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Self-radicalised 18-year-old detained under ISA after planning armed violence in Singapore, Islamic caliphate on Coney Island

SINGAPORE — A self-radicalised 18-year-old who supported terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and planned to set up an Islamic caliphate on Coney Island was detained in December last year under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

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  • A self-radicalised 18-year-old who supported the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria was arrested under the Internal Security Act in December
  • The post-secondary student, Muhammad Irfan Danyal Mohamad Nor, planned three attacks in Singapore
  • One was targeted at a gravesite at a mosque in the Central Business District
  • He intended to establish an Islamic caliphate here, starting at Coney Island
  • Irfan is the third youth detained under the Act since 2020 

SINGAPORE — A self-radicalised 18-year-old who supported terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and planned to set up an Islamic caliphate on Coney Island was detained in December last year under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

In a statement on Wednesday (Feb 1), the Internal Security Department (ISD) said that the post-secondary student, Muhammad Irfan Danyal Mohamad Nor, had consumed “extensive Isis propaganda online” and was convinced of the terror group’s legitimacy.

He made plans to travel overseas to take up armed violence and aspired to establish an Islamic caliphate in Singapore, symbolically marking his intent by planting an Al-Qaeda-inspired flag on Coney Island on National Day last August.

In reply to media queries, the Ministry of Education said that Irfan was last in school at the close of term last November.

He is the third youth since 2020 to be detained under ISA.

In 2020, a secondary school student was detained after making detailed plans and preparations to attack Muslims at two mosques here. Then aged 16, he was the youngest to be detained under the ISA.

In March 2021, a former full-time national serviceman, 20, was detained after he made detailed plans and preparations to conduct attacks against Jews at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue here.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Thursday said that since 2015, the authorities have dealt with nine people under the ISA who were aged 20 and below.

“So yes, it is a trend that is concerning,” he said while speaking to reporters outside Masjid Khalid in the Joo Chiat area. The mosque on Onan Road is a separate one from the one that Irfan had planned to attack.


ISD said that Irfan started becoming radicalised in 2020 after being exposed to videos from extremist preachers online.

  • He came across YouTube videos by Zakir Naik, a preacher from India who has been barred from entering Singapore since 2014 for extremist and segregationist teachings
  • Irfan then watched videos from other extremist preachers such as Ahmed Deedat, a deceased South African preacher who was banned from entering Singapore in 1982 after making inflammatory speeches here
  • Over time, Irfan developed an interest in Isis and an admiration for fighters portrayed in propaganda videos
  • By late 2021, the teenager had begun taking photos of himself in a ski mask and mimicking the poses of Isis fighters


“From late 2021, Irfan also developed a desire to live in an Islamic caliphate governed by sharia (Islamic law),” ISD said.

He wanted to establish a caliphate here and recruit more Muslims.

  • On Aug 9 last year, he planted a self-made flag on Coney Island, which is located off the north-east of Singapore near Punggol. He designed the flag based on one of an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organisation
  • Irfan claimed that the flag-planting act “symbolised the start of his own caliphate on Singapore’s National Day”
  • He published pictures of the flag on social media on the same day to encourage others to join what he called the “Islamic State of Singhafura”
  • He also planned to film a video of himself taking a pledge of allegiance to Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, who was the Isis leader at the time, at Coney Island in November 2022
  • Irfan believed that it was his religious obligation to spread the group’s radical ideology, and planned to upload his video online to recruit an Isis army of between 100 and 500 fighters to help him carry out attacks in Singapore

ISD said that Irfan acted alone and there was no indication that he was successful in recruiting or radicalising others.

Irfan also had plans to conduct three attacks here with the support of his Isis army:

  • He planned to ambush and kill “disbelievers" in dark alleys, and bought a knife in August 2022 in preparation. To him, "disbelievers" included non-Muslims, Shia Muslims and Sufi Muslims
  • He also hoped to carry out an attack at Amoy Quee Camp, where the National Cadet Corp (NCC) Headquarters is located. He was familiar with this site from his time in the co-curricular activity in secondary school
  • He planned to recruit a suicide bomber to mount a car-bombing attack at the gate of the camp and lead his army to attack the remaining guards at the gate using simple bladed weapons to loot firearms from the guardhouse
  • He also considered a bomb attack on the Keramat Habib Noh gravesite at Haji Muhammad Salleh Mosque along Palmer Street near Shenton Way, because he thought the gravesite was “un-Islamic” since it was decorated and elevated above ground level. He wanted to flatten it with an explosive device he intended to make based on a C4 bomb-making manual he found online

ISD said that Irfan’s attack plans against Amoy Quee Camp and Keramat Habib Noh had not progressed beyond the ideation stage at the time of his arrest.

Mr Shanmugam said to reporters on Thursday: “If he had carried out any of these plans, particularly the knife attack or the bombings, you can imagine it would be very damaging. The loss of lives, distrust and animosity in our community.”


ISD said that by October last year, Irfan had plans to take part in armed violence overseas.

  • He decided to travel to Nigeria to undertake armed violence with the Islamic State in West Africa Province, a splinter faction of the Boko Haram terrorist group and one of the most active Isis affiliates globally
  • Alternative destinations in Irfan’s mind included Iraq, Syria and Marawi in the southern Philippines
  • He made online searches for flights from Singapore to these locations and planned to pursue his plans after he had saved enough money


Mr Shanmugam said that at the point of the arrest, Irfan “was determined to commit violence”.

“He is, in our assessment, likely to have carried out a knife attack at some point in the not-too-distant future. We assessed him to be an imminent security threat. That is why he was arrested.”

ISD said that Irfan's family members were unaware of his attack plans or intentions to take up armed violence overseas.

It warned on Wednesday that the terrorism threat to Singapore continues.

“Members of the public are asked to remain vigilant to signs that someone around them may have become radicalised, so that we can intervene early to avert a tragedy,” it added.

Related topics

Internal Security Act radicalisation terrorism

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