Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 January 2020

Singapore mother arrested for planning to marry ISIL fighter

Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari became radicalised from 18 after watching propaganda videos from the extremist group, and had formed an extensive network of foreign contacts, including ISIL militants and supporters, the government said.

SINGAPORE // A 22-year-old Singaporean woman who was planning to go to Syria with her child and marry an ISIL fighter has been detained without trial, the city-state’s interior ministry said on Monday.

Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, who worked at a community nursery, was detained under the internal security act, the ministry of home affairs said.

“Izzah was intent on joining ISIS and was actively planning to make her way to Syria, with her young child,” the ministry said.

“She supported ISIS’s use of violence to establish and defend its self-declared ‘caliphate’, and aspired to live in it.”

Ms Izzah became radicalised from 18 after watching propaganda videos from the extremist group, and had formed an extensive network of foreign contacts, including ISIL militants and supporters, the ministry said, some of whom had been killed in Syria or arrested for terror-related activities.

The daughter of Quranic teachers, she believed that having a husband who died in battle would give her “elevated status” and she could easily remarry in Syria, said the ministry. Her family tried to talk her out of it but to no avail.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said the incident demonstrated the threat of self-radicalisation is “very real”.

“An individual may fall prey to false narratives and teachings on the internet and social media, such that even a real life support structure may not be able to counter them,” the council said.

Singapore considers itself a prime target for terrorists because of the anti-terror role it plays and the interior ministry has warned that the terrorism threat was at its highest in recent years.

Since 2015, 14 Singaporeans have been detained under the internal security act for radicalisation, which allows for detention without trial for up to two years.

The region has been on high alert in recent weeks following a takeover of Marawi in the southern Philippines by Islamist militants flying the black flags of ISIL.

During a recent regional security dialogue, Malaysian and Indonesian defence ministers said that as ISIL loses ground in the Middle East, returning fighters from Iraq and Syria will pose a problem in the years ahead.

* Agence France-Presse

Updated: June 12, 2017 04:00 AM

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