Radicalised Singaporean IT engineer detained under Internal Security Act

A radicalised Singaporean engineer, who wanted to travel to Syria to take up arms in support of the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman, 33, was detained last month after investigations showed he was radicalised, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement yesterday.

The information technology (IT) engineer, who had sought religious knowledge online since 2013, was found to be following the lectures of several foreign radical ideologues, said the ministry.

They include radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an Al-Qaeda ideologue who was killed in 2011 in a US drone strike in Yemen, and several other clerics who have been arrested or jailed for inciting violence or espousing support for terrorism.

Ahmed "grew to believe that the use of violence in the name of religion was justified" and by late 2016 was convinced he should fight and die as a martyr for ISIS in the terror group's self-proclaimed caliphate in the Middle East, said the ministry.

He maintained regular contact with pro-ISIS foreigners on social media to keep up with the developments overseas and also tried to influence some of his foreign online contacts to follow the violent teachings of the radical ideologues he had been following because he wanted them to support ISIS.

Commenting on the detention in a Facebook post, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said: "This new case shows that the threats of self-radicalisation and terrorism remain real...We must stand together to protect our peace and harmony in Singapore."

Mr Masagos, who is Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, also reiterated the Muslim community's firm stance against extremist teachings.

He urged people to look out for one another and to refer those who show signs of radicalisation to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), Religious Rehabilitation Group or the police.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who noted the Muslim community's efforts in fighting radicalism, said in a Facebook post: "The actions of the misguided few must not be allowed to define an entire community. We must stand together with our Muslim friends, because every one of us has a role to play in upholding trust among communities in Singapore."

Muis, also weighing in, warned of the dangers of seeking religious knowledge online and called on the Muslim community to turn to credible sources such as religious teachers registered under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme.

Meanwhile, a housewife who was radicalised online and had wanted to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS, was released from detention in July after her Order of Detention was suspended, said MHA.

Munavar Baig Amina Begam, 39, "no longer posed an imminent security threat that required her to be placed in preventive detention", it added. Instead, she has been issued with a Suspension Direction, which requires her to abide by several conditions and restrictions.

For example, she is not allowed to change her residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore without the prior approval of the director of the Internal Security Department (ISD).

She also cannot issue public statements, address public meetings or print, distribute, contribute to any publication, or hold office in or be a member of any organisation, association or group without the prior approval of the ISD director.

Amina, a naturalised citizen from India with two children, was radicalised online and used social media to promote terrorism. She was detained last November for supporting ISIS and harbouring the intention to join the terror group in Syria. MHA had said her husband was not aware of her radicalism.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2018, with the headline Radicalised Singaporean IT engineer detained under Internal Security Act. Subscribe