JOLO, PHILIPPINES:  (FILES) Dated 27 May 2000 file picture shows Al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf gunmen guard a mosque in Bandang village, Jolo island where their leaders and group of negotiators meet for the release of 21 Asian and Western hostages.  Jolo, one of the Philippines southernmost islands boasts rich land and marine natural resources but serious peace and order problems have left the island mired in poverty. The Tausogs, the native Muslim tribes who make up the majority have  tradition for fierce martial courage and fondness for weaponry which has helped fuel the frequent explosions of violence in Jolo ranging from Muslim separatist wars, mass kidnapping campaigns, clan feuds and political disputes.   AFP PHOTO    ROMEO GACAD  (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: ROMEO GACAD/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
JOLO, PHILIPPINES: (FILES) Dated 27 May 2000 file picture shows Al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf gunmen guard a mosque in Bandang village, Jolo island where their leaders and group of negotiators meet for the release of 21 Asian and Western hostages. Jolo, one of the Philippines southernmost islands boasts rich land and marine natural resources but serious peace and order problems have left the island mired in poverty. The Tausogs, the native Muslim tribes who make up the majority have tradition for fierce martial courage and fondness for weaponry which has helped fuel the frequent explosions of violence in Jolo ranging from Muslim separatist wars, mass kidnapping campaigns, clan feuds and political disputes. AFP PHOTO ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
PHOTO: Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
PHOTO: AP
FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Story highlights

ISIS foothold in Southeast Asia is growing, warns Joseph Chinyong Liow

The terror group is especially active in the southern Philippines

Government inaction and widespread corruption has given ISIS space to operate in, Liow says

Editor’s Note: Joseph Chinyong Liow is Dean and Professor of Comparative and International Politics at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang University, Singapore. He is also Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asia Studies and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. The views expressed below are solely his own.

(CNN) —  

Since videos of Southeast Asian recruits fighting under the black flag of ISIS emerged two years ago, the appeal of the terror group has been gradually growing in the region.

Several militant groups in Indonesia have already sworn fealty to ISIS, as did those behind the Jakarta bombing, while in Malaysia, “lone wolf” ISIS sympathizers have been active on social media. Several hundred Southeast Asians are now in Syria and Iraq, where they have formed Katibah Nusantara, which claims to represent Southeast Asians fighting for the ISIS cause.

An upsurge in ISIS-related activity in the southern Philippines has heightened concerns that the region could soon become a de facto “wilayat,” or province of the “Islamic State.”

The unlikely godfather of ISIS

Philippine sanctuary

A wilayat in the Philippines could provide sanctuary for Southeast Asian militants returning from conflict zones in the Middle East, or those that failed to make it there in the first place, who would find the region a convenient and hospitable transit point from which to return home.

What would be provided would not just be sanctuary, but an opportunity to regroup, establish connections, build networks, train and plan operations. Indeed, there is evidence some such networks are already taking place.

Through interlocutors, Bahrumsyah, the self-proclaimed leader of “ISIS Indonesia” – currently based in Syria – has attempted to purchase guns from Ansar Khalifah Philippines militants on the south Philippines island of Mindanao for delivery to pro-ISIS groups based in Poso, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

A wilayat would require ISIS control of territory. Abu Sayyaf, the more prominent pro-ISIS group in the Philippines, has an entrenched position on the southern islands of Sulu and Basilan. Despite massive injections of cash and U.S. special forces advisors over the last decade and a half, the Philippine government has barely been able to make a dent on the capabilities of the extremist groups, let alone dislodge them from the region.

Abu Sayyaf: Islamist extremists or profiteering criminals?

Fertile ground

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Poor governance in Southeast Asia and the inability or reluctance of political leaders to take decisive action against those that use religion to perpetuate and justify hate speech and violence has created conditions for virulent ideologies like ISIS to find appeal.