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ASEAN countries urged to monitor local IS recruits

Countries in the region need to monitor Islamic State recruiting tactics aimed at local Muslims to prevent them from joining the Middle Eastern terror group and then returning to Southeast Asia where they could subsequently launch attacks in their home countries, according to a Professor at Thailand’s Thammasat University who specializes in the Middle East. 
 
“We cannot rule out the prospect that the Islamic State (IS) has its eyes on Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia which has the highest number of Muslims in the world,'' said Thammasat Professor Jaran Maluleem a political scientist and expert on the Muslim world.
 
Indonesia is the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world.  Malaysia and Brunei are predominantly Muslim, and both Thailand and the Philippines have significant Muslim minority populations, and both have been plagued by violence in their southern provinces.
 
IS uses social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, to trumpet its battlefield successes and ideology as a means of recruiting fighters from around the world.  Most recruits are young men who feel alienated and disaffected within the societies in which they live.
 
Until recent times, the brand of Islam that predominated in Southeast Asia was known for its more tolerant approach than those found in the Middle East or South Asia.  That has been changing, however, during the past two decades, with the region’s younger Muslims adopting a more conservative, and for some radical, strain of the religion.
 
Jaran urged the nations of Southeast Asia to steer clear of the conflict and promote religious tolerance and peace.
 
See the original article at Thailand Focus

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