The Islamic State and A Newspaper

The Islamic State and A Newspaper

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has launched its first Malay language newspaper for its supporters in Southeast Asia, as the terrorist group seeks to expand its reach in the region. Malay daily Berita Harian reported on Monday that the publication, called Al Fatihin, was launched in southern Philippines on June 20. Al Fatihin means “The Conqueror” in Arabic. It is also being distributed in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

According to the Malay Mail Online, which translated the Berita Harian report, an unnamed security expert was quoted as saying that the publication could signal that Malaysia was in ISIS’ sights. “This psychological campaign means that the terrorists have a big objective, which is to expand their influence among people who understand the Malay language,” the expert said. “Based on the way the language is used, we believe the writer or editor of the paper may be from this country.”

A paper published on June 23 by Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, which is based within Nanyang Technological University, also confirmed the existence of the publication.

The paper’s authors, senior analyst Jasminder Singh and research analyst Muhammad Haziq Jani, noted that Al Fatihin‘s tagline indicated that it would serve the existing Southeast Asian “foreign fighters”, who mostly hail from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Al-Fatihin‘s tagline drives the point that, no matter the differences and nuances in language, identity and origins, Southeast Asian jihadists have a common logos and as such, all Malay-speaking jihadists should act as one,” the paper added.

The 20-page inaugural edition was also “well-timed” for the holy month of Ramadhan, and focused heavily on its significance, as well as the rituals of fasting. There were also reports on the caliphate and features on religion.

The Islamic State or ISIS has claimes as the richest of a terrorist group in the world with their wealth is estimated approxiamately US $ 2 billion. Those wealth is predicted come from Mosul Branch Central Bank of Iraq which taken by ISIS after these terror group was conquered Mosul. Some experts said the Islamic State has US $ 2 billion jihad’s fund. The Iraqi government has believed that Saudi Arabia government had been supported the Islamic State’s struggle. According to Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al Maliki has said the Saudi Arabia government must be respondsible on financial and morale support to the Islamic State..

Meanwhile, Günter Meyer from Arab Assessment Center at Mainz University, Germany as quoted from, hasn’t doubt that the Islamic State had been taken financial support from some the have community whose come from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Uni Emirat Arab. The interest of those Sunni’s state with the Islamic State existance to topple Syria’s President Bashar Assad because third of the population of Syria is Sunni’s community, but the Syria government ruled by the minority group is Alawiyah shiite. Gunter Mayer explained further that the second sources of IS’s fund comes from oil field in Northern Syria which sold by IS to Turkey.

Is Moslem Indonesia as a target ?

An internet users in Indonesia has reached 88,1 million. If comparing with the population of Indonesia has reached 252,4 million people, so the penetration of an internet users in Indonesia has reached 34,9%.

Java and Bali to be a region which has the biggest internet users in Indonesia with 52 million users, Sumatera has 18,6 million and Sulawesi has 7,3 million, Nusa Tenggara, Papua, and Moluccas have 5,9 million and Kalimantan’s region has 4,2 million. West Java to be a region which has the biggest an internet user approxiamately 16,4 million.

The Islamic State’s newspaper, Al Fatihin is also being distributed in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Those facts has been showed that South East Asia region will be IS’s target to recruit its new members and also to expand their influence in these region especially in Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia which have dominant and majority Moslem communities.

Al Fatihin newspaper launching has been showed that the Islamic State’s administration will be influenced and shared their propaganda, their ideology and their agitation much more broader.

Al Fatihin newspaper launching has been showed that a Moslem communities will be targeted as their reader and their consumer, so that step by step a Moslem communities should be more understand and supported IS’s struggle to be join with its group.

However, Al Fatihin launching has given a strong signals that the Islamic State’s will be expanded their territory and their members which come from Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

Furthermore, the government of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei must be given a seriously attention on these facts, and to make effort to ban Al Fatihin is circulated in their countries. Besides, Indonesia’s government, Malaysia and Brunei need to build a common effort to minimize the influence of Al Fatihin’s news to their society.

A common effort which could be built between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei’s government such as give and take an intelligence gathering each other especially focussing on a terror’s threat.

Earlier, the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief, Sutiyoso was warned that any potential condition which the Islamic State was targeted Indonesia. The warning from BIN’s chief must be given a huge attention from all circles in Indonesia to anticipate, to minimalize and to curb a terror’s group supporters and their symphatizers in Indonesia couldn’t grow up.

Whilst, the Indonesia’s mass media communities such as Forum Pemred (Chief editor’s forum) and all of an Indonesia’s mass media organization to make cooperation and coordination with the Indonesia’s government through Ministry of Communication and Informatics  to ban a terror’s group influence with the Indonesia’s mass media communities doesn’t make a news about a terror’s group activities.

Along with these efforts, all of attempt to distribute, to make a better condition and to release awareness news through mass media’s news, their investigative reporting on terror’s threat and also the involvement of mass media communities on a deradicalization process must be done.

Toni Ervianto1*) Toni Ervianto is the alumni of University of Indonesia Graduate Program and a columnist in various mass media.


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