Malaysia shuts down Saudi-backed anti-terrorism center

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia's new government has shut down a Saudi-backed anti-terrorism center, just over a year after it was launched by the kingdom's ruling monarch during a visit here last year.

Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu said in a written reply to a question in parliament on Monday that the King Salman Center for International Peace will cease operation immediately and that its function will be absorbed by the Malaysian Institute of Defense and Security.

He didn't give a reason for the closure.

The center, which aims to draw Islamic scholars to combat extremist views and promote tolerance, was announced in March last year during King Salman's visit to Malaysia under former Malaysian leader Najib Razak. It has a temporary office in Kuala Lumpur while awaiting the construction of a permanent building in Malaysia's administrative capital of Putrajaya.

Najib suffered a shocking defeat in May's national polls and is now facing corruption charges.

Opposition lawmaker Hishammuddin Hussein, who was formerly defense minister, said Tuesday that the move to close the center was a loss to the nation amid growing terrorism in the Muslim world. He said the center was aimed at putting predominantly Muslim Malaysia at the forefront of the fight against violent extremism and ideologies together with Saudi Arabia.

There have been concerns in recent years that under Najib, Saudi Arabia's ultraconservative interpretation of Islam has gained an expanded foothold in Malaysia. The kingdom has built mosques and schools across the region and offers scholarships to Malaysians and other Southeast Asian Muslims who want to study in Saudi Arabia.

You may also interested in

France pledges $2.6 billion for Indonesia as...

Mar 29, 2017

France has pledged $2.6 billion in investments for Indonesia and affirmed deepening ties with...

Indonesia arrests man who bought orangutan,...

Apr 4, 2017

Indonesian police say they saved a sun bear, a clouded leopard and a baby orangutan from the...

The Latest: Pence says Trump to attend Asian...

Apr 20, 2017

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says President Donald Trump will be attending a summit with the...

Indonesia police arrest dozens in raid on Jakarta...

May 22, 2017

Indonesian police say they detained dozens of men including several foreigners in a raid on a gay...

2 men in Indonesia caned dozens of times for gay...

May 23, 2017

Two men in Indonesia's Aceh province have been publicly caned dozens of times for consensual gay...

News

Sign up now!