Singapore detains two for "terrorism-related" activities

by Reuters
Thursday, 9 November 2017 10:32 GMT

By Fathin Ungku

SINGAPORE, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Singapore said on Thursday it has detained a Singaporean man and a woman for affiliations to radical Islamist groups under the country's tough security law that allows for detention without trial.

The man, 25 year-old Abu Thalha bin Samad, is a member of the Southeast Asian Islamist group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and was educated and trained in JI-linked schools in the region, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.

The Singapore government worked with "a regional government" to deport him back to Singapore for his arrest, the ministry said, but it did not disclose from which country.

"He was duty-bound to carry out whatever instructions the JI leaders had for him, including performing armed jihad and sacrificing his life for the JI's violent cause," the ministry said.

The woman detained is Islamic State supporter Munavar Baig Amina Begam. The 38-year-old Singaporean housewife is originally from India and the second woman in Singapore to be detained under the Internal Security Act.

"She is an ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) supporter and harboured the intention to make her way to the conflict zone to join ISIS," the ministry said in the statement.

"To influence others to support ISIS, Amina shared materials promoting terrorism on social media, which ... encouraged others to fight and die as martyrs," it added.

Neither of the two was available for comment.

Last week, Singapore banned two popular foreign Muslim preachers from entering the city-state because, it said, their views bred intolerance and were a risk to social harmony.

As concern grows about the spread of militancy, there has been a significant rise in the number of detentions under the country's security law.

At least 14 radicalised Singaporeans have been put under restriction or detention orders under the ISA since 2015, up sharply from 11 cases between 2007 and 2014, according to data from the ministry.

Diverse, affluent Singapore is majority ethnic Chinese with sizeable minority ethnic Malay and ethnic Indian communities, and numerous foreign workers from Asia and beyond.

Singapore said late last year it had deported nearly 70 foreigners including five maids for suspected radicalism over the previous two years.

Authorities in neighbouring Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, said last year they had arrested six Indonesian suspects with links to Islamic State who were plotting attacks on Singapore. (Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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