Seventeen-year-old secondary school student detained under Internal Security Act for supporting the Islamic State
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Affected Countries: singapore;
A 17-year-old secondary school boy, who is a staunch supporter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group, was detained last month under the Internal Security Act.
In a statement on Monday (Feb 10), the Home Affairs Ministry (MHA) said the student was first investigated in September 2017 when he was 15 years old, after he posted defaced images of President Halimah Yacob on social media and called on ISIS to behead her.
Madam Halimah was elected that year as head of state of Singapore, which the student viewed as an “infidel” state.
Commenting on his arrest on Monday, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) categorically debunked the view that Muslims cannot live in a secular country and take up any roles in government or as the head of state.
“The Singapore Muslim community is a clear example of confident Muslims thriving in our secular and multi-religious context and actively contributing to our public institutions and society as a whole,” said Muis.
The boy’s journey to radicalisation began in 2017, when he was introduced to pro-ISIS social media groups by a foreign online contact.
Through these groups, the boy gained access to what he believed was exclusive ISIS content, said MHA.
“In his eyes, ISIS was a powerful group that was fighting for Islam and its use of violence against its opponents was therefore justified.”
After this came to light in 2017, the ministry said it had tried to steer the boy away from the radical path, but he remained a staunch supporter of ISIS.
He continued to believe in ISIS, even with the demise of the terrorist group’s so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and was willing to assist ISIS in its online propaganda efforts, said MHA.
He was also willing to undertake other activities if called upon by ISIS to do so, the ministry added.
It noted, however, that there were no signs that he had spread his pro-ISIS views to others around him.
Muis said the boy’s case underscored the importance of ensuring that young Muslims in Singapore have credible religious teachers to learn from and also a strong support network of family, teachers and friends they can turn to.
Having such a network and a strong religious foundation could mitigate the danger of young people being influecned by online predators who want to use them for their perverted ends, added Muis.
It also said that Islamic education in Singapore’s religious schools is age-appropriate and tailored for the Singapore context and is also taught by trained and certified teachers.
“Muis would like to urge the community to step up efforts to take care of and guide our young in their formative years and help them develop a strong and positive foundation of knowledge and values,” the council added.
Said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin in a Facebook post: “I feel sad for this young, impressionable boy. He was gullible and terribly misled…He was manipulated, preyed on by overseas extremist influences.”
He urged parents to monitor what their children are viewing online and who they befriend.
Mr Amrin also called on Muslims to “fight for what we believe – a just, peaceful and harmonious society for all regardless of religion”.
Separately, the ministry also announced the release of Mr Abu Thalha Samad from detention.
The former membeSource: Straits Timesr of terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah was released when his detention order expired in September last year, after he had shown good progress in his rehabilitation and was assessed to no longer pose a security threat requiring preventive detention, said the MHA.
He has been placed on a restriction order, which means he may not change jobs, move homes, or travel out of Singapore without official approval, among other things.
Source: Straits Times