Malaysia terror plot revealed
Kuala Lumpur - Islamic extremists led by a deported Syrian scholar with suspected ties to al-Qaeda were planning to blow up houses of worship in Malaysia, a government-linked newspaper reported on Thursday.
The New Straits Times said Aiman Al Dakak, aged 45, was among nine foreigners including Syrians, Yemenis, Nigerians and a Jordanian deported in April, most of them students.
According to previous Malaysian reports, 10 foreign terror suspects had been deported. Police and home ministry officials had no immediate comment on the latest report.
The New Straits Times did not specify which "houses of worship" were allegedly targeted by the group but said they were located in the states of Penang and Selangor.
The foreigners and their local associates felt that Malaysia, which is 60% Muslim, was losing its identity as an Islamic country, the report said.
It said Aiman was also trying to revive the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) by attracting new members from Malaysian universities.
The paper reported that Aiman, who is fluent in Arabic and English, gave lectures to both local and foreign students at his home, indoctrinating them with jihadist ideology and urging them to carry out the bombings.
Coerced into violence
Prime Minister Najib Razak said his government would tighten security to prevent a resurgence of JI, which is blamed for a string of major attacks in the region including the 2002 Bali bombings.
"We must be wary of JI threats to recruit students. They can be coerced into committing violence by militant and extremism thinking," he told state news agency Bernama late on Wednesday.
"A lecturer involved with JI had been known to explode bombs," he added, referring to Aiman.
"We have to tighten security via intelligence reports to check the menace."
The government on Tuesday said it would enlist the help of universities to stop Islamic militants using campuses as recruitment centres for their violent struggle.