Singapore foiled a plot to attack two mosques in the city state and arrested a 16-year-old boy. The attack was planned on the lines of the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand, reports said. The plot was busted and the boy arrested in December. The local media said the boy is of Indian ethnicity and from protestant christian faith.
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.
ISA said the boy is the youngest person to be charged under the anti-terror law. "He was self-radicalized, motivated by a strong antipathy towards Islam and a fascination with violence," ISD said in a media statement, the Channel News Asia said.
'Watched Video of Christchurch Mosque Shooting'
"He watched the live streamed video of the terrorist attack on the two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Mar 15, 2019, and read the manifesto of the Christchurch attacker, Brenton Tarrant. He had also watched Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) propaganda videos, and came to the erroneous conclusion that ISIS represented Islam, and that Islam called on its followers to kill non-believers," the media release added.
Meanwhile, Christian and Muslim leaders held a meeting on Thursday to dispel fears of mutual mistrust in the backdrop of the plot, reports said. The religious leaders met at the Yusof Ishak Mosque in Woodlands, which was one of the targets of the radicalized teenager.
"We were in shock and disbelief that this could happen, and especially coming from a 16-year-old," said Reverend Keith Lai, the president of National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS), the Straits Times reported. "No Christian wishes any harm or harbors any ill will or hatred towards Muslims," said Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, the highest authority on Islam in Singapore, the Times added.
Plan to Procure Rifle
According to the Internal Security Department (ISD) the youth had made detailed plans to attack the mosques. The Assyafaah Mosque and Yusof Ishak Mosque were chosen as targets as these were in close proximity to his house. The minor also conducted online reconnaissance using Google Maps and Street View in preparation for the planned attacks.
He had made a detailed plan to procure the weapons of attack, the investigators said. However, his original plan was to get hold of a rifle. He dropped the plan after he realized it was very difficult to procure one in the country. "He nevertheless persisted to search for firearms online, and only gave up the idea when he realized that it would be difficult to get his hands on one given Singapore's strict gun-control laws," the ISD media statement said.