As the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues its reign of violence, officials in Southeast Asia express growing concern about the threat of terrorism in Indonesia and Malaysia.
ISIS has outlined a 5 year plan for world dominance, attempting to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Western Asia.
Yesterday, seven suspected militants loyal to ISIS were arrested in Malaysia after buying bomb-making material and plotting to attack a Carlsberg brewery, according to a top Malaysian anti-terrorism official.
The plan, which the official said was at a "discussion" stage, would be the first time militants inspired by the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) sought to launch a major attack in Southeast Asia.
According to Sooyoung Kim of International Christian Concern (ICC), ISIS has had influence in Indonesia and Malaysia since 2013, and many citizens of those regions have expressed fervor for the terrorist group's plight in recent months.
"Some Malaysians who may have been in contact with some of these people get motivated to participate," Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told Reuters in June. "We have been arresting a lot of militants within the country."
Earlier this year 1,000 ISIS supporters organized a "mass initiation" ceremony in Solo Baru, Indonesia. In response, at least 20 Malaysians and up to 500 Indonesians are estimated by security officials to have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq.
At the time, National Police spokesperson Boy Rafli Amar said: "They [Indonesian radicals] have not reached a point where they are carrying out violent activities like the ISIS group in Iraq and Syria. But it could potentially lead to those activities. That's why more serious measures are needed to prevent radical thoughts from turning into terrorist activities".
Because funding or joining jihads within the Indonesia is not illegal, ISIS openly recruits and makes propaganda material easily accessible, placing literature in mosques and other public areas, Kim reports.
ISIS also uses social media to recruit young men; earlier this year, a video entitled 'Join the Ranks' was uploaded onto YouTube. In the video, a senior militant figure named Abu Muhammad al-Indonesia, who is suspected to be the Indonesian ring leader of the IS, urged locals to partake in the Jihad fulfilling their "obligation ordered by Allah and Mohammad." Despite the government's attempts to pull down the video, it continues to resurface.
However, following yesterday's events, authorities in Southeast Asia are reportedly closely monitoring ISIS activity within Indonesia and Malaysia and have denounced the group's violent ideology.
"The government rejects and bans the teachings of ISIS ... from growing in Indonesia," Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said. "It is not in line with state ideology, Pancasila, or the philosophy of kebhinekaan [diversity] under the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia."
Indonesia has the highest per capita Muslim population in the world at 88%. In Malaysia, 64.5% of citizens practice the religion.