Seminar: The Nature of the IS Threat to Malaysia
About the Seminar
Since independence in 1957, Malaysia has confronted various forms of security threats that emanated from local, regional and international sources. The latest is the emergent “Islamic State” (IS) group and its affiliates. Since mid-2013, the Malaysian police have arrested 197 (as of June 2016) individuals suspected of having ties with IS elements locally and abroad. IS-affiliates such as Revo Group had recruited many Malaysians regardless of age, gender, educational background and social status to advocate their ideology. There are also numerous secretive cells distributed throughout the peninsula attempting to solicit funds and indoctrinate, recruit and send converts to the conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. In May 2016, two Malaysians appeared in an IS video burning their passports and vowing to return home to overthrow the government of Malaysia. In June, one Malaysian appeared again in an IS-produced video declaring war against the Malaysian police and the “taghut” regime. These events show that the IS threat is not diminishing despite the fact that the group is losing ground in Syria and Iraq.
This seminar attempts to address the following questions: How do IS elements infiltrate and develop in Malaysia? What propaganda and narratives do they use? Why are some Malaysians attracted to IS narratives? And how is Malaysia dealing with the increasing threats from IS?
About the Speaker
Ahmad El-Muhammady was born in Kelantan. After receiving a madrasah education there, he went on to gain his B.A. (2004) and M.A. (2010) in Political Science from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Currently, he is a lecturer in political science and Islamic studies at the Department of Human Sciences, IIUM while working on a doctorate at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, Kuala Lumpur. His research is on extremist ideology and terrorism in Malaysia.
In 2011, Mr Ahmad was appointed a panelist in the Royal Malaysia Police’s Special Rehabilitation Programme for militant detainees. He has been a regular public speaker on the issue of militancy and terrorism in Malaysia, to government agencies, civil society groups and the law enforcement and intelligence community. In 2013, he was appointed committee member to the Malaysian Institute for Research in Youth Development (IYRES) a think tank of Malaysia’s Ministry of Youth and Sport.
In August 2015, he testified in Kuala Lumpur High Court as an expert witness in terrorism cases involving members of Tanzim al-Qaeda Malaysia. He was also a consultant to the 4th Project PACIFIC Operational Working Group Meeting under the INTERPOL South East Asia Foreign Fighters Project in 2015. Mr Ahmad writes regularly for Malaysian newspapers and is interviewed in the mass media.