Two Singaporeans detained for making plans to travel to Syria to join ISIS

Two Singaporeans were detained separately under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in August for planning to join militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and take up arms.
Two Singaporeans were detained separately under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in August for planning to join militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and take up arms.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Two Singaporeans were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in August for planning to join militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and take up arms, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Wednesday (Sept 30).

The two men were detained in separate cases. They are Muhammad Shamin Mohamed Sidek, 29, who was previously convicted for inciting violence on social media, and Muhammad Harith Jailani, 18, who was radicalised by ISIS propaganda online.

Shamin was a self-radicalised individual who was influenced by ISIS' online propaganda.

In May this year, he was convicted and sentenced to three months' jail for inciting religious violence through his pro-ISIS postings on social media.

"As he continued to express unstinting support for ISIS throughout his three-month imprisonment, he was arrested under the ISA in July 2015 for investigations to assess if he posed a threat to Singapore's security," the ministry said in a statement.

Investigations by the Internal Security Department found that Shamin planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS once he had raised enough money to fund the trip. He also considered fighting alongside a militant group in the region aligned with ISIS if he could not join ISIS itself.

The ministry added that Shamin was not deterred by his arrest under the ISA, and said he would pursue his plans to join ISIS after his release from detention. He added that he was prepared to die in the course of defending the "caliphate" ISIS had declared.

As for Harith, the ministry said he was radicalised by ISIS' online propaganda.

"He was prepared to be trained by ISIS to fight and kill the group's enemies, and to die in the process so that he would receive divine rewards for dying as a martyr," it added.

The ministry said that as part of his preparations, Harith had collected information on how he could travel to Syria, and had attempted to recruit those around him to support ISIS' cause and to join the terror group together with him.

"The detentions of Shamin and Harith underline the persistent ISIS threat and the threat posed by self-radicalised Singaporeans," the ministry said.

"A few of the Singaporeans who have been detained had even been prepared to carry out terrorist attacks in Singapore."

Two other Singaporeans were detained under the ISA earlier this year for trying to join ISIS.

M Arifil Azim Putra Norja'i, 19, was detained in April for trying to join ISIS. He had also made plans to kill the Prime Minister and President if he could not travel to Syria.

Mustafa Sultan Ali , 51, was detained in July. He had been arrested by Turkish authorities and deported while trying to cross into Syria to join ISIS.

In its release today, the ministry added: " The Government takes a very serious view of any form of support for terrorism, including but not limited to the use of violence, and will take firm and decisive action against any person who engages in such activities.

"Anyone who is aware that someone is involved in terrorism-related activities, or who sees suspicious activities, should promptly inform the Internal Security Department (1800-2626-473) or the Police (999)."