Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian police will be keeping a close eye on about 200 Malaysian students who have been ordered out of Pakistan's madrassah (Islamic boarding schools) in case they have been exposed to militant activities, reported The Sunday Mail. The students were ordered home as part of the Pakistani government's efforts to rein in Islamist militancy.
A source told the Malaysian newspaper that the Malaysian authorities fear that some of the madrassah students who had imbibed militant values during their stay inPakistan could retaliate over the decision to disallow them to study there.
"They may perceive the move as anti-Islam by Westerners to curb them from furthering their education in the religion," the source said.
"Police are not taking chances as some of the Malaysian students had been linked and caught for militant activities in Pakistan previously. There were indications the students were linked to the Kashmiri-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET)."
The source added that Rusman Gunawan, the brother of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) operations chief Hambali, had claimed that as a go-between for the JI and LET, he had recruited students from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia for training in Afghanistan. Hambali has been in US custody since 2003.
"This is worrying the Malaysian authorities," said the source. In September 2003, 13 Malaysian students were detained in Pakistan for alleged involvement in militant activities.
The students, known as second-generation JI, were arrested during a pre-dawn raid in an operation by the CIA and Pakistani Federal Agency at a university inKarachi.The 13 Malaysian and six Indonesian students, including Rusman, were held based on information given by Hambali.
Rusman served as the Malaysian students' mentor and had helped them to adjust to life and education in Pakistan.
The Pakistani Government had expelled some 1,400 foreign students enrolled in several madrassah there after it was discovered that two out of four young terrorist suspects of Pakistani origin, who were involved in the July 7 London bombings, had studied at a madrassah in Pakistan.
Foreign students in Pakistan, mostly from Arab, African and Southeast Asian countries, are among the roughly one million students in Pakistan’s 10,000-odd madrassah.
* Students under surveillance (The Malay Mail, Aug 28)
* Malaysia to keep close eye on ex-Pakistan madrasah students: report (The Jakarta Post, Aug 29)