TUMPAT (NST) – Sometime in April, Ahmad Affendi Abdul Manaf, the second Malaysian suicide bomber who died in Syria last month, had made a call to his family.
The 27-year-old was said to be deeply religious and an active member of a group that regularly went out on “dakwah” (missionary) work.
Affendi’s family knew he was heading to Kuala Lumpur but did not know the real reason until the phone call came in which Affendi told his family that he was going to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) fighters.
The news came as a shock to family members, said his younger brother, who declined to be identified.
“He was an active member of the Tabligh Jamaat movement and went out regularly, sometimes, for up to two months, for dakwah work.
“We did not expect him to join the war in Syria or Iraq as he had not spoken about it,” the brother told the New Straits Times at his home in Berangan on Monday.
According to the brother, Affendi, who made the call from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, had begged his family members for forgiveness before boarding a flight to an undisclosed destination, eventually ending up in Syria.
Late last month, the family learned that he had blown up himself and 50 Syrian soldiers in an attack on Nov 9, becoming Malaysia’s second suicide bomber linked to IS.
Affendi’s brother said they knew about his death 10 days after the incident, adding that Affendi had kept in touch with their eldest brother and sister in the Klang Valley and they would then brief their parents about his situation.
Affendi, the fifth of eight siblings, had studied up to Form Five at SMK Datuk Biji Wangsa here.
According to the brother, Affendi changed and became more religious at the age of 22. He then joined a religious school in Kubang Kerian near Kota Baru.
“After leaving the school, he did odd jobs besides being a bilal and giving religious talks at a nearby surau,” the brother said.