MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) – Muslims in Malaysia who support the Islamic State (IS) might establish an "Islamic State" inside the country, former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad stated Monday.
"A call for an 'Islamic state' is very tempting to Muslim youths anywhere because they are disappointed that there is no government or country that is willing to save Islam, Muslims and the Islamic countries," MalayMail quoted Dr. Mahathir as saying on his personal blog Chedet.cc.
Dr. Mahathir stressed the possibility that rebels from adjacent countries might try invading Malaysia for the purpose of forming an "Islamic State" inside the country.
"If it crosses their mind to make Malaysia a part of the 'Islamic State,' would they not join in attacks launched from the outside by those calling for jihad to form an Islamic state in Malaysia?" Dr. Mahathir added.
He also noted that the underlying factor in the conflict in Iraq and Syria is the ideological divide between the Shiah and Sunni denominations, something that also exists in Malaysian society.
According to Dr. Mahathir, some Muslims from Malaysia have traveled to the Middle East to assist the IS. According to media records, 40 Malaysians are currently fighting in Syria for the militant group.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
According to estimates by Russia's Security Council, the number of IS militants may be as high as 50,000, and it continues to grow as supporters of radical Islam from Europe, the United States and CIS leave their countries to join the group.