Eight men have been arrested in Malaysia for suspected activities that threatened national security, police said Saturday.
One Malaysian and seven foreigners were detained on Sept. 24, by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division in Perlis, Kuala Lumpur and Johor, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement.
He said they all were involved with an Islamic learning center in Perlis, which is thought to be promoting extremist teachings.
“They are either students or former teaching staff of the center. We made the arrests after receiving actionable intelligence that a Yemen-based terrorist group is planning to set up a learning center in South-East Asia to promote Salafi Jihadi extremist teachings,” he said in a statement.
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The teachings also labelled the democratic system as “toghut” — un-Islamic.
Intelligence shared by foreign intelligence agencies showed that the suspects were connected to a madrasah in Dammaj, Yemen, set up by Sheikh Muqbil Hadi Al Wadi, a Salafi Jihadi scholar. The Salafi Jihadi teachings that permits the killings of non-Muslims and even Muslims who don’t follow their ways,” Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi said.
The first arrests were made in Perlis of five Europeans and another individual from the Americas between 24 and 38 years old.
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The seventh suspect arrested was a 33-year-old Middle-Eastern man in Muar, Johor, where he worked as a trader. The suspect is an alumni of the religious school in Perlis.
They were arrested on terrorism-related offences under the Penal Code.
“This is not the first time foreign Salafi jihadist elements have used Malaysia as a launchpad to spread the ideology and recruit new members,” Fuzi Harun said.