PETALING JAYA: How quickly can you become a member of the most organised terrorist group in the world? Well, it takes less than a minute, according to Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism chief, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.
Just a simple oath of loyalty would bind a person to the Islamic State (IS) group, also known as Daesh. To get out, the fastest way is death.
“In the old days, a new member had to attend a ceremony and will get to shake the hand of the leader,” Ayob said. “Today, one can do it online, using an app.”
Prior to the introduction of Telegram and WhatsApp, one could, if one wished, take the oath through video and publish it online for all the world to see.
“It was more than just an oath-of-loyalty video,” Ayob said. “It was also a tactic to create fear among the public, like Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon did in 2014.”
In the video posted on YouTube, Isnilon and some comrades were seen in battle gear, pledging loyalty to Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Ayob advised those thinking of joining the group to reconsider, saying they could be courting death.
According to a report that express.co.uk published in 2015, an Austrian teenager who went to join Daesh was allegedly “beaten to death” by the group’s fighters when he tried to flee from their clutches.
The report said the victim wanted to quit after becoming disgusted by what the group was doing.
Ayob explained that the oath of loyalty required a member to carry out instructions without hesitation.
He said the oath had been simplified because Daesh wanted to boost its membership within a short time.
“They want to expand the group so that they’ll have members everywhere. With the advance of technology, the oath can be done anywhere.
“They can also use the apps to collect data on their members across the world.”
He said most of those arrested by the Malaysian counter-terrorism team had recited the oath online without meeting their leader face to face.