SINGAPORE: A 27-year-old Singaporean parking warden was detained in April this year under the Internal Security Act (ISA), announced the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday (May 11).
Mohamed Faishal Mohd Razali was detained after investigations showed that he was radicalised and "wanted to undertake armed violence overseas" in various conflict zones including Syria, said MHA.
Faishal started making preparations to undertake armed violence overseas from early 2017, said the ministry.
These preparations included searching online for a "religious authority" who would support his decision to engage in armed violence.
The parking warden also "sounded out" two friends on his plans, said MHA. The friends disagreed with him and tried to dissuade him from his radical path, as did his family members who came to know of the plans.
"Despite these efforts, he continued to believe that he was duty-bound to engage in armed violence in an overseas conflict," said MHA. "Someone who knew of his plans alerted the authorities, so that he could be prevented from continuing down this radical path."
According to the ministry, Faishal, who was not known to be a religious person, "turned to the Internet" to try and improve his religious knowledge sometime in mid-2016.
"He began to imbibe the religious teachings of foreign preachers, including Ismail Menk and Yusuf Estes, who are known to preach segregationist and divisive teachings," said MHA.
Both foreign preachers had been barred from entering Singapore last year. Menk had been engaged to preach on a religious-themed cruise departing and ending in Singapore from Nov 25 to 29 along with another foreign preacher Haslin Baharim, but was banned from entering the country.
Meanwhile, Estes was denied entry on Nov 24 last year at Changi Airport. The American Muslim preacher had been considered as a possible speaker on the religious cruise that had engaged Menk, according to MHA.
Faishal was also "exposed" to the online radical teachings of Al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, added MHA.
"Over time, coupled with his weak religious foundation, he became convinced that waging armed violence was legitimate and saw that as a means of redeeming his sins," said the ministry.
LAPSE OF RESTRICTION ORDERS
The MHA also said on Friday that restriction orders issued against three Singaporeans under the ISA were allowed to lapse upon expiry between February and March this year.
The three Singaporeans were 62-year-old Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member Sahrudin Mohd Sapian, 54-year-old JI member Mohamed Rafee Abdul Rahman and 25-year-old Wang Yuandongyi, who had attempted to join a foreign militia group.
Sahrudin and Rafee fled Singapore in December 2001 in the wake of security operations against the JI, according to MHA.
They were later arrested overseas and detained under the ISA following their deportation to Singapore in January 2012.
The pair were released and placed on RO in February 2014. The orders were allowed to lapse in February this year.
As for Wang, he had attempted to join People’s Protection Units, a Kurdish militia group, in Syria to fight against Islamic State, said MHA.
He was placed on RO in March 2016, and the order issued against him was allowed to lapse in March this year.