A 17-year-old male secondary school student was detained in January 2020 under the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) revealed in a press release on Feb. 10.
Radicalised at 15
MHA revealed that the student had been radicalised by a foreign online contact, who introduced him to pro-ISIS social media groups in 2017.
The youth was 15 years old then.
Through these groups, he gained access to "exclusive" ISIS content.
He also thought that ISIS was a "powerful" group that was fighting for Islam, and justifying its use of violence against opponents.
The student was first investigated in September the same year, after he posted defaced images of President Halimah Yacob on social media and called on ISIS to behead her for supporting Singapore.
MHA added that the radicalised subject saw Singapore as an "infidel state".
Remained a staunch supporter
Despite the MHA working with him for three years to steer him away from the radical path, the student remained a staunch supporter of ISIS.
The subject was willing to assist ISIS in its online propaganda effort and undertake other activities if told to do so.
The death of the terrorist group's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq did not deter him in his beliefs.
According to MHA, there are no signs that the subject had spread his pro-ISIS views to those around him.
In a statement addressing the teenager’s detention, MUIS, Singapore’s Islamic Religious Council, urged the community to step up efforts to take care of and guide the young in their formative years and help them develop a “strong and positive foundation of knowledge and values”.
MUIS also said it would like to “categorically debunk the views that he was influenced to believe, i.e. that Muslims cannot live in a secular country and take up any roles in government or as the Head of State”.
MUIS said: “The Singapore Muslim community is a clear example of confident Muslims thriving in our secular and multi-religious context and actively contributing to our public institutions and society as a whole.”
The religious authority emphasised the importance of:
- A strong religious foundation for the young and guidance from credible religious teachers
- A strong support network of family, teachers and friends to whom the young can turn to
- The danger of online predators who target susceptible individuals and influence them with misguided ideologies
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