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Malay-Language Video Appears to Show IS Training Boys to Kill Non-Believers

2015-03-17
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Boys take part in a weapons-training class in this screen grab from a video posted online by al-Azzam Media.
Boys take part in a weapons-training class in this screen grab from a video posted online by al-Azzam Media.
al-Azzam Media

The young boy in a black-knit cap and military fatigues faces the camera, raises a pistol and points it at the viewer.

“For all thogut in the world, this is for you,” the boy says in Malay, using an Arabic word for followers of religions other than Islam.

The sound of a pistol shot ends the video, and it fades to black.

The scene appears in a two-minute, 12-second online video purportedly posted over the weekend by the Malay-language division of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, according to the Straits Times, the Singaporean newspaper that broke the story Tuesday.

In the video, with voice-over and subtitles in Malay, about 20 boys, some who appear to be as young as six, eat, pray and practice weapons maneuvers together.

"There has been a surge in Indonesian- and Malay-language material posted by [IS] online," the paper quoted Jasminder Singh, a terrorism expert at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, as saying.

"There have been previous videos featuring Arab and Central Asian children, and it is clear they are now reaching out to target supporters in Southeast Asia," he added.

So young

The video, seen by BenarNews, features footage of a group of young boys taking part in martial arts training, handling AK-47 assault rifles, and chanting Muslim prayers, among other activities.

It also features an appearance by the Indonesian jihadist Bahrumsyah, the Straits Times reported.

Bahrumsyah, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi, last year appeared in an IS propaganda video targeting an Indonesian audience. The online posting of that IS video led to an Indonesian government ban on the Islamic State.

The new video purports to be a trailer for a longer propaganda film “coming out” soon, according to a teaser message at the end in English.

In it, grown-up men ask boys whether they can shoot or handle AK-47s and the youngsters reply that they can.

“When you grow up, what do you want to be?” a man asks.

“Mujahid,” one of the boys replies.

The video is the first known one depicting Southeast Asian children in training for combat, the Straits Times noted in its article.

Malay-language propaganda wing

The video, titled “Education in the Caliphate,” was produced by IS’s Malay Archipelago Unit, which was established in 2014 under the name Katibah Nusantara, the Straits Times reported.

It is not clear where and when the video was shot, but the newspaper said it was filmed in an area controlled by IS.

The boys in the video and photos obtained by the newspaper were students at the Abdullah Azzam academy, which is geared for children of Southeast Asian jihadists and where Malay is the language of instruction, the newspaper said.

The video is posted on Azzam Media’s website, azzammedia.com, which advertises itself as part of the Divisi Media Khilafah Islamiyah Berbahasa Melayu.

The Malay language group is the one from which various languages in Southeast Asia are derived, such as Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia and Jawi in southern Thailand.

“The decision to say the school teaches in Bahasa Melayu, rather than Bahasa Indonesia, suggests a defiance of the boundaries of the nation state,” the newspaper reported.

Regional counter-terrorism efforts

News about the video encouraging Southeast Asian Muslim children to kill non-believers comes at a time when both the Malaysians and Indonesia government say they are trying to clamp down on domestic efforts to recruit young people for IS’s jihadist cause.

In Malaysia, the government is set to introduce two proposed laws for parliamentary debate this month: the draft Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and draft Foreign Fighters Act (FFA).

For its part, the Indonesian government is dealing with last week’s arrest of 16 Indonesians who were stopped as they tried to cross from Turkey into Syria to join IS, officials in Jakarta said. Another 16 Indonesians have been reported missing in Turkey since breaking away from a tour group in late February.

Both groups of 16 include a large number of children, according to news reports that cite government officials.

On Tuesday, Indonesian Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Marciano Norman said his agency and other authorities were moving to stop the video featuring the Southeast Asian children in military training from being disseminated in Indonesia via YouTube and social media.

"We will immediately coordinate with the ministry [of Communications and Information] to block the video,” Marciano told reporters, according to the Jakarta Globe.

By BenarNews with details from news reports.

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