Brunei on guard against spread of ISIS doctrine

National 1 minute, 42 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI is on guard against militant threats amid growing fears of ISIS encroachment in the region, following the launch of the terror group’s Malay-language newspaper.

Police Commissioner Dato Paduka Seri Hj Mohd Jammy Hj Muhd Al Islam said security agencies in Brunei are currently working together with neighbouring countries to monitor the situation closely in response to publication of ISIS propaganda targeting Muslims in Southeast Asia.

“This phenomenon is very worrying... We don’t want it to spread,” he told The Brunei Times in a recent interview.

ISIS published the first edition of its Malay-language newspaper called Al Fatihin on June 20 in an attempt to expand its foothold in the region. The publication is reportedly being distributed in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Security experts view the launch of Al Fatihin, which is available in print and online, as a strategic move to appeal to a larger Malay-speaking audience.

The 20-page edition featured content about the fasting month of Ramadhan and the act of jihad or “holy struggle” with a three-page message from Egyptian ideologue Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir, also known as Ayyub al-Masri.

In the message, ISIS fighters were urged to “continue their jihadist activities, search for martyrdom, and kill and crucify the polytheists, disbelievers, oppressors and transgressors”.

Dato Hj Mohd Jammy said there were no known incidents of Bruneians involved with the newspaper, but alluded to the possibility of ISIS propaganda material being distributed on the “dark web” to evade detection from authorities.

“We have young people who are very smart in Brunei. They are IT savvy,” he said, adding that police will not hesitate to take repressive measures as a last resort.

He said it was important for the Royal Brunei Police Force to firstly take preventative and proactive measures as well as adopt a whole-of-government approach to combat the dissemination of Al Fatihin in the country.

“We can’t condone this behaviour... We are on guard all the time and that’s very important,” said the police commissioner.

The Brunei Times