How to Tackle On-campus Radicalisation and Improve Community Resilience


Kuala Lumpur, 27th April 2022 | The spread of global terrorism from Islamist terror groups like Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Daesh/ Islamic State (IS) has arrived at the doorsteps of Malaysian campuses to radicalise and recruit the youths by exploiting their passion, curiosity, and anger about the world, religion, and injustices. Despite the collapse of their movement, their ideologies and networks remain intact and can reemerge in newer manifestations whenever emboldened by global and domestic political developments.

Radicalisation is a process with various ideological, operational, and structural drivers. However, given the complexity of this problem, university administrations do not yet have the right mechanisms in place to address it. They can only cooperate with the police to deal with terrorist-related crimes committed by university students and staff, such as possession of jihad reading materials or membership of a terrorist organisation. Clearly, this is not enough to address the problem.

Hence, this policy brief will discuss the problem of on-campus radicalisation by JI and IS before proposing a more holistic early response from the university administration and other stakeholders such as the police, civil society organisations (CSOs), and the campus community. They will play a collective and proactive role in tackling radicalisation with a long-term goal of building campus-community resilience. Two research methods are used: 1) an independent consultation with Malaysian Prevention and Counter Violent Extremism (PCVE) experts and youth leadersĀ  2) a comparative analysis of PCVE policies currently in place in Malaysia and abroad.