03/14/2018, 10.01

Kuala Lumpur, jihadists recruited on social media: 249 in handcuffs

The government monitors 3,871 Facebook accounts, while another 800 have already been blocked. Twitter and Instagram profiles are also being monitored. 19 people are involved in the de-radicalization program launched by the government.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Kuala Lumpur security forces have so far arrested a total of 249 people, Malaysian and foreign citizens, on charges of engaging in social media recruitment for terrorist purposes. Masir Kujat, deputy interior minister, also reported that 240 of the defendants were working on Facebook, eight on Twitter and one on Instagram.

During a parliamentary question time on the executive's commitment to the spread of jihadist ideology on the internet, Masir said yesterday that "arrests are the result of police intelligence investigations and monitoring of the Counter Messaging Centre". The centre was established in 2016 to curb the influence of the Islamic State (IS) on web users. The deputy minister added that the government is monitoring 3,871 Facebook accounts, while another 800 have been blocked. "On Twitter - continued Masir - 76 people were placed under observation and nine profiles blocked". The authorities have also investigated other 72 extremists for their activities on Instagram.

The government reports that at present 19 individuals, including a foreigner, are detained and subject to a de-radicalization program under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota). "The de-radicalization of terrorists is systematically implemented through an integrated protocol that covers aspects such as religious, civic, psychological, family and moral values. The success of this program - concluded the deputy minister - will soon be public, as soon as the released prisoners return to the community and demonstrate they are no longer involved in terrorist activities ".

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