  they were involved in militant activities and took up arms.