At least 10 people with the Islamic State group, also known by ISIS or ISIL, were detained in multiple raids across Malaysia Thursday as the country’s security forces continue to crackdown on militant recruitment. Those arrested included six security forces personnel, a former interior designer and a kindergarten teacher, the Singapore-based Straits Times reported.
The suspects — eight men and two women — were detained by the country’s special counter terrorism division in six separate areas including Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital and most populous city. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the suspected militants were believed to be plotting an attack on Malaysian soil, and were collecting funds to assist Malaysian ISIS members wanting to travel to Syria.
The southeast Asian, predominantly-Muslim country has seen a growing number of its citizens lured by ISIS ideology in recent months. Three individuals believed to have been linked to the group were detained Aug. 14, as they allegedly planned to stage attacks during independence day celebrations later this month.
A video emerged in April of young Malay-speaking boys, possibly also Indonesian, attending religious classes and engaging in weapons training in ISIS-held territory in either Iraq or Syria. About 60 to 150 Malay citizens are believed to have joined the militant group — considerably lower than the number of recruits drawn from many other countries.
Terror suspects between 24- 42 years old.6 are members of security forces, 2 civil servants,1 ex interior designer,1 kindergarten teacher
— Sumisha Naidu (@sumishanaidu) August 20, 2015
Malaysian recruits are drawn by many of the same factors that draw disgruntled Muslims from other countries, including anger over the U.S.-led war on terror and the protracted civil war in Syria. However, many are also drawn by an increasingly politicized version of religion in Malaysia that amplifies religious differences and tensions, Brookings Institute found in April.
Malaysia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has struggled to stem the lure of radicalism for over a decade. More than 200 people were killed in attacks on Western targets in the country in 2002.