Singapore Arrests and Deports Malaysian Man Over Links to Islamic State Militants

Singapore has arrested and deported a Malaysian man over alleged links to the Islamic State (Isis) militant group. Singapore's authorities said the 34-year-old was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in July last year.

The Internal Security Department (ISD) said on Tuesday that the man, Mohd Firdaus Kamal Intdzam, has been repatriated to Malaysia after the investigations were completed.

The ISD said it got inputs from the Malaysian Special Branch (MSB) during the investigation into the radicalized man. A report by the Channel News Asia also said that the man's wife, a Singaporean, was also found to have been radicalized. A restriction order has been issued to the woman, Ruqayyah Ramli, the report added.

Singapore Police Force
Singapore Police Force Reuters

Isis Propaganda on the Internet

The ISD said Firdaus was recruited into the militant cadre after he started following Isis propaganda on the Internet. "Through sustained exposure to pro-ISIS materials, Firdaus was convinced by early 2018 that ISIS was fighting for Islam and that its use of violence to create an Islamic caliphate was justified. He also regarded ISIS' self-declared Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (deceased) as the true Islamic ruler. Even with the demise of ISIS' so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq, Firdaus remained a fervent supporter of ISIS," the counter-terror agency said.

The accused also actively posted materials promoting the group and armed jihad on his social media accounts, the ISD added. He had also made an Isis flag and hung it at home to show his loyalty towards the group.

In January, Singapore said it arrested a 16-year-old boy who had planned an attack on mosques on the lines of the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand. The local media said the boy was of Indian ethnicity and from protestant Christian faith.

Singapore arrests and deports 4 indonesian militants travelling to Syria
Indonesian anti-terror police lead away two of six men arrested this week for their suspected involvement in last month's militant attack in Jakarta, at police headquarters in Malang, East Java, Indonesia February 21, 2016

Rising Terror Threat in the Region

The unnamed boy made "detailed plans and preparations to conduct terrorist attacks" against Muslims, Singapore said. The arrest was made under Singapore's Internal Security Act (ISA). According to the authorities, the plan was to launch a machete attack at two mosques in the Woodlands area on Mar 15, the anniversary of New Zealand's Christchurch attacks.

Singapore has been on high alert for several years now, after the rise of Isis in the Middle East attracted recruits from a host of Southeast Asian countries. While hundreds of radicalized youth from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh perished in the wars in Iraq and Syria, hundreds returned to their home countries after the downfall of the Isis.

These people then formed sleeper cells in their respective countries and started infiltrating into other pats of the region. Terror-related detention became common in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia ever since the Isis sympathizers started infiltrating into the countries in the region and even establishing sleeping cells. In Singapore these modules were set up among the immigrant work forces. In the broader region, Bangladesh, Philippines and Indonesia have faced multiple terror strikes over the years.