Malaysian and Indonesian authorities have yet to determine the relation between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and a new group known as Daulah Islamiyah (DI), which seeks to create a Southeast Asian caliphate similar to what ISIS claims to have created in the Middle East.
"Many of their members are the same. It is likely that the purpose of DI is to continue recruitment and facilitating jihadists' travel to Syria, and to continue opposition to the government," former Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) head Ansyaad Mbai told Khabar Southeast Asia.
"Both militants in Indonesia and Malaysia have a similar goal – that is to establish the caliphate in the region."
According to Barometer Institute analyst Robi Sugara, the group's goal is to recruit and assist people who want to go to Syria, and also to mount "counter-attacks against governments that repress caliphate supporters".
The network spans international borders.
"As we have learned from the past with JI ( Jemaah Islamiyah ), terrorist networks often have cross-regional bonds ," Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict Director Sidney Jones told Khabar. "With social media and the caliphate idea, DI seems to be the strongest network."
Malaysia combats global jihadists
In Malaysia, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman denounced citizens who joined ISIS.
"I wish to unequivocally stress that for Malaysia, there is nothing Islamic about kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering civilians," Anifah said, according to The Straits Times.
"We neither condone nor support Malaysian nationals who commit terrorism or participate in conflicts abroad ."
Ayob Khan Myudin, deputy chief of the Royal Malaysian Police's counterterrorism division, said that by going to the Middle East, some Malaysians mistakenly believe they are conducting jihad according to Islam.
"Many of them are also using humanitarian reasons to hide and escape detention," he told Khabar, citing the three Malaysian jihadists arrested September 25th at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, who had been recruited through Facebook to go to Syria.
Kuala Lumpur cleric Amminudin Salad said the three were wasting their lives .
"They are not defending Islam; they want to be martyrs as part of their 'false' jihad," he told Khabar. "Everyone in Malaysia is on alert for the spread of ISIS now. We hope the government will continue strengthening its effort to curb recruitment and departure for the wrong jihad."