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The New Paper
Jun 21, 2017
An auxiliary police officer, Muhammad Khairul Mohamed, 24, has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for planning to travel to Syria to fight after being radicalised.
His colleague, Mohamad Rizal Wahid, 36, has been placed on a Restriction Order for not reporting him to superiors despite knowing his plans since 2015.
The Singaporeans, who were working for Aetos at the Woodlands Checkpoint, were arrested under the ISA last month and issued their respective orders earlier this month, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said yesterday.
Their last day of work was June 1, the ministry said.
Khairul started being radicalised in 2012 after online research about the conflict in Syria between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, said the MHA.
He felt the Syrian conflict was a "holy war" in which he was prepared to die in battle as a "martyr" and receive divine rewards.
"He developed the view that the conflict in Syria was a sectarian struggle between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, and being a Sunni Muslim, he wanted to fight against the Shi'ites in Syria by joining the Free Syrian Army (FSA)," the ministry said.
He then used Facebook to contact a foreign militant and two other people, whom he believed to be FSA supporters, to find out how to get to Syria.
Though Khairul's duties as an outrider did not require him to be armed, the MHA said: "His readiness and proclivity to resort to violence in pursuit of a religious cause makes him a security threat to Singapore."
Auxiliary police officers are private contractors hired to do police duties, such as carrying out security checks at buildings and controlling crowds.
Referring to the men as "ex-employees", a spokesman for Aetos said in a statement: "During their time of employment with Aetos, Mr Rizal was performing general security duties at Woodlands Checkpoint while Mr Khairul was performing the duty of traffic control."
News of their arrests came a week after the MHA said last Monday that a 22-year-old was the first Singaporean woman to be detained for radicalism under the ISA.
Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, an infant care assistant, was planning to travel to Syria with her child to become a "martyr's widow", fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Izzah's family knew about her plans but did not report her.
In Khairul's case, his friends and relatives also knew of his intentions but did not alert the authorities, the MHA said.
Rizal, an armed officer, had even suggested to Khairul various ways to get to Syria and to die there as a "martyr", it added.
Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said the arrests of the two men were "more chilling" as they had been "trusted to protect our society, but instead chose to endanger it".
He added: "...I hope my community will reflect the need to watch out for our children and loved ones.
"We cannot allow strident or extreme teachings of Islam to take root here."
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said in a Facebook post: "The new cases underscore once again the important role of parents, religious teachers, and the community at large to look out for each other, and to immediately refer any signs of radicalisation to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), Religious Rehabilitation Group or the police.
"This is the best and only way to help a loved one before it is too late."
Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, added: "We cannot take the threat of radicalisation lightly and merely hope that someone can grow out of it."
Noting the concern in the Muslim community, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday warned against letting anti-Muslim sentiments take root here.
"Islamophobia is as bad and as unacceptable as extremist radical terrorism," he said.