Singapore has detained a 20-year-old army trainee who wanted to fight with Islamic militants in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq, the government said Tuesday.
Muhammad Fadil bin Abdul Hamid, a Singaporean, was detained in April under the country’s tough Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.
The suspect, who was serving his mandatory two-year military service, had been “deeply radicalised by the lectures of radical ideologues such as Anwar al-Awlaki and Sheikh Feiz Muhammad,” the MHA said in a press statement.
He “became convinced that it was his religious duty to undertake armed jihad alongside fellow militants and strive for martyrdom,” the statement added.
Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim who holds dual US-Yemen citizenship, is known as the “Bin Laden of the Internet,” as he has a blog and Facebook page and posts his lectures on popular video-sharing website YouTube.
The MHA said Muhammad Fadil had “initiated online communication” with the radical cleric and “expressed his desire to fight alongside Anwar” in places like the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Afghanistan.
He then “made online contact with a suspected Al-Qaeda recruiter who encouraged him to fight in Afghanistan,” researched information on bomb-making and posted a video justifying suicide bombing, MHA said.
Singapore, one of Asia’s most affluent cities and a regional base for thousands of multinational companies, is a prime target for attacks by militant groups chiefly because it is an ally of the United States and other Western countries, according to security analysts.