SINGAPORE - The recent propaganda video by ISIS featuring Singaporean fighter Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad is yet another attempt by the terror group to spread its militant message by misrepresenting and exploiting Islamic teachings and sentiments, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) has said.
"These messages are clearly against the teachings of Islam," it said.
Singapore Mufti Fatris Bakaram added: "The video is full of distortions and falsehood, deliberately designed to mislead Muslim viewers into sympathising with ISIS."
In a statement on Wednesday(Sept 27), Muis said it had reviewed the 3 1/2-min clip and urged viewers who come across such videos to consult credible Islamic scholars and teachers so that they are not misled by the false narratives of groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
These religious teachers on the Asatizah Recognition Scheme, which allows only accredited teachers to offer religious instruction in Singapore, can explain to them the true meanings of verses and prophetic traditions.
Muis added that it is working with religious teachers to combat such narratives online and help the community identify falsehoods.
"Knowledge is the only vaccine to build resilience against such insidious attacks," it added.
The video appeared online over the weekend and on Sunday (Sept 24), the Ministry of Home Affairs said Shahdan left Singapore in 2014 to work in the Middle East, where he is believed to have been radicalised.
On Tuesday (Sept 26), it noted that he is the third Singaporean known to have joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and released further details of his background and how he turned radical, as well as of his attempts to get his family to join him in ISIS' self-declared caliphate.
In the clip, Shahdan - who had fought for ISIS on the frontlines - called on viewers to rally around the group and join its fight. He also praised fighters for the group in East Asia, urging them to "sacrifice all that is precious" to show "Allah what he loves from you".
On Wednesday, Dr Fatris noted that unfortunately, the video "is only one of many similar messages which can be found on many websites and on social media".
"These distortions are dangerous as they misinterpret and manipulate the teachings of Islam, to influence and convert those who may not be able discern the truth from the untruths," he said.
Dr Fatris added that Shahdan is, unfortunately, one such individual who has been brainwashed by such dangerous views and doctrines.
"We must not let those like him lead even more astray," he said. "The Singapore Muslim community must stay vigilant, with parents, relatives and friends having extremely important roles to help anyone who show signs of being influenced.