Telegram is latest messaging app used by ISIS to recruit Malaysians

Telegram instant messaging service is the latest medium used by ISIS to disseminate its ideology and recruit Malaysians.
Telegram instant messaging service is the latest medium used by ISIS to disseminate its ideology and recruit Malaysians. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KEMAMAN, Terengganu - Malaysian police said the Telegram instant messaging service is the latest medium used by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to disseminate its ideology and recruit Malaysians.

Telegram is among 14 social applications used by the militant group to connect with the public before recruiting them and arranging their trips to Syria, Bernama news agency reported.

"Prior to this, they used Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and others to influence people to join them. The social media is their main media for this activity,'' the agency said, citing Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division's senior assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.

"Since the middle of last year, however, we found them shifting to Telegram to avoid detection," he told reporters on Monday (Oct 17) after attending a seminar in Kemaman district.

Mr Ayob Khan said ISIS used Telegram because it was difficult to detect, and via WhatsApp, they used different groups to communicate.

The militants were still actively recruiting Malaysians to join them, based on movement records to Syria which were detected in August and last month, he said.

"It is difficult for them to sneak into the country but they are still seeking ways and means to recruit Malaysians to infiltrate into Syria," he added.

The militant group also used premises such as hotels to meet its members to plan their terrorist activities, adding that one such hotel meet-up was in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur in April.

Bernama quoted Mr Ayob Khan as saying that the counter-terrorism division has so far discovered that 15 soldiers, three policemen and an auxiliary policeman have joined ISIS.

Security personnel were targeted by ISIS because they had the skills required and access to firearms and explosives, he added.