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No Investigation into Cambodian ‘Jihadists,’ Authorities Say

  • Heng Reaksmey
  • VOA Khmer

A Cambodian Muslim man speaks during a visit to the special courthouse prepared for former Khmer Rouge leaders in Kandal, Cambodia, file photo.

A Cambodian Muslim man speaks during a visit to the special courthouse prepared for former Khmer Rouge leaders in Kandal, Cambodia, file photo.

Cambodian authorities say there is no official investigation into reports of Cambodian Muslims’ involvement in the Islamist movement currently attacking the state of Iraq.

A video clip online claims that Cambodian jihadists have joined fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

In the 13-minute recruitment video, a purported jihadist, sitting with fighters in a wooded area under the flag of ISIS, claims the group has fighters “from Bangladesh, from Iraq, from Cambodia, Australia, the UK.”

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said no investigation of the video was warranted and the source of the video is unknown.

Cambodia has a small minority of Muslims, but its Muslims leaders have denied they are involved in the fighting.

Ahmad Yahya, president of the Cambodian Muslim Community Development Organization, said the video is likely only “propaganda” for ISIS.

In the past, Thai officials have said Cambodian Muslims were helping insurgents on the restive south, which is majority Muslim, but Ahmad Yahya said those allegations too were untrue.

Sles Nasy, secretary-general of Islamic Council for Development of Cambodia, said Cambodia’s Muslims are not involved with extremists in Iraq.

Cambodian Muslims are “gentle” and their knowledge of the world is “limited,” he said, making it unlikely they would join a movement like ISIS.
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