Government bans newspaper published by ISIS

A member loyal to Islamic State waves a flag in Raqqa.
A member loyal to Islamic State waves a flag in Raqqa.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Government has banned a hardline newspaper published by a media agency affiliated to terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday (July 22) gazetted Al Fatihin, which is produced by Furat Media, as a prohibited publication under the Undesirable Publications Act.

This makes it an offence to distribute the newspaper, which is produced in Bahasa Indonesia, by any means. It will also be an offence for any person to possess the newspaper, or to have a copy but fail to deliver it to the Police, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said in a statement.

"ISIS is a terrorist group which poses a serious threat to the security of Singapore. Al Fatihin is yet another step by ISIS to spread its propaganda abroad, with a clear intention to radicalise and recruit Southeast Asians to join ISIS," the statement added.

 
 

"The Singapore Government has zero tolerance for terrorist propaganda and has therefore decided to prohibit Al Fatihin in Singapore."

Al Fatihin was launched online last month, and no physical copies are known to have been distributed in Singapore. Its title, Al Fatihin, means "The Conqueror" in Arabic.

The 20-page newsletter was deliberately launched in Ramadan, but distorts Islamic teachings to call on readers to commit violence, seek martyrdom and kill disbelievers and Muslims who oppose ISIS.

Malaysia's Home Ministry said earlier this month it would take action against those caught producing and distributing the publication.

In the MCI statement, Dr Yaacob said ISIS' intention to use Al Fatihin to spread its extremist ideology in the region was "deplorable".

"The contents of Al Fatihin and the fact that it is published in Bahasa Indonesia, which is used by many in this region, confirm the objectives behind the publication to influence the people in this region and to cause disharmony," he said.

"Extremism has no place in Singapore - it cannot and must not take root here. We take a very strong stance against terrorist propaganda and we will take decisive action as necessary."

Under the Undesirable Publications Act, those convicted of publishing, distributing, or reproducing any prohibited publication - or an extract from it - can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to three years, or face both penalties. Subsequent offenders may be jailed for up to four years.