Twenty-seven Bangladeshi construction workers have been arrested in Singapore. They are arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA). The government confirmed that 26 others were deported.
The workers allegedly supported Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda and Islamic States. The home ministry reported that the workers were arrested last year between November 16 and December 1. Among the deported, one tried to leave Singapore illegally and was jailed for the attempt.
According to Channel News Asia, the workers supported armed jihad ideology of terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) affirmed that although, some of them had considered spreading arm jihad overseas, they did not plan any terrorist attacks in Singapore. Among the group, 26 were members of a closed religious study group. They followed extremists’ beliefs and radical ideologues like Anwar al-Awlaki. MHA further added that several members possessed a shared document with graphic images which described details of how to conduct silent killing.
In a statement released by the ministry, it said, “the group members took measures to avoid detection by the authorities. They shared jihadi-related material discreetly among themselves, and held weekly meetings and gatherings where they discussed armed jihad and conflicts that involved Muslims. They also carefully targeted the recruitment of other Bangladeshi nationals to grow their membership”.
MHA further stated that members were encouraged to go back to Bangladesh and start armed jihad against the Bangladeshi Government. They sent monetary donations to entities suspected to be linked to extremists in Bangladesh.
The Singapore Government is stern regarding any form of terrorism and declared that any terrorist activity which threatens the national security and racial and religious harmony of Singapore would be dealt with firmly and accordingly.
MHA declared, “foreign religious speakers who propagate divisive doctrines which could lead to mistrust, enmity and hatred among local religious groups and undermine Singapore’s social cohesion are not welcomed and will not be allowed to operate in Singapore.”
Meanwhile, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore(MUIS) made an appeal to the Muslims in Singapore to remain vigilant and maintain resilience against radicalism.