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Singapore deports Malaysian arrested under ISA for supporting Isis; S’porean wife given restriction order

SINGAPORE — A 33-year-old man who worked as a cleaner in Singapore was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in July last year for supporting the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis).

Singapore deports Malaysian arrested under ISA for supporting Isis; S’porean wife given restriction order

A flag of terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis). Mohd Firdaus Kamal Intdzam was arrested under the Internal Security Act in July 2020 for supporting Isis.

  • Mohd Firdaus Kamal Intdzam was arrested under the Internal Security Act in July 2020 for supporting terror group Isis
  • He also steered his wife Ruqayyah Ramli onto a radical path, so much so that she was willing to accompany him to Syria
  • Firdaus was deported to Malaysia in August 2020; Ruqayyah was given a restriction order

 

SINGAPORE — A 33-year-old man who worked as a cleaner in Singapore was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in July last year for supporting the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis).

Mohd Firdaus Kamal Intdzam, a Malaysian, also radicalised his wife, a Singaporean housewife and part-time freelance religious teacher, so much so that she was willing to accompany him to Syria and planned to take their two children along. 

Ruqayyah Ramli, 34, was given a two-year restriction order — which curtails her movement and activities — under the ISA in August last year, the Internal Security Department (ISD) said in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 9). 

Firdaus, who was repatriated to Malaysia in August last year after the ISD completed its investigations, believed that armed jihad was compulsory for able-bodied Muslim men. He therefore harboured the intention to travel to Syria with his family to fight alongside Isis.

“He aspired to die as a martyr in the battlefield, so as to receive divine rewards. He was also willing to carry out attacks against countries that he deemed to be oppressing Muslims, or which he perceived to be munafiq (hypocrite) for aligning themselves with the West,” ISD said.

Firdaus’ path to radicalisation began in 2016, when he turned to the internet to deepen his religious knowledge and encountered Isis propaganda. 

Through sustained exposure to such material, Firdaus was convinced by early 2018 that Isis was fighting for Islam and that its use of violence to create an Islamic caliphate was justified. 

He also thought that the true Islamic ruler was Isis’ leader and self-declared "caliph" (or leader of the Muslim community) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who later killed himself during a raid in 2019.

ISD said that Firdaus actively posted materials promoting Isis and armed jihad on social media. He also created an Isis flag in March last year, which he hung at home, to show his loyalty towards the group.

Investigations, however, did not reveal any indication that Firdaus had made specific plans to carry out attacks or acts of violence in Singapore.

ISD, in its investigations into Firdaus, worked closely with the Malaysian Special Branch, the intelligence agency of the Royal Malaysia Police. His Singapore work pass was cancelled, and he was deported to Malaysia and handed over to the branch in August last year.

Firdaus and Ruqayyah married in December 2018, and he began to influence Ruqayyah with his pro-Isis views. 

While Ruqayyah initially had doubts, she began to believe that Isis’ use of violence against perceived oppressors of Islam, including non-Muslims and Shi’ites, was justified.

Ruqayyah also supported Firdaus’ intentions to join Isis and take up arms in Syria. 

“She believed that her role in the conflict zone would be to take care of the family through cooking and housework, and to assist other wounded Isis fighters,” ISD said.

Investigations into Ruqayyah did not turn up any indication that she had tried to spread her pro-Isis views to others. 

Her accreditation under a recognition scheme for asatizah (or religious teachers), obtained in September 2017, has been suspended. She is also barred from teaching religious classes as part of the conditions of her restriction order. 

She is undergoing religious counselling to steer her away from her radical path, ISD said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said that Ruqayyah’s case was a “grim reminder” that the influence of extremism is still present and dangerous, especially from online sources. 

“Although Isis may have been severely weakened as an organisation, its violent ideology remains and we must not let our guard down,” Muis said. The council administers the Asatizah Recognition Scheme with the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association.

The case also demonstrated the danger of how such teachings can spread as well as the importance of family members reporting such developments to the authorities for timely intervention. 

Muis said that it was alarming that Ruqayyah was a part-time freelance religious teacher, but it is hopeful that she will steer away from her radical path after religious counselling.

“Muis has always maintained that Islam and the Singapore Muslim community firmly reject and condemn acts of violence in the name of religion. 

“We urge family members, friends, students and colleagues to report any individual espousing violent or extremist ideologies to the relevant authorities quickly for timely intervention.”

The Singapore Muslim Women’s Association (PPIS) in a separate statement on Tuesday called on the community to reject “any notion of exclusivist and extremist teachings” and to be on constant guard against this.

PPIS added that any act of extremism should not be tolerated, so as to build an inclusive society regardless of gender, race and religion.

“Marriage in Islam confers duties and rights to be highly regarded and upheld by the husband and wife. 

“While the husband is the head of the family and its guardian, one of the wife’s foremost commitments towards her husband is to obey him in everything, unless on matters against the teachings and spirit of Islam.”

Related topics

Internal Security Act terrorism ISIS radicalisation Muis

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