Press Releases

Update on Terrorism-Related Case Under Internal Security Act

Published: 03 May 2023

1.   In March 2021, a 20-year-old self-radicalised Singaporean, Amirull bin Ali (Amirull), was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).  Influenced by the Israel-Palestine conflict, Amirull had made plans and preparations to carry out a knife attack against Jews at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue at Waterloo Street.  He had also planned to travel to Gaza in the Palestinian territories to join HAMAS’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), in its fight against Israel.  

2.   ISD has been working closely with the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) to counsel Amirull.  A RRG counsellor met him monthly. The counsellor helped Amirull to improve his religious knowledge, and to embrace a pro-social understanding of Islamic principles.  As a result, Amirull has renounced his radical beliefs in armed jihad and the use of violence. He now sees jihad as caring for his parents, improving himself, and contributing to society.  He also understands the importance of living harmoniously with people of other races and religions in Singapore, and to verify any religious information that he is unsure about with locally accredited religious teachers and scholars.  

3.   On top of religious counselling, Amirull was engaged regularly by ISD case officers and a psychologist.  Through the interactions, he has come to understand that while one may sympathise with the plight of people caught in the crosshairs of a conflict such as that between Israel and Palestine, we should never resort to or advocate violence as a solution.  The psychological counselling sessions also helped Amirull to strengthen his critical thinking and emotion regulation skills,  which would reduce his vulnerability to radical influences.  His inability to critically evaluate information which he came across on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and his tendency to overreact emotionally to the plight of oppressed Muslims, had contributed to his radicalisation in the first place.    

4.   Amirull was also given access to educational and self-improvement materials such as videos and articles, while in detention.  Amirull would complete the accompanying worksheets, and discuss his learning with the psychologist.  Through these efforts, Amirull developed a clearer positive identity and acquired practical skills such as goal setting.  In addition, a RRG volunteer provided Amirull with weekly English lessons to facilitate his plans to pursue further studies.   

5.   Amirull has responded well to his rehabilitation, with the extensive support of the RRG as well as his family, who visited him weekly during his detention and was a source of constant encouragement.  

6.   Given the good progress he has made in his rehabilitation, Amirull was released on a Restriction Order in March 2023.  He is planning to pursue further studies at a post-secondary institution.  ISD will continue to work with RRG and the Inter-Agency Aftercare Group to ease his reintegration into society.  

Internal Security Department