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40-year-old Singaporean Muslim detained under ISA for alleged religious radicalism

A 40-year-old Singaporean was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after investigations implied that he was radicalised and harboured the intention to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group ISIS.

In a press release on Tuesday (25 June), the MHA revealed that the man was arrested way back in January 2019.

The MHA also noted that between January and March 2019, another two were issued with Restriction Orders (RO) under the ISA for their involvement in terrorism-related conduct.

Separately, in March and June 2019, four Singaporeans were released from detention with restrictions, and the RO issued against one Singaporean was allowed to lapse.

Order of Detention (OD)

The 40-year-old Imran bin Mahmood was an unemployed Singaporean and, according to the ministry, his radicalisation began sometime in 2013 when he started listening to online lectures by foreign religious preachers, including those who preached about the imminent coming of the end-times.

Through his exposure to the radical online material, Imran allegedly became a strong supporter of ISIS’s violent objectives and actions.

MHA said that, Imran had developed a desire to live under ISIS’s so-called caliphate in Syria/Iraq by 2014 and researched on viable entry points for himself into Syria.

“He was willing to take up arms to defend or expand ISIS’s territory, and believed that he would achieve martyrdom if he died fighting for ISIS,” said the ministry.

It is also alleged that Imran had questioned ISIS’s legitimacy when it started to suffer territorial losses in 2017, however, he did not denounce ISIS.

It is said that Imran continued to believe that it was his religious duty to fight alongside any group trying to establish a rightful caliphate in Syria, and that his radical views were legitimate.

He was also prepared to join militant and terrorist groups involved in the Syrian conflict, namely the Free Syrian Army and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (an Al-Qaeda aligned faction), the ministry added.

Restriction Orders

Singaporean Mohamad Fairuz bin Junaidi (Fairuz), a 39-year-old food deliveryman, was issued with a RO by MHA in March 2019 after its investigations found that he was influenced by ISIS’s radical ideology and had considered travelling to Syria to join ISIS.

Fairuz was emotionally affected by reports on the killing of Sunni Muslims in the Syrian civil war, therefore, he considered travelling to Syria to join ISIS and was prepared to take up arms and fight alongside ISIS.

According to the ministry, he believed that he would be a martyr if he died while doing so.  He also refused to believe mainstream media reporting about ISIS’s atrocities, and saw them as fabrications to discredit the terrorist group.

However, Fairuz began to have doubts about ISIS’s legitimacy in 2017 after he read negative reports about ISIS on Facebook and was also swayed by criticisms against ISIS.

The ministry stated that he will undergo counselling/rehabilitation while on RO.

Singaporean Rasidah binte Mazlan (Rasidah), a 62-year-old production technician, was issued with a RO in March 2019, after investigations established that she had been in contact with multiple foreign entities suspected of involvement in terrorism-related activities, including individuals who had expressed support for ISIS.

The ministry stated that investigations showed that Rasidah’s contacts with these individuals were mainly driven by her deep sympathy for Muslims suffering in overseas conflicts.  Her indiscriminate online activity rendered her vulnerable to adverse influence and recruitment by terrorist elements who pose a threat to Singapore.

As such, she was placed on a RO to prevent her from resuming her contacts with such elements, and to allow her to undergo counselling/rehabilitation, said MHA.

Release of ISA detainees

Four Singaporean ISA detainees have been released from detention in March and June 2019, who are 50-year-old Abd Rahim bin Abdul Rahman, a former Jemaah Islamiyah member who was detained in March 2012; 30-year-old Asyrani bin Hussaini, a self-radicalised individual who was detained in March 2013 after he attempted to participate in the armed insurgency in Southern Thailand; 24-year-old Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, a self-radicalised individual who was detained in June 2017 for supporting ISIS and harbouring the intention to make her way to Syria to join the group; and 26-year-old Muhammad Khairul bin Mohamed, a self-radicalised individual who was detained in June 2017 for harbouring the intention to undertake armed violence in Syria.

The ministry stated that the four had shown good progress in their rehabilitation and assessed to no longer pose a security threat that require preventive detention.

It said that Abd Rahim’s detention was suspended with a Suspension Direction (SD) in March 2019. Asyrani was released on a RO when his OD expired in March 2019, while Izzah and Khairul were released on ROs when their ODs expired in June 2019.

Lapse of Restriction Order

The RO issued in June 2015 against a then 17-year-old Singaporean youth for supporting ISIS was allowed to lapse upon its expiry in June 2019 as he has shown good progress in his rehabilitation.