Anifah attends Coalition Against IS meeting in Washington DC

Suresh Ram

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has countered “terrorism messaging” with creative digital end-products which cover a range of themes that are highly effective in curbing violent extremism.

These include raising awareness among parents of youth who could be vulnerable to radicalisation; attacking the myths of “masculinity” associated with the romanticised notion of Jihad; and using figures and images from popular culture as well as traditional poetry to satirise and undermine the efforts of Islamic State (IS).

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman explained that moderation is an all-encompassing approach that emphasises the values of understanding, tolerance, mutual respect and inclusiveness in resolving differences and conflicts peacefully.

“These are the very noble values that are non-existent in the wayward ideology of Islamic State.

“Retelling the narrative of true Islam that embraces these virtues is as vital in countering extremism as it is in putting a stop to the barbarities perpetrated by these misguided people,” he said in a statement issued after a meeting of foreign ministers of the Global Coalition against Islamic State, in Washington D.C.

Anifah also said that Malaysia and other countries in the Southeast Asian region are facing increasing threats from foreign terrorist fighters, as well as from returning Malaysians who had joined the IS in Iraq and Syria, who have initiated several terrorist attacks in the region.

“Fortunately, Malaysian authorities managed to thwart several attempts to launch these attacks on our soil, and had arrested IS sympathisers and operatives,” he said.

Anifah added that following the strengthening of national legislation in 2015, the number of terrorist suspects arrested by Malaysian authorities has increased substantially.

“This is indeed a very alarming trend. We therefore count on the continued collaboration with our partners in providing timely intelligence,” he said.

Anifah stressed that de-radicalisation remains an indispensable component in Malaysia’s counter terrorism strategy.

“We subscribe to the belief that those who have been convicted under our terrorism-related laws have been misled into embracing a completely objectionable version of Islam.

“Therefore, de-radicalisation and rehabilitation are important to enable them to be reintegrated into society,” Anifah said.

The Foreign Minister revealed that Malaysia had been able to effectively de-radicalise and rehabilitate terrorists, with a success rate of 97.5 per cent.

“In this regard, Malaysia is ready to share our expertise with other countries,” he said.

Anifah said that Malaysia commends the Global Coalition’s achievements in its campaign to degrade and defeat the IS, particularly in liberating more than half of the areas in Iraq and one-third of the areas in Syria that were previously controlled by the IS.

“I am confident that, under your able stewardship, our discourse today will enable us to do more, to alleviate the dire situation in these areas,” he said.

Anifah said that Malaysia fully supports the Global Coalition’s call for urgent funding for the newly-liberated areas in Iraq and Syria.

“In this regard, I am pleased to announce Malaysia’s contribution of US$1 million to the fund, to be earmarked for humanitarian assistance in the said areas,” he added.

Anifah concluded by reaffirming Malaysia’s unequivocal support and commitment to the Global Coalition in its endeavour to degrade and ultimately defeat the IS.

Earlier, Anifah met with United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Honourable Rex Tillerson on his appointment as the US Secretary of State,” he said.

Video courtesy of U.S. Department of State