Former religious teacher and student placed on Restriction Order under ISA

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean former religious teacher and student pair who held radical beliefs promoting violence and views detrimental to Singapore's cohesion has each been issued a Restriction Order (RO) under the Internal Security Act.

Murad Mohd Said, 46, was placed on an RO on Dec 5 last year while his student, 56-year-old technician Razali Abas, was arrested in September last year and placed on an RO in October.

Murad was a freelance religious teacher until he was struck off from the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) in May last year for his segregationist ideologies that contravened the ARS Code of Ethics.

In a statement on Wednesday (Jan 16), the Ministry of Home Affairs said Murad was issued with an RO because he propagated beliefs promoting violence and views detrimental to the cohesion of Singapore's multiracial and multi-religious society.

It said he had taught his students that it was compulsory to kill apostates, who he defined broadly as those who did not believe in Islam, Sufis, Shi'ites and those who had renounced the religion.

He had also taught them that Muslims were allowed to defend themselves by waging "armed jihad" against "infidels who persecuted them".

"Murad also encouraged his students to withdraw from Singapore's secular society, disregard secular laws and adhere to the rulings of Syariah law instead," said MHA.

 
 

The ministry added that even after his ARS accreditation was cancelled by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), Murad continued to spread his divisive views online.

"Murad's binary 'us versus them' worldview and violent teachings, which he propagated to his students and followers, could have led them to develop extremist views, as well as lead to inter-and intra-faith tensions," said the MHA.

"His statements on the primacy of Syariah law over secular laws also undermines Singapore's secular nation-state system."

The Straits Times understands that Murad was the principal of Madrasah Al-Arabiah Al-Islamiah (MAI) from 2004 to 2006.

Razali was introduced to Murad's teachings in 2012 and attended his classes, said MHA.

The "exclusivist religious teachings" in the lessons made Razali more susceptible to other radical and violent influences that he later found on social media.

Over time, Razali became convinced it was legitimate to kill those who he felt were oppressors of Islam, including non-Muslims, said MHA.

It added that he began to seek out people with "militant-looking" profiles on Facebook, viewing them as heroes who made sacrifices that he could not make himself.

MHA said Razali was issued with an RO "to prevent him from continuing his downward spiral into extremism".

A person on an RO may not change his residence, employment or travel out of Singapore without official approval. He also cannot issue public statements or join organisations without approval.

He usually continues to undergo rehabilitation, likecounselling, to steer him away from radical ideology and extremism.

The ministry also said, in an update, that the RO issued against Singaporean Jauhari Abdullah was allowed to lapse on Sept 14 last year.

He was a senior member of terror cell Jemaah Islamiyah who was detained in September 2002, and released in September 2012 before being placed on an RO.