19 October 2018
Islamic State, which is being driven out of Iraq and Syria, is seeking to gain supporters from all over the world. Photo: Reuters
Islamic State, which is being driven out of Iraq and Syria, is seeking to gain supporters from all over the world. Photo: Reuters

Think tank warns of Islamic State activities in Hong Kong

About 45 of the 150,000 Indonesian domestic helpers in Hong Kong could be involved in pro-Islamic State activities, an Indonesian think tank warns.

The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict said these maids are on the “radical fringe” and could join the extremist jihadist group anytime, Apple Daily reported.

The IPAC said some of these women could have been radicalized by militant Islamist boyfriends they had met online, while others could have been drawn to the group in an attempt to boost their confidence.

The report said a woman was involved in helping Indonesians to travel to Syria, and in some cases via Hong Kong.

None of the dozen Indonesian maids Apple Daily reporters interviewed at Victoria Park on Wednesday has ever heard of Islamic State. They said they have never received any invitation to join the organization, which has sought to establish a caliphate in Syria and Iraq and has drawn supporters from various parts of the world.

Legislator Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung from the Labour Party said he was not sure what evidence or information the report was based on.

Cheung said Indonesian helpers are working in Hong Kong to support their families back home, and as such, it is unlikely they would be influenced by terrorist organizations.

The think tank’s report would only cast a negative impression on Indonesian domestic helpers, he said.

Tang Kin-wah, organizing secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions, said the Muslim groups under their federation have no affiliations or contacts with extremist organizations.

Tang said he could not understand why the IPAC did not simply call the police and instead released such a report which does nothing but spread fear.

According to Eni Lestari, chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance, Indonesian maids traditionally are Muslims. It is therefore understandable that they take part in Muslim activities.

However, that does not mean they are involved in any extremist organizations or activities.

The Police Public Relations Bureau said there is no specific intelligence suggesting Hong Kong could become a target of terrorist attack.

The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia was not available for comment.

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