ISA arrests: Muis strengthening efforts to counter ISIS and other terror groups

SINGAPORE - The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) is strengthening efforts to counter groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it said in response to the Ministry of Home Affairs' statement on the arrest of two Singaporeans under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Imran Kassim, 34, the managing director of a logistics company, and administrative assistant Shakirah Begam Abdul Wahab, 23, were arrested in July this year.

Imran was detained under the ISA for "intending to undertake armed violence overseas" with the ISIS terror group, while Shakirah was issued a restriction order for "initiating and maintaining contact with foreign terrorist fighters".

Imran's case "is a reminder to the Singaporean Muslim community on the importance of maintaining vigilance and exercising caution and care when encountering extremist propaganda", Muis said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 7).

It said that Imran had tried to galvanise support for ISIS, but did not manage to influence those close to him.

Instead, they "recognised the seriousness of the situation and the potential danger posed, and alerted the authorities", Muis said.

Commenting on Shakirah's case, Muis' director of religious policy and development Nazirudin Mohd Nasir said foreign groups employ "very sophisticated tactics to reach out to and recruit supporters via social media".

 

"They are quick to spot individuals who may be seeking attention and display vulnerabilities, and seek to establish personal links which they may then exploit," he said.

"While Shakirah was thankfully not radicalised by the religious ideology of ISIS, she nevertheless showed herself to be open to being influenced by their recruiters. We need to have a greater awareness of how radical groups attempt to recruit individuals, so that we do not fall into their trap."

He added that a close support network is a good shield which helps build resilience against such influences.

Muis is "strengthening efforts to develop the capabilities of our asatizah (Islamic Teachers) in countering the online reach of groups such as ISIS which are propagating extremist ideas promoting violence", Dr Nazirudin added.

"In the meantime, if we come across family members or friends who appear to be exhibiting or promoting such ideas to us, or are in doubt about what is being taught, we should seek clarification from credible sources," he said.