SINGAPORE: Another potential target for Islamic terrorism

Two Singaporean Muslim youths have been arrested under the Internal Security Act for terrorism-related activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Straits Times   The first, post-secondary student M Arifil Azim Putra Norja’i, 19, had made plans to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and if he was unable to join the terrorist group there, planned to strike here. Arifil is the first known self-radicalised Singaporean to harbour the intention to carry out violent attacks in Singapore, the ministry said.

The second radicalised Singaporean, a post-secondary youth, 17, was arrested earlier this month for further investigations into the extent of his radicalization. 

The arrests come amid growing concern in the region and beyond that youths are being radicalized by ISIS, with security agencies in South-east Asia and elsewhere stepping up their guard and arresting individuals trying to leave for Syria to join a growing pool of over 20,000 foreign fighters.

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Many of them were radicalized on the Internet. In its statement, MHA said its investigations showed that Arifil’s radicalization began around 2013 when he started viewing terrorist propaganda online.

Arifil grew to support the radical ideology and violent tactics of ISIS, and befriended individuals online who he thought could help him join the terrorist group. It was also revealed that Arifil had actively looked up travel routes to Syria on the Internet and researched ways of making improvised explosive devices.

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“More importantly, Arifil also revealed that if he was unable to join ISIS in Syria, he intended to carry out violent attacks in Singapore. He gave considerable thought to how he would attack key facilities and assassinate government leaders,” MHA said.

If he was unable to execute those plans, Arifil had planned to carry out attacks in public places, with weapons such as knives, in order to strike fear within society, it added.

MHA said Arifil had tried to recruit several people to help carry out the attacks, and while they were not swayed by Arifil, they did not alert the authorities about the plans either.

The arrests come amid growing concern in the region and beyond that youths are being radicalized by ISIS, with security agencies in South-east Asia and elsewhere stepping up their guard and arresting individuals trying to leave for Syria to join a growing pool of over 20,000 foreign fighters.

Many of them were radicalized on the Internet. In its statement, MHA said its investigations showed that Arifil’s radicalization began around 2013 when he started viewing terrorist propaganda online.

Indonesia, Singapore's neighbor, is  a hotbed of Islamic terrorism

Indonesia, Singapore’s neighbor, is a hotbed of Islamic terrorism

Arifil grew to support the radical ideology and violent tactics of ISIS, and befriended individuals online who he thought could help him join the terrorist group. It was also revealed that Arifil had actively looked up travel routes to Syria on the Internet and researched ways of making improvised explosive devices.

“More importantly, Arifil also revealed that if he was unable to join ISIS in Syria, he intended to carry out violent attacks in Singapore. He gave considerable thought to how he would attack key facilities and assassinate government leaders,” MHA said. If he was unable to execute those plans, Arifil had planned to carry out attacks in public places, with weapons such as knives, in order to strike fear within society, it added.

MHA said Arifil had tried to recruit several people to help carry out the attacks, and while they were not swayed by Arifil, they did not alert the authorities about the plans either.

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