Islamic State Threats in Kuala Lumpur; Fact or Fear?

Let me ask you; are you afraid ISKL? Do you read the news and get a shiver down your spine? Does listening to the radio make your blood run cold? Should it? Recently, across not only Southeast Asia, a rise in terror attacks have taken place.2 weeks ago, Jakarta was shocked and devastated when it came under attack from Islamic State Militants, the first major terror event since the Ritz Carlton bombings of 2009. 7 people were killed, including the 5 attackers.

How do we, the international community, Malaysians, anybody, react to these horrific events? How do we continue to go about our normal daily lives while this has happened in a city so similar to our own? What can we do?

Not give in to sensationalism of the ISIL ideology or its effects on Malaysia. The people that go about carrying out these types of attacks are a miniscule and marginal group within the region. They lack support within the Muslim community across the board.

So what can you do to stay safe during this tumultuous time? “I’ve been going around near KLCC, but all I really noticed was a heightened police presence.” said Maya Nazareth ‘16. In fact, the Malaysian police have been doing a rather decent job of keeping the peace, managing to stop a man last week from carrying out a suicide mission in a heaving public area. You may have also read or heard that supposedly 1 out of 11 MalaPewysians support or sympathise with IS. This has been mentioned in more than one local newspaper. If you look into the research done on this matter from the ‘Pew Research Centre” aka “FactTank”, you actually find a study with this title: “In nations with significant Muslim populations, much disdain for ISIS.” Hmm.

Although this doesn’t mean that there aren’t IS supporters in Malaysia, it’s certainly not 1/11. There are 147 Malaysians Currently in Syria. On the other hand, there are considered to be 150 American citizens there as well working with IS(according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR.) “I don’t think the threat is as huge as we think it is.” Daniel ‘17 stated. “As a Malaysian, I know the police get a bad rep, but I think they know this is their chance to prove they’re able to jump on the problem and keep their country safe.” So ISKL, be cautious of your movemenPolicets around the city of course, but try not to worry too much. “I wouldn’t stop going about your daily life. Just think before you put yourself in certain situations.” Maya ‘16. As Mr. Petersen repeats often, keeping you safe is ISKL’s number one priority. It also happens to be Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s.

Mr. Najib’s quoted saying that “Due to the alertness and the pre-emptive measures taken by the police, more than 100 individuals linked to the Islamic State have been arrested so far.”