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Rohingya leader dispels talk of terrorist recruitment

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

GOMBAK — October 12, 2018: A leader of the Rohingya community has assured Malaysians that none of his displaced kin who have settled down here has been drafted into any terrorist organisation.

Rafik Shah Ismail, who claims to oversee some 35,000 Rohingyans, stated this in response to reports that Rohingya refugees in Malaysia were being actively recruited into the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa).

“We left Myanmar for good, so why would we want to go back? I can’t speak on behalf of the Rohingya refugees in other areas but I give you my word that no such thing (terrorist recruitment drives) has ever happened here,” said Rafik.

“All of us in Gombak just want to make an honest living. We do not want to cause any trouble because we are grateful that the government allows us to stay here.”

According to figures from the United Nations, there are about 70,000 documented Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, half of whom live in Gombak, making it the district with the highest concentration of Rohingyas in the country.

Rafik, who is a headmaster of an informal school for refugee children, also pointed out that he had already informed the police about the matter when several officers visited him yesterday.

“I am working closely with the police. If something comes up, they will be the first to know,” said Rafik who came to Malaysia 35 years ago.

Arsa’s active recruitment in Malaysia was revealed in August by Bukit Aman Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Divison principle assistant director Datuk Ayoub Khan Mydin Pitchay.

The Mole understands that police is currently hunting a Bangladeshi of Rohingyan descent who is suspected of embezzling millions of Malaysian tithe money to finance a terrorist organisation believed to be Arsa.

The money wired through over 100 transactions to several banks in Chittagong and Dhaka was said to have been derived from individual zakat payments collected at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur and also from a well-known clothes retailer.

According to sources, the suspect who had been in Malaysia since 2012 managed to evade the authorities because of his affiliation to an organisation linked to a high-level Malaysian politician.

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Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.