Retired teacher linked to ISIS nabbed in Kelantan

A 64-year-old supporter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was arrested in Malaysia earlier this month as part of efforts by the Malaysian police to counter militancy.

The man, a retired teacher, was nabbed in Kampung Tepus, Bachok, in Kelantan, on Aug 11, eight days before the SEA Games kicked off in Kuala Lumpur.

Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told The Straits Times yesterday the man had been actively promoting the "salafi jihadi" ideology on his Facebook account prior to the arrest.

Salafi jihadists emphasise the importance of returning to a "pure" Islam as practised by their forefathers. Salaf means ancestors in Arabic.

The retired teacher posted comments such as "the fight by ISIS is true" and "ISIS fighters are salafi jihadists".

In another posting, he said those who are against the terror group should be beheaded or shot in the head, adding there should be "no forgiveness".

  • 250+

  • Number of people Malaysia has arrested between 2013 and 2016 for suspected militant activity linked to ISIS.

Datuk Ayob said: "There are still a lot of people, religious individuals and a small group of educators from the public and private institutions who are still active in promoting the salafi jihadi ideology. It is an ideology that the ISIS holds very closely.

"Until the dissemination of this ideology is curbed, ISIS threats will be difficult to deal with."

The retired teacher will be charged at the Sessions Court here today for supporting ISIS and posting images related to the terror group on his Facebook account. He used to teach at a primary school in Tumpat in the north-eastern state of Kelantan.

To date, Malaysia has arrested more than 250 people between 2013 and last year for suspected militant activity linked to ISIS.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline 'Retired teacher linked to ISIS nabbed in Kelantan'. Print Edition | Subscribe