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27 JAN 2021

SINGAPORE: Singapore detained a 16-year-old male Singaporean in December 2020 under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after he was found to have made detailed plans and preparations to conduct terrorist attacks on two mosques in this island republic. Planning to use a machete against Muslims, the Protestant Christian of Indian ethnicity, is the first detainee to be inspired by far-right extremist ideology, according to a statement from the republic’s Internal Security Department (ISD), here, today.

A secondary school student at the time, he is also the youngest individual to date, dealt with under the ISA for terrorism-related activities, said the department. The ISD said he was self-radicalised, motivated by a strong antipathy towards Islam and a fascination for violence. “He watched the livestreamed video of the terrorist attack on the two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019, and read the manifesto of the Christchurch attacker, Brenton Tarrant.

“He had also watched the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) propaganda videos, and came to the erroneous conclusion that ISIS represented Islam, and that Islam called on its followers to kill non-believers,” said the ISD. The department said it was clear from the attack plans and preparations that this youth was influenced by Tarrant’s actions and manifesto. Among others, the ISD said, he planned to carry out his attacks on March 15, 2021, the anniversary of the Christchurch attacks.

“He chose Assyafaah Mosque and Yusof Ishak Mosque as his targets, because they are near his home. He conducted online reconnaissance and research on both mosques to prepare for the attacks,” it said. According to the ISD, the detailed planning and preparations attested to the youth’s determination to follow through with his attack plans. “He admitted during the investigation that he could only foresee two outcomes of his plans – that he is arrested before he is able to carry out the attacks, or he executes the plans and is thereafter killed by the police,” it said. The ISD noted that its investigation to date indicated that the youth had acted alone. “There was also no indication that he had tried to influence anyone with his extreme outlook or involve others in his attack plans. His immediate family and others in his social circles were not aware of his attack plans and the depth of his hatred for Islam,” it said. - Bernama

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