On June 28,
Police later rounded up Mohd Saifuddin Muji and Jasanizam Rosni, two of those suspected of throwing the grenades, and said they were hunting for two more.
Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters later that the suspects had received orders from Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, who had joined ISIS in
Later, as the Malaysian police dragnet expanded, as many as 15 persons were taken into custody including two low-ranking police officers. So far, police say, they have rolled up as many as nine separate plots related to
“It’s the first,” said a Malay lawyer. “The next one will be worse.” But so far, police intelligence officials in
While the Malays involved in the incident were hardly successful, killing nobody, it puts the prosperous, moderate Southeast Asian country onto the scoreboard. Police in the Southeast region have been on heightened alert for the past two years, since it became evident that Muslims seduced by the idea of the caliphate, have left the region for
However, either because of logistical problems or a lack of appetite for violence,
” The fact that Southeast Asia is not yet on the radar of the core ISIS leadership, however, or that the number of Southeast Asians fighting under the ISIS standard pales in comparison with the number of Europeans or Australians, should not be grounds for complacency,” according to the Brookings paper. “ISIS will always struggle to gain considerable popularity in
The only earlier attack definitely traced to IS occurred Jan. 14 in
The main effect was that all four attackers died, as well as four civilians, including one foreigner, a Canadian. In the following days, the perpetrators were identified as Dian Juni Kurniadi, Ahmad Muhazan, Muhammad Ali and Sunakim alias Afif.
It was the first attack in
The attack itself was amateurish and the perpetrators must surely have planned for a far higher death toll than four civilians, especially given that hundreds of people were in the vicinity. They would particularly have hoped to kill multiple policemen and foreigners, their main targets.
Even if extremists were eventually able to attempt to create their own caliphate in southeast Asia, as some members of the criminal gang Abu Sayyaf have threatened in the Philippines, according to the Brookings paper its origins are more likely to stem from the fringes of society in southern Thailand, where a nativist insurrection has been cooking for decades, in rural Indonesia, where jihadist organizations such as Jemaah Islamiyah have functioned as well, or in Mindanao.
The real danger “is not that the black banner of ISIS will be raised the world over but that the appearance of ISIS would trigger dynamics among existing jihadist groups and personal networks within Indonesia, possibly joined by groups from the Philippines and Malaysia, that may well escalate into further violence.”
IS has called for jihadis across the region to regroup in
Although the Philippine congress has refused to ratify the far-reaching Bangsamoro agreement put together by outgoing President Benigno S. Aquino III, and it appears unlikely they will deliver it to the new president, Rodrigo Duterte, Duterte as mayor of Davao City was arguably more effective at engaging Muslims. This week, for the first time, he ordered Eid’l Fitr, the celebration at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, to be a national holiday. That is an important signal that this predominantly Catholic country recognizes the validity of Islam. At the same time, he has declared the eradication of Abu Sayyaf a major priority. Most Muslims are not likely to care.