Book banned in Singapore for extremist views; linked to radicalisation of 20-year-old who planned to attack synagogue
SINGAPORE: A book has been banned for promoting "armed jihad" and containing "extremist views that promote enmity among different religious communities", said the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) on Thursday (Jun 24).
The publication came to the Government's attention during investigations into a full-time national serviceman (NSF) who was arrested for planning to carry out a knife attack against Jews at a synagogue at Waterloo Street.
"Such teachings and ideologies are detrimental to Singapore’s racial and religious harmony and relations," said MCI in a media release.
Titled Uncovering the secrets of the Izz Ad-Din Al Qassam Brigades Elite Force: The Young Generation of Seekers of Martyrdom, the book is authored by Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar and Adnan M El Halab.
It was published by Hijjaz Records Publishing in 2015.
"The publication came to the Government’s notice in the course of investigations into 20-year-old Amirull Ali, who was detained under the Internal Security Act in March 2021," said MCI.
The 20-year-old had purchased the publication overseas in 2015.
"Investigations determined that reading the publication was one of the factors that led to Amirull’s radicalisation," said the ministry.
The ban is effective Jun 25. Those who have a copy of the publication should hand them to the police, MCI added.
"The Singapore Government has zero tolerance for individuals or publications which aim to incite hostility or violence among different religious groups and has therefore decided to prohibit this publication," said MCI.
It is an offence to import, publish, sell or offer to sell, supply or offer to supply, exhibit, distribute or reproduce any prohibited publication or an extract of one.
It is also an offence for a person to possess or come into possession of a prohibited publication, and fail to hand it to the police.
Those convicted may be fined, jailed, or both.
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Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo on Thursday also said that Singapore's "continued vigilance is a must".
"Singapore has enjoyed peace as a multi-racial and multi-religious society due to our steadfast efforts to foster mutual trust and understanding amongst different community groups," said Ms Teo, who is also second minister for Home Affairs.
"We must not take for granted the unity in diversity," she added in a Facebook post.
"Continued vigilance is a must, as is a focus on the never-ending task of building friendship, trust and confidence in one another, regardless of race and religion.
"Keep careful watch over the young to protect our future as one people."
In a separate statement, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) urged the community to be wary of such publications, and the views and thinking behind them.
The book carried "problematic ideas by encouraging armed jihad, and that such persons would be guaranteed bountiful rewards from God", said MUIS.
"The promotion of extremist religious views and ideologies that promote violence, enmity and distrust are not the values of Islam or the Singapore Muslim community."