Mentally ill man sent to jail
(Representational Picture) Reuters

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has announced on Wednesday that a 46-year-old religious teacher and one of his students have been issued with restriction orders under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

MHA said that the religious teacher, Murad Mohd Said was placed on the order on December 5, 2018, for "propagating beliefs, promoting violence and views detrimental to the cohesion of Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious society."

It should be noted that this is the first time when a restricted order has been issued to a religious teacher, who is accredited under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS).

As per MHA, Murad taught that "it was compulsory to kill apostates, defined broadly to include non-believers, Sufis, Shi'ites and Muslims who have renounced Islam or disregarded texts and rulings from the Quran and Sunnah," as well as "Muslims were allowed to defend themselves by waging 'armed jihad' against 'infidels who persecuted them'."

MHA added that Murad also encouraged his students to withdraw from Singapore's secular society. He told his students to disregard secular laws and adhere to the rulings of Syariah law instead.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has cancelled his accreditation on May 2018 for propagating segregationist ideologies that violated ARS code of ethics. But, Murad did not stop and continued to spread those 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-faith tensions," the ministry said.

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

The 56-year-old Murad's student Razali Abas, who was introduced to the teacher in 2012 arrested under the ISA in September 2018 as the authority found that he also has radical views like his teacher in the use of armed violence against the perceived enemies of Islam.

Razali, professionally a technician, was issued with a restriction order a month later to "prevent him from continuing his downward spiral into extremism."

MHA said, "The exclusivist religious teachings he imbibed from the classes rendered him susceptible to the more radical and violent influences he later encountered on social media," adding that "Over time, Razali became convinced that it was legitimate to kill those he felt were oppressors of Islam, including non-Muslims and Shi'ites."

The ministry noticed that Razali started to look for particular people with militant-looking profiles on Facebook and he began to see them as 'heroes' who make sacrifices. MHA said that on the basis of the posts on these profiles, it can be believed that Razali admires and supports armed violence as well as militant groups such as Al-Qaeda.

What is ISA?

It is an Act to provide for the internal security of Singapore, preventive detention, the prevention of subversion, the suppression of organised violence against people and property in specified areas of the country and for matters incidental thereto.