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Malaysia

Malaysia’s former ‘most eligible bachelor’ dies fighting for IS in Syria

  • Australia’s intelligence agency confirms death of Malaysian-Australian former part-time model Amirrudin Hud Rashid Milson
  • He joins more than 220 Australians who have left to fight for IS overseas, as radicalisation becomes an increasing worry in the country
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2018, 9:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 10:39am

In 2010, Amirrudin Hud Rashid Milson was voted Malaysia’s most eligible bachelor by popular women’s magazine Cleo. Tall and well-built, the half-Malaysian half-Australian mass communications graduate and part-time model hoped to become a TV presenter – but ended up dead in 2016 while fighting for Islamic State in Syria.

An Australian daily reported that Amirrudin, who went by Amir, had stepped on a landmine while carrying another fighter in Syria. The death was confirmed by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

[Amir was] handsome, outgoing, extremely friendly, brave and courageous

The news report quoted Amir’s friend who described him as “handsome, outgoing, extremely friendly, brave and courageous … a great father and great husband”, adding that he had settled all his debts before leaving Australia – including divorcing his wife, who got custody of their son – in 2014.

“We heard when he died. He was carrying a fighter on his shoulder when he stepped on a landmine. That was it,” his friend was reported as saying.

Amir joins more than 220 Australians who have left to fight for IS overseas. Australian media reports that to date 68 have been killed. 

According to the original report, his name came up in a separate investigation into another suspected radical, which is why the news of his death has only just emerged.

Amir, who in early Cleo features expressed the desire to join politics and a soft spot for Miranda Kerr and then-partner Orlando Bloom, began attending prayer groups in 2014. Although he had a large family based in Perth, media reports say they were unaware of his plans.

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The radicalisation of young Australians has been a point of concern for the country’s government, which has instituted countering violent extremism (CVE) programmes. Its security and intelligence wing has reported an increase in violent activity from both left- and right-wing extremist groups, and believes that “several hundred” Australians advocate “violent Islamist ideologies”.

However, ASIO said in a 2013 report to parliament that white supremacists and right-wing groups in Australia rarely engage in violence – a narrative that buttresses Muslim groups’ accusations that the country feeds radicalisation through racist policies, a claim which followed controversial anti-terror raids in 2014.

Studies have found that Muslims in Australia face a high level of discrimination, a factor which experts believe could make youths more vulnerable to radicalisation.