On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Evil incarnate

Islamic State militants have carried out their massacres in the name of Islam but all of us know that this is not Islam.

PURE evil is the best description of the Islamic State militants, who previously called themselves followers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Their slaughter of fellow Muslims, Christians and minorities as well as the destruction of mosques and churches surely cannot be based on what any religion would teach.

They have carried out their massacres in the name of Islam but all of us know that this is not Islam.

The militants have taken on an organised approach to attract Muslim support using their self-proclaimed status as a caliphate to have religious authority over all Muslims in the world.

There are a handful of misguided Malaysians, along with hundreds of foreigners, who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State or groups linked to it.

And our Malaysian militants openly boast of their adventures on social media with regular updates. Such public display of their links with terrorism is unprecedented. In the past, these terrorists would prefer to remain shadowy and away from the attention of the police.

On social media, these militants also have their admirers and it is a cause of concern that some Malaysian sites, in Bahasa Malaysia, openly support these radicals with claims that their actions are consistent with religious requirements.

Let’s face it – these militants in the Islamic State are no heroes. We should speak up against these militants who are carrying out horrible actions. They have gone beyond extremism – to the point of evil.

Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker is reported as saying “we don’t understand real evil, organised evil, very well. This is evil incarnate.”

Even the al-Qaeda group has distanced itself from Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi whom they felt has carried his actions to an intolerable point.

Posting videos of beheading, torture and mass killings on a regular basis has become a routine for the group, with the intention of shocking people around the world who watched these sickening video clips.

The US toppled Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, thinking they were evil, but now they would probably be regarded as leaders who maintained stability in the region. They might almost be deemed angelic when compared to these dangerous maniacs who are wreaking havoc in the region.

Even Syria dictator Bashar al-Assad could well be needed by the US and end up on the same side. How ironic and complex the political situation there is.

But nearer to home, we find that we have not heard loud condemnation of these militants from our Muslim leaders.

The police are the ones who have spoken out strongly against these militants as they carry out operations against Malaysians linked to the radicals. Our Special Branch must be credited for their continuous action against such terrorists.

The point is this – it is not about a group of Malaysians trying to be jihadists in Syria or Iraq. If they want to be suicide bombers, it’s their choice but we should be worried about such like-minded people wanting to carry out similar actions in Malaysia.

It has been reported that these Malaysian radicals had been training their sights on targets in Malaysia, including planning attacks against a disco, pubs in Kuala Lumpur and a brewery in Shah Alam, according to Bukit Aman’s counter-¬≠terrorism division senior official Datuk Ayub Khan.

“During questioning, they (the suspects) admitted that one of their main objectives was to attack the government,” Ayub was quoted as saying.

Police here have rounded up at least 19 people suspected of having links with the jihadist group in the last seven months but, according to Ayub, the “real numbers” of those involved are likely higher.

Some 30 Malaysians have reportedly left home to join the fight in Syria this year, putting the spotlight on growing extremism in a country that regularly touts its ­moderate image.

In the 1990s, the Kumpulan Militan Malaysia emerged, whose aim was to set up an Islamic state regionally, and their targets included a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and the same brewery in Shah Alam.

No Malaysian should be inspired by the actions of the Islamic State movement as no one in his right mind can sanction their evil acts as religious in nature.

They are a threat to the world and certainly Malaysia too if we do not condemn them. Keeping silent is certainly not an option.