SINGAPORE: Three Indonesian women have been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) amid investigations into their terrorism financing activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a press release on Monday (Sep 23).
Thirty-three-year-old Anindia Afiyantari, 36-year-old Retno Hernayani and 31-year-old Turmini were issued with orders of detention in September.
They had been working as domestic workers in Singapore for between six and 13 years when they were arrested, said MHA.
The three became acquainted with one another around the time when they were becoming radicalised in 2018.
Anindia and Retno first met at a social gathering in Singapore during their days off, while Turmini connected with them on social media.
“Over time, they developed a network of pro-militant foreign online contacts, including ‘online boyfriends’ who shared their pro-ISIS ideology,” said MHA.
Anindia and Retno wanted to travel to Syria and join Islamic State. The former was prepared to take up arms for the terror group in Syria and become a suicide bomber, while Retno aspired to live among Islamic State fighters in Syria and participate in the conflict there.
The two women were also encouraged by their online contacts to migrate to the southern Philippines, Afghanistan or Africa to join pro-Islamic State groups in these areas.
MHA said Retno believed that Muslims were duty-bound to travel to other conflict zones such as Palestine and Kashmir to fight against "the enemies of Islam".
All three women “actively galvanised” support online for Islamic State, each maintaining several social media accounts to post pro-Islamic State material.
They also donated funds to entities based overseas for terrorism-related purposes, such as to support the activities of Islamic State and Indonesia-based terrorist group Jemaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD), which is affiliated with Islamic State. The three became strong supporters of the terrorist group.
Turmini believed her donations would earn her a place in paradise, said MHA.
DRAWN TO “VIOLENT VISUALS”, ONLINE SERMONS
The three women were radicalised last year after they came across online materials related to Islamic State.
They became convinced Islamic State was fighting for Islam and its use of violence against “infidels” was justified, and became further radicalised after joining multiple pro-Islamic State social media chat groups and channels, according to MHA.
“They were drawn to the violent visuals disseminated on these platforms, such as ISIS’s (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) bomb attacks and beheading videos, as well as recycled propaganda on (Islamic State’s) past victories in the battlefield,” it said.
They were also influenced by the online sermons of Indonesian radical preachers.
READ: Searching for love online, Indonesian maids vulnerable to being recruited by Islamic State: Documentary
A fourth Indonesian domestic worker was also arrested as part of the investigation.
She was not found to have been radicalised, but did not report the others' radicalisation to the authorities despite knowing about it, said MHA. She has since been repatriated to Indonesia.
“The fact that all three individuals in the present case were radicalised in 2018, at a time when ISIS’ physical territory was already significantly diminished, highlights the enduring appeal of ISIS’ violent ideology,” MHA said.
Since 2015, 19 radicalised foreign domestic workers - including Anindia, Retno and Turmini - have been detected in Singapore.
None of them were found to have had plans to carry out acts of violence in Singapore, but their radicalisation and association with terrorists overseas had rendered them a security threat to the country, said MHA.
The earlier 16 radicalised domestic workers were all repatriated after investigations were completed.