Malaysia has identified 72 of its nationals who have fled the country to join Daesh in Iraq and Syria and begun a “de-radicalization” program for those who return, according to an official Wednesday.
Nur Jazlan Mohamed, deputy home minister, told the parliament that of the 72 Malaysians — including 14 women — 15 fighters had died overseas while seven returned home.
“The government is currently undertaking a ‘de-radicalization’ program for the seven detainees to cure them of their ideology and to prevent them from spreading them further,” he said.
Those in custody are currently in various stages of prosecution under the Special Offenses Act.
Mohamed added that the government is also holding talks with various Islamic religious bodies in the country to formulate a logical program to explain “real Islamic values” to the detainees and potential Daesh fighters.
“We have done a study on those who have been detained and it shows that those who joined IS from here have very minimal Islamic education and understandings,” he said, using an alternative acronym for the terrorist Daesh group. “That is one challenge we face in educating them.”
Prime Minister Najib Razak had earlier also warned that Malaysia and the international community will not tolerate any form of violence and extremism committed in the name of Islam.
Razak stressed that the country “will never accept the ideology of Daesh to use Islam as a cover up to the brutality and murder that we are witnessing now”, underlining that the religion “had never preached sadistic brutality against innocent men, women and children.
By P Prem Kumar