Muis: Close support network can be a bulwark against radical influences

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim greeting a congregant after prayers at Al-Mukminin Mosque on June 25, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Friends and family members must be on the lookout for and provide support to loved ones who might be influenced by extremists, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said.

It pointed out that a "close support network" can be a shield against radical influences.

Commenting on the arrests of Imran Kassim, 34, and Shakirah Begam Abdul Wahab, 23, Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, Muis' director of religious policy and development, said yesterday that Muis is developing the capabilities of religious teachers to counter the online reach of groups like ISIS.

"If we come across family members or friends who appear to be exhibiting or promoting such ideas, or are in doubt about what is being taught, we should seek clarification from credible sources," he added. Muis also credited those close to Imran who saw the danger posed and alerted the authorities after he tried to influence them.

As for Shakirah, who had sought out and stayed in contact with foreign fighters, Dr Nazirudin said the community needs to develop a "greater awareness of how radical groups attempt to recruit individuals so that we do not fall into their trap".

"A close support network is a good shield which helps build resilience against such influences."

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim also thanked the public for their patience and solidarity in the battle against extremism. "We are encouraged by your support, and will press on together for the good of Singapore and all Singaporeans," he said in a Facebook post.

Danson Cheong

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline Muis: Close support network can be a bulwark against radical influences. Subscribe