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The Devil in our hearts

  • In many young Malaysians we could see the duplicates of Nibras. They might look cultured and stylish, economically stable with enviable jobs, but deep inside their hearts are anchored ingrained hatred and prejudices.

By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

Our world has recently been inundated by a spate of terror attacks, including the IS-linked attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. And now, even the IGP Khalid Abu Bakar has confirmed that the earlier grenade blast in Puchong was the work of IS operatives.

All these point to the reality that terrorists are very much walking all around us. As a matter of fact, the Malaysian police arrested 162 terrorists from 2013 to March 14 this year.

This figure, plus at least two of the attackers in the Dhaka restaurant blast incident who once studied in Malaysia, could as well imply that our county has become a regional base for terrorism.

The IGP has said the four local IS operatives carried out the Puchong attack upon the instruction from Muhamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi in Syria in a blatant intimidation to the authority of the Malaysian police. Prior to that, Khalid had on June 24 challenged Malaysian IS militants in Syria to come back here instead of voicing threats from afar.

Yes, the local operatives have started their warfare in Malaysia and our police are bound to counter-attack. Nevertheless we must not only tackle the terrorists per se but must also crush the possible root causes.

Current affairs commentator Wong Chin Huat. who used to teach at Monash University Sunway Campus, says some of the educated young Muslims have been radicalized. If what he says is true, this could pose a serious threat to our multicultural society. In the meantime, the higher education ministry has also said it will closely monitor the learning environment in the country's tertiary institutions.

But, how have these terrorists come about and why have they become this brutal?

The Dhaka attack has overturned the universal belief that terrorists are all poorly educated or are economically oppressed jobless youngsters.

Bangladeshi home minister has said all the gunmen were from educated and well-to-do families, and none was from a religious school.

We used to believe that economic problems, poverty and erroneous religious education are the root causes of terrorism, but the Dhaka incident proves that such oversimplification and generalization has been rash and unfounded. According to media reports, one of the gunmen Nibras Islam used to study at Monash University here as well as North South University in the Bangladeshi capital. He was a happy-go-lucky young man crazy about Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor.

In many young Malaysians we could see the duplicates of Nibras Islam. They might look cultured and stylish, economically stable with enviable jobs, but deep inside their hearts are anchored ingrained hatred and prejudices.

The apprehension of some military personnel, civil servants and tertiary students proves that terrorists could come from all walks of life.

But, what we still don't know is why highly educated people can get so easily coaxed and brainwashed by terrorists. Are they not having more independent thinking compared to their peers?

We can deduce that the compromised facultative power of modern-day people (probably as a result of the Internet prevalence) has spawned a new generation of foolishness and radicalism globally, including here in Malaysia.

Radicalism has slowly grown into a "mainstream" philosophy in our world. The Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is strongly against immigrants and Islam; Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte is known for his arrogant and abusive statements while anti-immigration Australian politician Pauline Hanson is returned to the Parliament after winning a Senate seat in the recent election.

Rightists thinking is taking the world by storm: Brexit, turbulence in Hong Kong and even Malaysian politicians now unashamedly declare their racist stand.

Members of the public could be so easily manipulated because of their own confusion. They have been misled to believe that they are justified to take away the lives of innocent people or bring down their rivals through violent means in the name of justice.

 

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