'After FB, WhatsApp and WeChat, Isis uses Telegram to recruit Malaysians'

Authorities say they use these applications to connect with the public before recruiting them and arranging their trips to Syria.

ISIS uses Telegram messaging app to recruit Malaysians
A man holds a smartphone showing the Islamic State logo in front of a screen showing the Telegram logo in this picture illustration Reuters

Malaysian police said the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) is using the Telegram instant messaging service as their latest medium to disseminate its ideology and recruit Malaysians.

Bernama news agency reported that Telegram is among the 14 social media applications which are being used by the militant group. They use these applications to connect with the public before recruiting them and arranging their trips to Syria.

"Prior to this, they used Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and others to influence people to join them. The social media is their main media for this activity,'' Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the Senior Assistant Director of the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division told Bernama on Monday.

"Since the middle of last year, however, we found them shifting to Telegram to avoid detection," he added.

According to SAD Ayob Khan, Telegram was difficult to detect and hence Isis found it easier to communicate through this application. He said that via WhatsApp, they used different groups to communicate.

SAD Khan said the militants were still actively recruiting Malaysians to join them. This has been detected in the last two months based on movement records to Syria.

"It is difficult for them to sneak into the country but they are still seeking ways and means to recruit Malaysians to infiltrate into Syria," he added.

Reports showed that the militant group used several premises like hotels in Malaysia to meet its members to plan their terrorist activities. SAD Khan added that one such meeting was held in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur in April.

He was also quoted as saying that the counter-terrorism division has so far detected that 15 soldiers, three policemen and an auxiliary policeman have already joined ISIS.

He also added that Isis targeted security personnel as they had the skills which re required and the access to firearms and explosives.

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