29 Jul 2016

Detention and Releases under the Internal Security Act

Order of Detention Issued against Zulfikar Shariff

               


               Zulfikar bin Mohamad Shariff (Zulfikar; Singaporean; aged 44), was arrested in Singapore and subsequently detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in Jul 2016 for terrorism-related activities.  Zulfikar had embarked on the path of radicalism as early as 2001 after reading jihadi-related material.  He was supportive of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Jemaah Islamiyah, and advocated Muslims taking up arms in Afghanistan after the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attacks in the US.     

 

2             Zulfikar resettled his family in Australia in 2002.  While in Australia, he continued to pursue radical ideology by joining the hardline Hizbut Tahrir organisation. He was also influenced by the teachings of radical ideologues like Anwar al-Awlaki.  He established and maintained contact with radical preachers in Australia and overseas, like Musa Cerantonio and Anjem Choudary.  Zulfikar has supported terrorism and the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  He made numerous Facebook postings glorifying and promoting ISIS and their violent actions, while exploiting religion to legitimise the terrorist activities of ISIS.  He has further exhorted Muslims to take up arms and wage militant jihad in places like the Middle East, Palestinian territories, Myanmar and the Philippines.  To motivate Muslims to engage in armed jihad, Zulfikar proposed the creation of a support system for the families of the fighters. 

 

3             Zulfikar has made use of social media to propagate and spread his radical messages.  He considered his propagation of radical material as a form of jihad, by way of creating awareness of ISIS and promoting armed jihad.  Zulfikar has contributed to the radicalisation of at least two other Singaporeans.  One of them was Muhammad Shamin bin Mohamed Sidik (detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities).  The other was Mohamed Saiddhin bin Abdullah, who was inspired by Zulfikar's radical postings. This included a photograph of Zulfikar with his children mimicking a pose commonly adopted by jihadi fighters, while standing in front of a black flag that is commonly used by jihadi terrorist groups.[1]  (See enclosed.)

 

4             Zulfikar admitted that besides his intention to promote ISIS and armed jihad, he also wanted his online followers to reject the Western secular democratic nation-state system and instead establish an Islamic caliphate in its place, governed by Syariah law.  He believes that violence should be used to achieve this goal if necessary.  To this end, Zulfikar had actively looked into holding training programmes aimed at radicalising young Singaporeans so that they would be persuaded into joining his extremist agenda.  It was also for the objective of realising the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate that he set up an online group called "Al-Makhazin" in 2013, and other "Al-Makhazin" Facebook platforms for Muslims to counter the Western media, while residing in Australia.  Zulfikar has admitted that he had an ulterior motive for setting up a Facebook page called "Al-Makhazin Singapore" which he used as a platform to agitate on Muslim issues in Singapore and attack some Singaporean Muslims who did not share his views.  His real agenda was in fact to provoke Muslims in Singapore into pushing for the replacement of the democratic system with an Islamic state in Singapore.  He said that he hid his ulterior motive from the Singaporean "Al-Makhazin Singapore" members.

 

5             In view of the high level of the terrorism threat that Singapore currently faces, and the global terrorism threat posed by ISIS, Zulfikar's promotion of violence and ISIS and his radicalising influence pose a security threat to Singapore.  At times he has tried to hide his real motivations, by putting out moderate sounding views. But in reality, he believes in the use of violence to overthrow the democratic system of government, and the imposition of an Islamic caliphate. He continues to support ISIS, and wants Singaporeans to do the same. The Government takes a very serious view of efforts to undermine Singapore's constitutional democracy, and will take firm and decisive action against any person who engages in such activities.    He has been served with an Order of Detention (OD) for a period of two years.  

Restriction Order issued against Mohamed Saiddhin bin Abdullah

 

6             Mohamed Saiddhin bin Abdullah (Saiddhin; Singaporean; aged 33), a radicalised businessman, was issued with a Restriction Order (RO)[2] for a period of two years in Jul 2016.  He was radicalised through perusing radical online material and radical influences.  He identified Zulfikar bin Mohamad Shariff whom he befriended online as the person who had influenced him to support ISIS.  Saiddhin had looked up to Zulfikar and followed his postings; he was convinced by Zulfikar's positive portrayal of ISIS and later started re-posting Zulfikar's postings on ISIS as a form of jihad, emulating Zulfikar.  Saiddhin was so inspired by Zulfikar that he even emulated Zulfikar by photographing himself adopting the common pose of jihadi fighters while standing in front of an ISIS flag.  He posted these photographs online as a show of his solidarity with ISIS militants fighting in Syria and Iraq.

 

7        Saiddhin was issued with an RO to prevent him from becoming further radicalised.

 

 

Re-Detention of Fadil bin Abdul Hamid

 

8             Muhammad Fadil bin Abdul Hamid (Fadil; Singaporean; aged 27), was re-detained under the ISA for a period of two years in Apr 2016 as he intended to join a terrorist group like ISIS, to engage in armed violence in Syria.  Fadil was previously detained under the ISA from 2010 to 2012 when he was self-radicalised and had the intention to engage in armed violence in Afghanistan.  He was released from detention in 2012 and placed on an RO.    

 

9             Fadil had initially made some progress in reintegrating into society.  However, he later became attracted to radical online material again, like teachings of radical ideologues such as Anwar al-Awlaki and the propaganda of ISIS, and fell under its influence.  He became convinced that partaking in the violence in Syria was "justifiable jihad" and harboured the intention to fight alongside ISIS militants in Syria.  He also reverted to the belief that militant jihad was the easiest way to achieve martyrdom.  He had to be detained to prevent him from pursuing his violent agenda.

 

 

Restriction Order issued against Self-radicalised Singaporean Youth

 

10            A 17-year-old male Singaporean, who recently graduated from a madrasah, was issued with an RO for a period of two years under the ISA in Jul 2016. Investigations showed that he had become radicalised online after viewing pro-ISIS videos, websites and social media material.  He became convinced that ISIS' violent actions were justified and harboured the intention to fight for ISIS in Syria in the future where he was prepared to die a martyr.  He had sought out other like-minded individuals online, and also tried to influence his friends with his pro-ISIS views.  Despite their advice and objections against ISIS, he persisted in his support for ISIS. 

 

11            To prevent him from going further down the path of radicalism and violence, he was issued with an RO.    

 

Release on Suspension Direction

 

12            Self-radicalised Singaporean Abdul Basheer s/o Abdul Kader (Basheer; aged 37), was released on Suspension Direction (SD)[3] in Feb 2016.  He was re-detained in Oct 2012 as investigation showed that he had reverted to his past intention to engage in armed violence overseas and had actively looked into leaving Singapore, illegally if necessary, in pursuit of his plans.  His OD was renewed in Oct 2014 and suspended in Feb 2016 after it was assessed that he no longer posed a security threat that required preventive detention. 

 

Lapse of Restriction Order

 

13            The RO of Singaporean Rijal Yadri bin Jumari (Rijal; aged 35), was allowed to lapse upon expiry in Mar 2016.  Rijal was a member of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)'s "Al-Ghuraba" cell in Pakistan, which comprised young JI members who were being groomed to be terrorist operatives and future JI leaders.  He was detained under the ISA from Mar 2008 to Mar 2012, and was placed on RO since then.

 

 

 ISA Act



[1]           The raising of the index finger symbolises the tauhid i.e. the concept of monotheism in Islam.  The index finger is a physical expression of the Islamic belief in the oneness of Allah.

 

[2]           A person issued with a Restriction Order (RO) must abide by several conditions and restrictions. For example, he is not permitted to change his residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore, without the prior approval of Director, ISD. The individual issued with RO also cannot issue public statements, address public meetings or print, distribute, contribute to any publication, hold office in, or be a member of any organisation, association or group without the prior approval of Director, ISD.

[3]          A Suspension Direction (SD) is a Ministerial direction to suspend the operation of an existing Order of Detention (OD). The Minister for Home Affairs may revoke the SD and the individual will be re-detained, if he does not comply with any of the conditions stipulated in the SD. Among the conditions are that he is prohibited from associating with any militant or terrorist groups or individuals, and he is not allowed to leave the country without the prior written approval of Director, ISD.

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