Singapore— According to a press statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), two Singaporeans have been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for their intent to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
On July 25, Thursday, the MHA announced that Singaporeans Kuthubdeen Haja Najumudeen (Haja) and Suderman bin Samikin (Suderman) were detained in two separate cases under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in May and July 2019 respectively.
The two men had been radicalised and were planning to join the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria.
Kuthubdeen Haja Najumudeen, age 36, had been a follower of Zahran Hashim, a Sri Lankan radical preacher who had been behind the Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka on April 21 of this year. Mr Zahran had also been one of the suicide bombers. Over 250 people had been killed and 500 others injured in the bombings.
Mr Haja had followed Mr Zahran’s teachings online and had been in communication with the preacher, both virtually and through visits in 2015 and 2016. He also gave money to Mr Zahran’s group, National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ).
However, the statement from the MHA says that “Investigations did not surface any indication that Haja was involved in, or had prior knowledge of, the 21 April 2019 terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.”
From 2013 onwards, when Mr Haja’s radicalization began, he supported the so-called caliphate of ISIS, watched their violent videos online, which included be-headings. By 2015, he began to plan to travel to Syria but changed his mind out of fear of dying there. But he still continued to support IS.
As for Suderman bin Samikin, age 47, he became radicalised upon exposure to the teachings of deceased Al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki six years ago. The MHA report said, “He soon bought into ISIS’s violent ideology and by February 2014, was prepared to take up arms to fight alongside ISIS in Syria, in the belief that he would be a martyr if he died while doing so.”
That year he also joined a pro-ISIS group on Facebook and attempted to join ISIS, even getting ready to aid foreign pro-ISIS elements who wanted to come to Singapore, a visit that ultimately fell through.
However he offered to help one of the individuals financially “to undertake armed violence in Syria. In turn, the duo invited Suderman to join an overseas pro-ISIS group in which they were involved.”
Mr Suderman was imprisoned on drug charges from July 2014 to June 2019, but while incarcerated, remained dedicated to joining ISIS. He was arrested when he was released from jail last month.
In June, Imran bin Mahmood, another radicalised Singaporean, was also issued an Order of Detention (OD) under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Mr Imran, who is unemployed, was detained in January of this year after investigations proved he was “radicalised and harboured an intention to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group ISIS.”
The MHA said that Mr Imran began to be radicalised in 2013, through listening to lectures online of “foreign religious preachers, including those who preached about the imminent coming of the end-times.” He, therefore, became an avid supporter of the violent actions and goals of ISIS.
The following year, he began to desire to live under “ISIS’s so-called caliphate in Syria/Iraq.” He then studied how to enter Syria, and showed a willingness to fight for Syria and defend and expand its territory. He also believed that if he died while fighting for ISIS, he would become a martyr for his cause. -/TISG