The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has announced that a 44-year-old Singaporean has been arrested in Singapore and subsequently detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in July 2016 for terrorism-related activities.
MHA has said that Zulfikar bin Mohamad Shariff has been served with an Order of Detention (OD) for a period of two years, in view of the high level of the terrorism threat that Singapore currently faces, and the global terrorism threat posed by ISIS, Zulfikar's promotion of violence and ISIS and his radicalising influence pose a security threat to Singapore.
According to sources, he was taken into custody when he crossed the border into Singapore on 1 July and is charged today after being held for 30 days while under investigation for postings over Facebook. His family members were notified earlier about the pending detention order.
According to MHA's press release, Zulfikar bin Mohamad Shariff is said to have made use of social media to propagate and spread his radical messages. He considered his propagation of radical material as a form of jihad, by way of creating awareness of ISIS and promoting armed jihad. It is also said that Zulfikar has contributed to the radicalisation of at least two other Singaporeans.
It is said that Zulfikar has supported terrorism and the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He made numerous Facebook postings glorifying and promoting ISIS and their violent actions, while exploiting religion to legitimise the terrorist activities of ISIS.
In a photo produced by MHA, a photograph shows Zulfikar with his children mimicking a pose commonly adopted by jihadi fighters, while standing in front of a black flag that is commonly used by jihadi terrorist groups.
MHA states that Zulfikar has admitted that besides his intention to promote ISIS and armed jihad, he also wanted his online followers to reject the Western secular democratic nation-state system and instead establish an Islamic caliphate in its place, governed by Syariah law.
It is also stated that Zulfikar believes that violence should be used to achieve this goal if necessary. To this end, Zulfikar had actively looked into holding training programmes aimed at radicalising young Singaporeans so that they would be persuaded into joining his extremist agenda. It was also for the objective of realising the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate that he set up an online group called "Al-Makhazin" in 2013, and other "Al-Makhazin" Facebook platforms for Muslims to counter the Western media, while residing in Australia.
According to MHA, Zulfikar has admitted that he had an ulterior motive for setting up a Facebook page called "Al-Makhazin Singapore" which he used as a platform to agitate on Muslim issues in Singapore and attack some Singaporean Muslims who did not share his views. His real agenda was in fact to provoke Muslims in Singapore into pushing for the replacement of the democratic system with an Islamic state in Singapore. He said that he hid his ulterior motive from the Singaporean "Al-Makhazin Singapore" members.
It said, "The Government takes a very serious view of efforts to undermine Singapore's constitutional democracy, and will take firm and decisive action against any person who engages in such activities."
Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam commented on the same day of the announcement that individuals who preached extremism and motivate others to commit violence were more dangerous than those who inflict physical harm and kill.
Other than the detention of Zulfikar, restriction orders (RO) have been issued against two individuals, Mohamed Saiddhin bin Abdullah, 33 and a 17-year-old. The RO is to prevent them from going further down the path of radicalism and violence.
A person issued with RO must abide by several conditions and restrictions. For example, he is not permitted to change his residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore, without the prior approval of Director, ISD. The individual issued with RO also cannot issue public statements, address public meetings or print, distribute, contribute to any publication, hold office in, or be a member of any organisation, association or group without the prior approval of Director, ISD.
For the full press release by MHA, visit this url link.