Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday (Aug 2), speaking at the World Islamic Economic Forum in Jakarta, called on Muslim leaders to reject foreign intervention and those who, “out of political motivation”, call for foreign powers to intervene in their own country. He further stated that foreign intervention in Muslim countries has led to “intended and unintended consequences”, such as chaos and destruction in Iraq, Syria and Libya, and the possible break up of these nation states.

This comes after several horrific attacks by IS terrorists in the past month in the United States, Germany and France, including that of the recent hand grenade attack at Movida nightclub in Selangor in June and a suicide bombing in Indonesia early July. An average of six major IS terror attacks is recorded monthly across the globe, with five of those attack happening in South East Asia.

Najib further adds that he has always been a proponent of openness in the world and collaboration, but calls for Muslim world leaders to solve the problem internally with minimal ‘foreign’ intervention, reason being that history has shown ‘foreign’ intervention has often led to further breakdown of Muslim states such as Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Under Najib’s leadership, Malaysia and its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members have been working closely and has been at the forefront in battling the growing IS epidemic in the region. Most notably, the recent signing of the Communication and Coordination Protocol for Crisis Management (ACCPCM) by delegates from all 10 countries at the 36th Aseanapol Conference and the establishment of the Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Communications Centre just outside Kuala Lumpur which enables joint counter-terrorism intelligence-sharing and cooperation between the member countries in fighting the war against terror.

Furthermore, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should be at the forefront of the ‘global war’ against these radical Islamic militant groups that has tarnished and perverted the teachings of Islam, the Quran and Hadith for their own twisted goals and agendas. OIC’s 57 member countries should stand united to stop the needless brutality on humankind and restore the good name of Islam. Although OIC current capabilities and resources leave much to be desired, this is not an excuse to leave it to ‘foreign powers’ to ‘deal’ with the problem. It is time the OIC to take decisive actions.

Muslim leaders should emulate the assertive efforts by Najib in combating the growing IS threat in Malaysia. He has recently receive political flak and criticism from all quarters for the passing of the National Security (NSC) Act. It is in fact proof of his unrelenting determination as the Prime Minister of Malaysia to ensure the safety of Malaysians from IS.

There is always a price to pay if we are to ensure the safety and security of the country and its people. Sometimes, bold and unpopular actions need to be taken. However, without unity and support from everyone especially Muslim leaders worldwide, these efforts and initiatives will fall short of their mark and the blood, sweat and tears of the brave will come to naught.