Self-Radicalised Persons In Singapore

The Ministry of Home Affairs said on Wednesday that it had detained a 19-year-old self-radicalised Singaporean student who was planning to join terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and planning attacks here, and arrested another radicalised youth, aged 17, for further investigations.

The two were the youngest individuals to have been picked up for being self-radicalised in Singapore.

Self-radicalisation is when individuals are influenced by terrorist ideology through reading or viewing materials, usually online, rather than being recruited by terrorist groups. Instances of this happening in Singapore date back almost a decade.

We take a look at these past instances of self-radicalised individuals who were detained under Singapore’s Internal Security Act and how they got drawn in to radical ideology.

1. Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader

The former lawyer was detained in 2007 at the age of 28.

He went to top schools like Raffles Institution and National Junior College before graduating from the National University of Singapore.

He practised law at a top firm here and later became a polytechnic lecturer.

His militant views were shaped by the Internet and in 2006, he left for a Middle East country to learn Arabic for communicating with “mujahidin” fighters.

Very soon, the extremist propaganda on the Net so influenced him that he bought a plane ticket to Pakistan, where he planned to get training for a militant jihad or holy war and to go into Afghanistan and join the Taleban.

He was released in 2010 under Restriction Order, but rearrested in 2012 after he was found to have reverted to his past interest in undertaking militant jihad abroad.

While still under the post-release supervision regime, Abdul Basheer made enquiries as to how he could leave Singapore, illegally if necessary, to pursue his earlier agenda. He had made plans to take up arms against foreign military presence in places including Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Syria.

Factors contributing to his relapse include the surfing of radical websites that propagated virulent extremist ideology, and political events in Middle-Eastern countries

He is still under detention.

2. Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid

The full-time national serviceman was detained in 2010 at the age of 20.

He had zealously surfed the Internet for jihadist propaganda and videos while studying in a local polytechnic and later made contact online with a known radical, Anwar Al-Awlaki, and with an Al-Qaeda recruiter who encouraged him to fight in Afghanistan.

He also searched for bomb-making information online, and posted a self-made video glorifying martyrdom and justifying suicide bombing. He was undergoing section leader training in SAF’s Pasir Laba Camp when he was arrested.

Fadil was released under Restriction Order in 2012.

3. Muhammad Zamri Abdullah and Maksham Mohd Shah

They were both 26 at the time their detentions were announced in 2008.

Zamri was self-radicalised through propaganda in publications, videos and the Internet. He had even gone overseas to join a “mujahidin network”, so he could wage armed jihad overseas and die a martyr.

Like Zamri, Maksham also actively consumed radical propaganda in various media.

Inspired by news footages that showed Molotov cocktails being used in attacks, he then experimented with making improvised explosive devices using material found in sparklers. He even travelled overseas to source for other materials commonly used to make such devices.

In 2012, Zamri was released under Restriction Order.

In 2013, Maksham was released on Suspension Direction, meaning he may be detained again if he does not meet conditions of his release.

4. Asyrani Hussaini

He was 24 when he was detained in 201 3 after trying to join Thai rebels in their armed insurgency.

Asyrani had been radicalised by Internet literature and “pursued specific action” to participate in the insurgency, where Muslim separatists have been battling for autonomy.

He was unsuccessful in attempts to link up with the rebels, and entered another regional country – which the ministry did not name – illegally.

There, he was arrested and convicted of immigration offences, and deported back to Singapore.

He is still under detention.

5. Muhammad Thahir Shaik Dawood

He was placed on Restriction Order in 2010 at the age of 27.

While this does not amount to detention, he had to abide by several conditions. For instance, they cannot change jobs, move or leave Singapore without the prior approval of the director of the Internal Security Department.

He had gone to Yemen to seek out Awlaki, an English-speaking United States-born radical cleric, with the intention of joining an armed jihad overseas. He also enrolled in an educational institution run by an associate of Osama bin Laden’s. However, he failed to get in touch with Awlaki.

After some time in Yemen, Thahir had a change of heart about armed jihad. He came round to the view that there were other ways of doing jihad, like pursuing knowledge and performing good deeds. He also withdrew from the Yemeni educational institution.

The RO placed on him was allowed to lapse in 2015.



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