2 Singaporeans planning to join ISIS detained, 2 others on Restriction Orders: MHA

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul in 2014.
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul in 2014.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Two Singaporeans, who intended to travel to Syria to fight for terror group Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), have been detained under the Internal Security Act, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Friday (Aug 19).

Rosli Hamzah, a 50-year-old car washer, and Mohamed Omar Mahadi, a 33-year-old waste truck driver, received two-year detention orders this month, said the ministry in a statement.

Both men had also sought information online on how to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS. Rosli had searched for possible travel routes to Syria, while Omar had contacted militants for travel advice.

One of the militants was a citizen of a South-east Asian country and he was later killed in combat in Syria, said the ministry, without elaborating.

Both men became radicalised after listening to a Batam-based religious radio station called Radio Hang. The station, which claims a following in Johor Baru and Singapore, sometimes features speakers who preach extreme religious views.

Rosli began listening to the radio station in 2009, and was introduced to ISIS propaganda in August 2014 by "social media contacts who shared his religious orientation", said the ministry.

"He became interested in armed jihad and ISIS, and as he perused more ISIS propaganda on the Internet, his support for ISIS grew.

"He eventually became convinced that ISIS militants were fighting for Islam, and that their beheading of 'enemies' was religiously permissible,'' it added.

Omar 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 ISIS-related materials, and he became a believer of ISIS' warped ideology.

"By 2014, Omar was convinced that ISIS was fighting to bring glory to Islam, and that it was his religious duty to become an ISIS fighter in Syria," said the ministry. "He was prepared to die a martyr."

Omar's wife Dian Faezah Ismail is one of two Singaporeans placed under Restriction Orders, which curtails their movement and activities.

The 34-year-old, like her husband, came to believe that the terror group's violent actions are legitimate. She also helped him in his plans to relocate their family to Syria, said MHA.

There is no evidence at this point that their children were radicalised, the ministry added.

Dian has also moderated her views and will be undergoing religious counselling, it said.

The other is Mohamad Reiney Noor Mohd, a building technician. The 26-year-old had decided in 2013 to adopt a more fundamentalist form of religious practice, and in 2014 encountered radical ISIS-related materials online.

After viewing ISIS' propaganda, he subscribed to its violent cause, aspired to fight for the terror group and was prepared to die in battle as he thought it would make him a martyr.

Reiney also intended to bring his family to Syria and had thought of saving money for the trip, said MHA.

Fortunately, he decided to drop his intention to travel there after he was dissuaded from doing so by a family member.

"Reiney has since moderated his positive views about ISIS after reading negative reports about the group," said MHA.

"He has also set aside the intention to travel to Syria to join ISIS after he was admonished by a close relative that it was 'forbidden' for him to do so because the fighting in Syria did not concern him and he would be placing his family in harm's way," it said.

MHA said Reiney will undergo religious counselling while on Restriction Order.

The latest arrests mean there are currently 18 Singaporeans and four Bangladeshi nationals now on Detention Orders, and another 24 Singaporeans on Restriction Orders.