Two Singaporeans planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) this month. The government says intended to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State has been detained under a colonial-era law that allows suspects to be held without trial.
Singapore has been on heightened vigilance since Indonesian police arrested a group of men they believed were plotting a rocket attack on the wealthy city-state with the help of a Syrian-based Islamic State militant.
Rosli, who worked as a car washer, “became convinced that ISIS terrorists were fighting for Islam and that their beheading of ‘enemies’ was religiously permissible,” the ministry said, referring to the ISIS group by another name.
Omar, a waste truck driver, had made preparations with his wife and children to travel to Syria to join the ISIS group, the statement said.
One of them is Omar’s wife, Dian Faezah Ismail, 34, the first woman to be dealt with under the ISA for terror activity in recent years.
The ministry said the two detained men had sought information online on how to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS.
Between 2007 and 2014, five citizens were detained and six placed on Restriction Orders. But since January last year, eight citizens have been detained and five placed on Restriction Orders.
Rosli searched for possible travel routes to Syria, while Omar contacted militants for travel advice.
One of the militants was from a South-east Asian country and was later killed in combat in Syria, the ministry said without elaborating.
Both Rosli and Omar became radicalized after listening to Radio HangFM, a Batam-based religious radio station that features speakers who preach extreme views.
He became convinced that ISIS militants were fighting for Islam, and their beheading of ‘enemies’ was faithfully allowed.
He was stopped for investigation last month when he returned from Batam after visiting his Indonesian wife and children, and was arrested.
As for Omar, he started to listen to the same station in 2010, and came across propaganda by radical Al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki in 2012. It led him to read more radical materials online, including from ISIS, and he became a believer of ISIS’ warped ideology.
Omar’s wife, like her husband, came to believe the terror group’s violent actions were legitimate, and helped him in his plans to relocate their family to Syria.
There is no evidence at this point that their children were radicalised, the ministry said. Dian has moderated her views and will undergo religious counselling, it said.
Also placed on Restriction Order is Mohamad Reiney Noor Mohd, 26, a building technician related to Dian and Omar by marriage. He decided in 2013 to adopt a more fundamentalist form of religious practice, and in 2014 came across radical ISIS-related material online.
There are now 18 Singaporeans and four Bangladesh nationals on Detention Orders, and 24 Singaporeans on Restriction Orders.