KUALA LUMPUR (AP) – Malaysian police say they have detained three Muslim men suspected of wanting to go to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
The head of the national police counter-terrorism unit, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said Friday that the three were detained Thursday at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) while waiting for a flight to Turkey en route to Syria.
He says the men – an archi-tect and a technician, both aged 26, and a 46-year-old shopkeeper – were believed to be recruited through Facebook and other social media sites and were in contact with Malaysians fighting in Syria.
Ayob Khan says the men were held under the Security Offences Act, which allows police to hold suspects for up to 28 days before they must be brought to court.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has described the actions of the IS as against Islam and humanity, Bernama reported.
The Malaysian prime minister stressed that the self-proclaimed extremists did not represent true Muslims.
“They should not refer themselves as state as they are not even a state or a country.
“Malaysia is a moderate and progressive Muslim country and rejects extremism,” he told American fund managers during a meeting at a hotel in New York on Thursday.
The United States, having received the backing of some Arab countries, recently launched air strikes on the militant group in Syria, in anticipation of attacks against the US and Western interests.
IS has reportedly killed innocent people, including beheading them.