Published: 06 October 2016
Asrul bin Alias
Asrul bin Alias viewed online religious sermons by radical preachers and videos on militant groups operating in Syria. He also viewed materials supportive of the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including videos that featured ISIS fighters in combat. Our investigation showed that he had become radicalised. However, as he was not an imminent security threat, he was not detained but given a Restriction Order (RO) under the ISA.
2. While the Government may block websites or remove online content that promote radical ideology, it is more important to sensitise the public to the dangers of extremist rhetoric, and equip them with social media literacy so that they will not be vulnerable to terrorist propaganda on the Internet.
Considerations for Actions under ISA
3. Broadly speaking, whether an individual warrants preventive detention, supervision under a RO, or other action such as counselling, is based on the evidence obtained through ISD's investigations, and an assessment as to the level of threat posed. Many individuals who were investigated by ISD in the past were not detained, but ordered to undergo supervision instead, or given counselling. Detention is a last resort to be used only when the threat is imminent.
4. The process of assessing whether a detainee is suitable for release from detention is a thorough and stringent one. It factors in the detainee's progress in his rehabilitation programme, the assessments of the psychologists, the ISD case officers, Detention Centre wardens and religious counsellors from the Religious Rehabilitation Group. The decision to release a detainee is premised on an assessment of whether he continues to pose an imminent threat to Singapore's security at that point in time. Those who no longer pose an imminent threat will be released.
Everyone Has A Part To Play In Countering-Terrorism
5. Extremist rhetoric continues to radicalise scores of people across the globe and Singapore has not been immune to this problem. Our community and religious organisations have put in considerable effort to counter the radical ideology of ISIS and jihadist terrorists. They should be recognised and commended for this. The Government takes a very serious view of any form of support for terrorism and will take firm and decisive action against any person who engages in any activity in support of terrorism. Every member of the public has a responsibility not to engage in such activity, and not to support others who do so.
6. It is a challenge to detect self-radicalised individuals who have not previously attracted security attention and who are not part of a structured organisation such as Asrul. This is why it is those who are close to the individual – family, friends and colleagues – who are usually better placed to detect signs that the individual has become radicalised. It is critical that they alert the authorities early of such individuals to save them from getting involved in violent activities that could harm themselves and others.
Two Bangladeshi Nationals
7. The Bangladeshi security authorities were apprised of the repatriation of Sohag Ibrahim and Islam Shariful.
Latest ISA-related Figures
8. Since 2002, over 80 persons have been detained for terrorism-related activities. There are currently 17 persons placed on Orders of Detention, two on Suspension Directions and 25 on Restriction Orders under the ISA.