Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Malaysian cleaner radicalised by IS sent home as Singapore wife undergoes counselling

While no evidence was found that he planned to mount a domestic attack, he had wished to die a martyr and was willing to carry out attacks against countries which he deemed to be oppressing Muslims.

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Singapore says it deported a Malaysian employed as a cleaner who planned to join the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria, a month after his arrest under the city-state’s Internal Security Act in July last year.

The revelation by Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) comes less than two weeks after authorities announced the arrest of a teenager who planned to kill Muslim worshippers at two mosques in the city-state, in a copycat act of the Christchurch killings two years ago.

ISD today said Mohd Firdaus Kamal Intdzam, 33, was planning to travel to Syria with his Singaporean wife Ruqayyah Ramli, 34, a housewife and part-time freelance religious teacher.

Although investigations found no evidence of him planning to mount any domestic attacks, it was discovered that Firdaus had regarded IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was believed to have blown himself up in 2019, as the “true Islamic ruler”.

“He actively posted materials promoting Isis and armed jihad on his social media accounts. He even created an Isis flag in March 2020, which he hung at home to show his loyalty towards the group,” said a statement from ISD referring to the IS militant group.

It said Firdaus 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 (hypocrites) for aligning themselves with the West.”

Singapore authorities said they had worked closely with Malaysia’s Special Branch while investigating Firdaus. He was repatriated to Malaysia in August 2020.

Meanwhile, ISD said Firdaus’ wife Ruqayyah was influenced by her husband, and was issued a two-year restriction order under ISA.

“While Ruqayyah initially had doubts, over time she began to believe that Isis’ use of violence against perceived oppressors of Islam, including non-Muslims and Shiites, 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,” said the statement by ISD.

ISD said authorities have revoked her Islamic teaching credentials, and that she is undergoing religious counselling “to steer her away from her radical path”.

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