The Ministry for Communications and Information (MCI) announced on Friday (July 22) that the newspaper, Al Fatihin has been gazetted as a prohibited publication under the Undesirable Publications Act.
Al Fatihin is published by Furat Media, an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affiliated media agency.
According to reports, the newspaper, which was launched online last Ramadhan, has been circulated across South-East Asia including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, and southern Philippines.
In its press release, MCI writes that ISIS is a terrorist group which poses a serious threat to the security of Singapore. ISIS twists the Islamic teachings towards digression. It further states that its propaganda has a clear intention to radicalise and recruit Southeast Asians to join ISIS.
“ISIS’ intention to use the newspaper, Al Fatihin, to spread extremist ideology in the region is deplorable. The contents of Al Fatihin and the fact that it is published in Bahasa Indonesia, which is used by many in this region, confirm the objectives behind the publication to influence the people in this region and to cause disharmony,” says Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.
Dr Ibrahim also said, “Extremism has no place in Singapore – it cannot and must not take root here. We take a very strong stance against terrorist propaganda and we will take decisive action as necessary. Hence, I have instructed for the publication to be prohibited in Singapore,”
Members of public are told that distributing the newspaper by any means will be an offence. And it will also be an offence for any person who possess or come into possession, but fail to deliver the copy to the Police. Those convicted for such offence can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to three years, or both.
With this new ban, there are 18 publications being prohibited in Singapore.
Apart from Al Fatihin, the other 17 publications are
- Men Only
- Girls of Penthouse
- All publications by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society
- All publications by International Bible Students Association
In November 2015, MDA removed the ban on 240 publications, which ranged from decades-old anti-colonial and communist material to adult interest books.