Malaysian militant posts video 'interviews' with recruits

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - If he was not training with militants to fight in Syria, Ahmad Salman Abdul Rahim could be a television host.

Malaysian media found a five-minute clip, purportedly of Ahmad Salman, conducting an "interview" with a recruit who could possibly be the youngest Malaysian in the movement.

"How old are you?" Ahmad Salman asks the youth, and gets a meek reply: "21."

"Twenty-one-years-old?" he shouts in disbelief, palming his face and scratching his neck.

"When I was taking my SPM, you were just born. We are proud that many Malaysians have joined," he says in Bahasa Malaysia. SPM is the equivalent of O-Level exams.

The camera then pans to his "co-host" former Parti Islam SeMalaysia leader Lotfi Ariffin who reads from his smartphone: "We have his friend on Facebook asking me 'Salam Ustaz, is my friend in Syria? His name is Fadhla Shahidi'. Has Fadhla arrived?"

At this, the giggly youth nods, grasping a rifle awkwardly and leans over to the smartphone.

The "hosts" then ask Fadhla to have a picture taken with his weapon to prove to his friends that he was part of the jihad. The youth obliges.

Lotfi is then asked to offer advice to the young man. "Here, the Arab's behaviour is not the same as us. We have to be patient with their behaviour," says Lotfi.

Ahmad Salman then talks about life as a militant in Syria. "We have no TV. Eat also we eat whatever. This is our entertainment, hanging out, sharing experiences and having religious activities." He goes on to joke about a new recruit having to 50 push-ups and pitching tents.

He asks Fadhla what food he has brought with him. "I brought ikan talang, ikan bilis," says Fadhla, in his east coast accent. Ahmad Salman then complains of having eaten only instant noodles for 40 nights.

The video, uploaded on Ahmad Salman's Facebook on May 16, is captioned "Episode 1". It has over 1,000 likes and over 900 shares.

Malaysian authorities are concerned that the conflict in Iraq and Syria has radicalised a new generation of militants who, they say, have been brainwashed to an unprecedented degree through the use of social media.

At least 30 Malaysians and 56 Indonesians have gone to fight in Syria, the authorities estimated.

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