Think Tank Says ISIS Asks Muslims in Singapore to Join Terror Group; Threat of Cyber Jihad High

A Singapore-based international think tank has revealed that the Islamic State group had asked Muslims in Singapore to join the terror group. The exhortation came in September 2022, and the invitation was extended to all Muslims in the region, a report published by the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies said.

In an audiotape released by Islamic State's media affiliate Al-Furqan, the terror outfit's spokesman is heard inciting Singapore Muslims to join the terror group, the think tank said in its annual threat assessment report.

Islamic State leader in Afghanistan and Pakistan killed in US strike
A fighter of the ISIL holds a flag and a weapon on a street in Mosul Reuters (Representational Image)

Fight Against Communists and Infidels

The 36-minute recording shows Islamic State spokesman Abu Umar al-Muhajir especially calling on Muslims in East Asia to join it. The message says that Muslims in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India must join the outfit as Muslims were "especially oppressed and humiliated in this region."

Abu Umar also said Muslims in the region should fight against communists and infidels, a transcript by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel showed, the Singapore think tank said, according to Channel News Asia.

On High Alert

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.

Bangladeshis arrested in Singapore for Isis terror links
A policeman raises a baton towards an activist of an Islamist party around the location of the national mosque in Dhaka, October 12, 2012. Reuters

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.

Cyber Jihad

The think tank adds that the threat from Islamist extremism and terrorism was very high in the region. The threat emanates not only from organised terror groups like the ISIS but also from self-radicalised lone actors. The report also adds that

The report also says the use of the Internet for radicalizing people and spreading extremist ideology is a rising threat. "This 'cyber jihad', waged on a borderless virtual battlefield, is a potential security minefield in a highly digitally connected society like Singapore," the report says.

The return of Taliban to power in Afghanistan last year has created fresh fears about surge in extremism in the region. Jihadist activity in South and South East Asia might get fillip in the backdrop of the return of Taliban, the report says.

"This is especially given the historical nexus between the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and regional networks like JI (Jemaah Islamiyah)," the report says.