SINGAPORE — A 33-year-old Malaysian was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in July last year, after investigations revealed that he was a supporter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group. He was subsequently repatriated to Malaysia a month later.
In a media release on Tuesday (9 February), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that Mohd Firdaus Kamal Intdzam, who was working as a cleaner in Singapore, had turned to the Internet to deepen his religious knowledge and encountered ISIS propaganda online around 2016.
The ministry added that, 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’s self-declared Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the true Islamic ruler.
Even with the demise of ISIS’s caliphate in Syria and Iraq, as well as Abu Bakr’s death in 2019, Firdaus remained a fervent supporter. According to MHA, he actively posted materials promoting ISIS and armed jihad on his social media account, and even created an ISIS flag in March 2020, which he hung at home to show his loyalty towards the group.
“Firdaus believed that armed jihad was compulsory for all able-bodied Muslim men. He harboured the intention to travel to Syria with his wife to fight alongside ISIS,” the ministry said in the media release.
“He aspired to die as a martyr in the battlefield so as to receive divine rewards. He was also willing to carry out attacks against countries which he deemed to be oppressing Muslims, or which he perceived to be munafiq (hypocrite) for aligning themselves with the West.”
Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) worked closely with the Malaysian Special Branch (MSB) on the investigations, which did not surface any indication that Firdaus had made any specific attack plans, or intended to mount any acts of violence in Singapore.
Firdaus’ work pass was cancelled and he was repatriated to Malaysia and handed over to MSB in August last year, upon the completion of ISD’s investigation into him.
Radicalised wife issued restriction order for two years
His wife, Ruqayyah Ramli, was also issued in August 2020 with a restriction order (RO) under the ISA for two years, after investigations found that the 34-year-old housewife and part-time freelance religious teacher had been radicalised by her husband.
A person issued with an RO must abide by several conditions and restrictions. For example, he is not permitted to change residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore, without the prior approval of the ISD director.
The individual cannot issue public statements; address public meetings; print, distribute and contribute to any publication; hold office in or be a member of any organisation without prior approval.
MHA said that, following their marriage in December 2018, Firdaus started to influence Ruqayyah with his pro-ISIS views. While she initially had doubts, she gradually began to believe that ISIS’s use of violence against perceived oppressors of Islam, including non-Muslims and Shi’ites, was justified.
“Ruqayyah also supported Firdaus’ intentions to join ISIS and take up arms in Syria. She was willing to accompany him to Syria, and intended to bring her two children along. She believed that her role in the conflict zone would be to take care of the family (through cooking and housework), and to assist other wounded ISIS fighters,” the ministry said in the media release.
Investigations did not surface any indication that Ruqayyah had attempted to spread her pro-ISIS views to others. She is presently undergoing religious counselling to steer her away from her radical path.
Her Asatizah Recognition Scheme accreditation, obtained in September 2017, has been suspended. Under her RO conditions, she is not allowed to conduct religious classes.
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