‘When the war broke out in Syria I felt angry inside and I wanted to do something about it’
I watched the news and followed social media to keep up with the daily developments. From the things I watched and read online, I believed my Muslim brothers were being oppressed.
I got in touch with jihadists through social media. Most of them were asking for us to help spread their ideology and raise funds to assist some Malaysians who wished to go over and help other jihadists in Syria. I created my own Telegram group, and then recruited my members through social media by chatting to them on messenger.
I didn’t have any family problems at the time or anything, I actually have a very good relationship with my family, my parents, my siblings and I always spend time with my wife, kids. I was stable financially and had a career. I was respected in my workplace.
Most of my friends were shocked when I was arrested, but I felt strangely relieved. The fight is a burden, especially I came to feel that the fight was wrong. Malaysia is a very peaceful Muslim country. Nobody is stopping you from praying, from practicing anything about your religion, as long as you don’t disturb other people’s rights. I didn’t want to promote violence.
When I was done with the rehabilitation program and came out from prison, I said to myself, ‘I’m a new person, and I am thankful I have gained so much knowledge through the programme and perspective’. When I think back, I am scared about what would have happened if I had gone too far down the rabbit hole and it would have been very difficult to come back. Or maybe there would have been no way to have come back from it again.