Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid: a self-radicalised Singaporean, but not the first one?!

That ought to be a unique phrase: 'a self-radicalised Singaporean'. No, Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid doesn't hold the honor to be the first named as 'a self-radicalised Singaporean'. A quick google on that term reveals a news published in 2007 by Channel NewsAsia about yet another self-radicalised Singaporean namely Abdul Basheer s/o Abdul Kader. (He's even featured infamously in Ministry of Home Affairs website!)

Further google on the name "Abdul Basheer s/o Abdul Kader" doesn't lead to more news on what happens to this self-radicalised Singaporean.

A FULL-time national serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces has been detained under the Internal Security Act, said a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday.

Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid, 20, had become self-radicalised after searching the Internet for jihadist propaganda and videos.

He was influenced by the teachings of radical clerics posted online 'and became convinced that it was his religious duty to undertake armed jihad alongside fellow militants and strive for martyrdom,' said a statement from MHA.

Fadil initiated communication with radical cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki and expressed a desire to undertake militant jihad in places like Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was detained on April 4.

Two other Singaporeans - Muhammad Anwar Jailani, 44, and Muhammad Thahir bin Shaik Dawood, 27 - were also placed on Restriction Orders for two years from June 23, added the MHA statement.

Separately, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member Ibrahim Mohd Noor was released on a Suspension Direction under the ISA on June 1.

Ibrahim, a trained operative, fled Singapore in December 2001 following the arrests of Singapore JI members in an ISD security operation, but was arrested and detained under the ISA in April 2007 in a joint operation with a regional security agency.

'He had cooperated in investigations and shown significant progress in his rehabilitation. He was assessed to no longer pose a security threat that required preventive detention,' said MHA.

From Straits Times, "Self-radicalised S'porean held". (06/07/10)

Authorities have arrested a self-radicalised Singaporean under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and put two others under Restriction Orders.

20-year-old Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid was detained on April 4. He is a full-time national serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) who drew most of his ideas from the Internet.

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said Muhd Fadil avidly surfed the Internet in search of jihadist propaganda and videos when he was studying in a local polytechnic.

Over time, the ministry said, he became deeply radicalised by the lectures of radical ideologues such as Sheikh Feiz Muhammad and Anwar al-Awlaki.

Muhd Fadil then became convinced that it was his religious duty to undertake armed jihad alongside fellow militants.

To undertake militant jihad overseas, Muhd Fadil went online to search for information on bomb-making.

He also produced and posted a video glorifying martyrdom and justifying suicide bombing.

The MHA said that Fadil did not have any plans to undertake jihad-related activities in Singapore but to pursue them in places like Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Responding to media queries, Singapore's Defence Ministry said Muhd Fadil was an NSF trainee undergoing section leader training in Pasir Laba Camp at the point of his arrest.

It added investigations have shown that this case involves an individual who took the wrong path.

The ministry said at the national level, there are appropriate security processes and systems to monitor and guard against potential security threats.

Separately, two others have been placed on two-year Restriction Orders.

They are 44-year-old Muhammad Anwar Jailani and 27-year-old Muhammad Thahir Shaik Dawood.

The MHA said Muhd Anwar is an unaccredited religious teacher who had distributed CDs containing Anwar al-Awlaki's lectures, calling on Muslims to undertake militant jihad.

Muhd Thahir, who runs a small business, was one of Muhd Anwar's students.

He travelled to Yemen to seek out Anwar al-Awlaki and other radicals with a view to participating in armed jihad.

While in Yemen, he however had doubts and was persuaded to drop his jihad cause.

From Channel NewsAsia, "20-year-old self -radicalised S'porean detained under ISA". (06/07/10)

The Internal Security Department (ISD) has arrested an ex-lecturer whom it said had made plans to pursue "militant jihad" in Afghanistan.

Abdul Basheer s/o Abdul Kader, 28, was arrested in February this year, said a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) statement on Friday.

He is a "self-radicalised Singaporean", said the statement.

The MHA also said that four more Singapore Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members have been detained under the Internal Security Act.

The ISD has been investigating a few Singaporeans who had become attracted to terrorist and radical ideas through the mass media, especially the Internet.

According to the MHA, Abdul Basheer began to develop militant jihad ideas in late 2004, after being affected by the radical discourse he read on the Internet.

He was then a lecturer in an educational institution, after having practised law upon his graduation from a university.

In October 2006, he left for an unnamed Middle Eastern country where he planned to live for two years, learning Arabic so that he could communicate with "mujahidin" fighters.

But within two months, he had decided to embark on "militant jihad" immediately.

At the time of his arrest, he had bought an air ticket to Pakistan where he intended to make contact with militant group Lashkar e-Tayyiba, which could help him train for "militant jihad".

From there, he would cross over into Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban.

However, he was arrested in February this year and repatriated before he could do this.

In a related development, a close friend of Abdul Basheer, 30-year-old Yassin Khan, was issued with a Restriction Order.

The MHA said Yassin had actively abetted Abdul Basheer in his plans and even suggested how he could raise funds for his activities.

Abdul Basheer seemed to be part of what Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng had described as a troubling new phenomenon of individuals who were self-radicalised.

They are independent of direct recruitment by established terrorist groups.

Such cases have been uncovered in several countries and the Home Affairs Ministry said Singapore has not been immune to it.

Earlier this year, Mr Wong had said these people are not unintelligent but are misguided.

They connect with a political cause when it is dressed in religious garb and feel obliged to do something about it when they witness atrocities against others in their community.

While community leaders have been working hard to tackle this threat, the ISD has also kept up efforts against the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network.

Four more members of the Singapore JI network were detained between November last year and April this year.

Among them is Ishak Mohamed Noohu s/o Mohamed Noohu, a senior JI member.

He had fled the country after the 2001 crackdown on the JI and was part of the plot to hijack a plane and crash it into Changi Airport.

He was arrested and detained in November last year.

Another JI member, Mohamed Hussain bin Saynudin, also fled before the 2001 security operation, to pursue Arabic studies overseas.

He had helped Abdul Basheer in his plans.

Mohamed Hussain was arrested and detained in February this year.

Another JI member who stayed overseas and helped Abdul Basheer is Mohamed Yassin s/o O P Mohamed Nooh.

Mohamed Yassin also left Singapore before the 2001 crackdown to pursue Arabic studies overseas and then deliberately stayed away.

He was involved in fund-raising for the JI and had trained in Malaysia.

Arrested and detained in February this year, Mohamed Yassin has since been released.

The fourth JI member detained is Ibrahim bin Mohd Noor.

He is a trained operative who had conducted terrorist reconnaissance against local establishments.

Ibrahim was arrested and detained in April this year.

The ISD also gave the following updates:

JI member Jamil bin Ansani was issued with a Restriction Order in March this year.

He had assisted in some operational reconnaissance activities.

He too had fled Singapore after the 2001 operation.

In the meantime, five other JI detainees have been released under certain conditions.

They had co-operated with investigations and responded positively to rehabilitation.

They are Mohamed Noor bin Sulaimi, Naharudin bin Sabtu, Nordin bin Parman, Syed Ibrahim and Mohamed Yassin s/o Mohamed Nooh.

From Channel NewsAsia, "ISD detains self-radicalised Singaporean". (08/06/07)

Detention of Self-Radicalised Singaporean

There is a troubling new phenomenon today of individuals who are self-radicalised, independent of direct recruitment by established terrorist groups. Such cases have been uncovered in several countries. Singapore has not been immune. In recent years, ISD has investigated a few Singaporeans who had become attracted to terrorist and radical ideas purveyed in the mass media, particularly the Internet.

In Feb 2007, ISD arrested and subsequently detained one self-radicalised Singaporean under the Internal Security Act (ISA) - Abdul Basheer s/o Abdul Kader (Abdul Basheer), aged 28. At the time of his arrest, Abdul Basheer had made specific plans to pursue 'militant jihad' in Afghanistan.

Abdul Basheer studied law at university. He practised law after graduation and later became a lecturer in an educational institution. From late 2004, he began developing the mindset that he had to wage 'militant jihad' in a land where Muslims were under attack. His views were shaped by the radical discourse that he avidly looked up on the Internet.

In Oct 2006, Abdul Basheer left Singapore for a Middle-East country. He planned to live there for two years, learning Arabic so that he could communicate with 'mujahidin' fighters. However, within two months, his 'militant jihad' plans escalated as he became even more deeply influenced by the extremist propaganda he read on the Internet. By Dec 2006, he had decided to embark on 'militant jihad' immediately. At the time of his arrest, he had purchased an air ticket to Pakistan, where he intended to make contact with a militant group - the Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) - that could help him train for 'militant jihad' and to cross over into Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban. Abdul Basheer enlisted the help of his friend in Singapore, Muhamad Yassin Khan bin Muhamad Yunos, to facilitate his plans. He was arrested and repatriated before he could embark on his violent agenda.

Abdul Basheer was detained under the ISA in Feb 2007.

Issuance of Restriction Order (RO) against Muhamad Yassin Khan bin Muhamad Yunos

Yassin Khan, aged 30, a Singaporean, is a close friend of Abdul Basheer. He was not only fully aware of Abdul Basheer's plans to wage 'militant jihad' in Afghanistan, but had actively abetted it. At Abdul Basheer's request, Yassin Khan tried to facilitate Abdul Basheer's 'militant jihad' training. He had also encouraged Abdul Basheer's 'militant jihad' aspirations by offering suggestions, like how Abdul Basheer could obtain more funds to finance his activities. In view of his abetment to violence, Yassin Khan was issued with an RO in Feb 2007.

JI Terrorist Network

ISD also continued to disrupt the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network (JI). Between Nov 2006 and Apr 2007, 4 more Singapore JI members were issued with Orders of Detention (ODs) under the ISA, while a fifth was issued with an RO. Meanwhile, 5 JI detainees were released on Suspension Directions1 (SDs) on 1 Jun 2007.

Detention of 4 JI members

The 4 JI members detained under the ISA were Ishak s/o Mohamed Noohu (Ishak), Mohamed Hussain bin Saynudin (Hussain), Mohamed Yassin s/o O P Mohamed Nooh (Mohamed Yassin) and Ibrahim bin Mohd Noor (Ibrahim).

* Ishak s/o Mohamed Noohu

Ishak was a senior member of the Singapore JI network. He fled Singapore in Dec 2001 following ISD's security operation against Singapore JI members. Ishak had undergone terrorist training in Mindanao and was involved in various plans by the JI to mount attacks against foreign targets in Singapore. Most significantly, he was a member of Singapore JI leader Mas Selamat bin Kastari (detained)'s team that planned to hijack an airplane in order to crash it into Changi Airport. Ishak was arrested and detained under the ISA in Nov 2006.

* Mohamed Hussain bin Saynudin

Hussain was a member of the Singapore JI network. He left Singapore in Aug 2001, prior to the Dec 2001 security operation against the JI network, to pursue Arabic studies overseas; after the ISD operation, he deliberately stayed overseas so as to avoid the Singapore authorities. Hussain had previously undergone terrorist training with the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) militant group in Pakistan. He had also abetted a Singaporean (Abdul Basheer s/o Abdul Kader; detained) in the latter's 'militant jihad' plans. Hussain was arrested and detained under the ISA in Feb 2007.

* Mohamed Yassin s/o O P Mohamed Nooh

Mohamed Yassin was a member of the Singapore JI network. Similar to Hussain, he left Singapore in Aug 2001, prior to the Dec 2001 security operation against the JI network, to pursue Arabic studies overseas; and deliberately remained overseas in subsequent years so as to avoid the Singapore authorities. Mohamed Yassin had been involved in fund-raising for the JI. He had also undergone JI training in Malaysia. Mohamed Yassin was arrested and detained under the ISA in Feb 2007.

* Ibrahim bin Mohd Noor

Ibrahim was a member of the Singapore JI network. He fled Singapore in Dec 2001 following the arrests of Singapore JI members in ISD's security operation. Ibrahim was a trained operative. He had conducted terrorist reconnaissance against local establishments in Singapore. Ibrahim was arrested and detained under the ISA in Apr 2007.

Restriction Order against one JI member

Jamil bin Ansani was a member of the Singapore JI network. He fled Singapore in Dec 2001 following the arrests of Singapore JI members in ISD's security operation. Jamil had assisted the JI in some of its operational reconnaissance activities, but was not a key operative. Jamil was arrested and later issued with an RO in Mar 2007.

Release of 5 JI detainees

Five JI detainees have been released under Suspension Direction on 1 Jun 2007. They are Mohamed Noor bin Sulaimi, Naharudin bin Sabtu, Nordin bin Parman and Syed Ibrahim, who were detained since Sep 2002, and Mohamed Yassin s/o O P Mohamed Nooh, who was detained since Feb 2007. They had cooperated with ISD on investigations into the JI, and had responded positively to rehabilitation. They are assessed to no longer pose a security threat to Singapore that warrants preventive detention.

From Ministry of Home Affairs, "Further Detentions, Releases & Issuance of Restriction Orders under the Internal Security Act, 08 June 2007".

It has been a difficult weekend for the Muslim community here.

News that one of its brightest is the new face of terrorism has sent shock waves through the community. Twenty-eight-year-old Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader — Singapore’s first DIY terrorist — studied at a top secondary school, a well-respected junior college and a local university — before becoming a lawyer and later a lecturer.

His resume is worlds apart from the blue-collar profile of the Jemaah Islamiyah members detained in 2001 for plotting terrorist attacks on targets here, including the Yishun MRT station.

Fuelled by extensive media coverage of the arrest and reactions from community, religious and political leaders, it was not long before the collective shock turned to soul-searching and questioning. Sadly, there are some who wonder if this latest threat has been exaggerated.

Abdul Basheer was self-radicalised. Many in the community are still grappling with the new phenomenon of “self” in this episode. Abdul Basheer was not part of a larger terrorist group or cell. He acted in isolation.

He logged onto the Internet — some analysts suggest in search of pure Islam — but instead found terrorist and radical ideas, which he embraced. But acting alone, is he really a threat?

The fact is Abdul Basheer and other self-radicalised individuals are an even more dangerous phenomenon. In the absence of links and group behaviour — such self-made terrorists are even harder to detect. But they are nonetheless dangerous. Take for example, London bomber Sidique Khan.

For Singapore, even one Abdul Basheer is one too many. Zero-tolerance is our only option.

But Abdul Basheer was heading to Afghanistan — far from Singapore — to fight alongside the Taliban. Why should we in Singapore be overly worried?

Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng had strong words for those who feel this way. “How can we say that it is somehow okay if a Singaporean kills or plans to kill others in terrorist acts abroad, so long as those who die are not Singaporeans?

“If an individual can go overseas and conduct violence and terrorist activities, he can one day also come back and do the same to Singapore and work against Singaporeans.”

Echoing this view, community leader Imran Mohamed, who heads the Association of Muslim Professionals, said: “Fundamentally, what is worrying is that a radical view has been adopted ... If, for example, Abdul Basheer feels strongly about fighting against the United States, then he could bring his fight to local shores where there are several US interests. From a security angle, he is a threat.”

Assoc Prof Farid Alatas, who heads the Malay Studies Department at the National University of Singapore said: “Geography is not important. What is critical is ideology … If a person has no qualms about taking the lives of others, whether in Pakistan, Afghanistan or elsewhere, then he is capable of taking the lives of Singaporeans.”

Equally worrying is that some in the community sympathise with Abdul Basheer — saying that he was driven over the edge by “injustices” such as the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And waging “militant jihad” in a land where Muslims are under attack — was his only option to redress the situation.

This argument does not convince Ba’alwie Mosque’s head imam Habib Hassan. He said: “No matter what your grievances are, they cannot justify the taking of innocent lives.”

In truth, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have much more to do with politics than religion. Injustice is no reason to resort to terrorist actions. Perhaps, it would be useful for Muslim groups here to invite non-religious international relations scholars to shed an impartial perspective on such conflicts.

So, is the Internet to blame for this latest development?

In Today’s coverage of the threat of self-radicalisation over the past two weeks, the newspaper reported that there are about 6,000 websites — and counting — espousing radical ideologies.

Some are hardline websites, which engage in heavy philosophical and religious discussions. Others combine religious songs and war images to drum up support for “militant jihad”.

From Channel NewsAsia (Today), "One Abdul Basher is One Too Many". (11/06/07)

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