Singapore has welcomed an anti-terrorism resolution that was unanimously approved by the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday in New York.
It is also prepared to play its part in curbing the terrorist threat that has spilled beyond the Middle East, attracting 15,000 foreign fighters from 80 countries.
Singapore is one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, which aims to stop the flow of foreign extremists to Iraq and Syria, both of which have lost large swathes of their land to militants.
"We believe that foreign terrorist fighters are a clear threat to international peace and security," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said yesterday in response to media queries.
The resolution is the most significant action the Security Council has taken against terrorism since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
It requires all nations to adopt laws that criminalise their nationals who join extremist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front. Also, recruiting for or funding such groups will be taken as serious crimes. These measures could be enforced by economic sanctions or military force.
Singapore, the MFA added, firmly supports all international and regional cooperation to combat terrorism. "We stand ready to play our part to counter the threat of global terrorism," it said in a statement.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has come out to warn Singaporeans that promoting groups like ISIS is illegal.
"Promoting any group that carries out or threatens to carry out terrorist acts in Singapore or elsewhere can pose a serious security threat to Singapore, and is not allowed under our laws," an MHA spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday.
He said Singapore's security agencies are monitoring the situation in Syria seriously, and will "take the necessary measures" to prevent Singaporeans from being drawn into the violence there.
Urging the public to remain vigilant, he advised them to alert the authorities to any suspicious activity, and play their part in preventing family and friends from becoming radicalised.
Dr Mohamed Ali, vice-chairman of the Religious Rehabilitation Group that counters radical teachings of Islam, told The Straits Times this week the group has been counselling people who actively read up on ISIS' ideology online. These people were referred to the group by the authorities.
In July, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean told Parliament that a "handful of Singaporeans" had joined the war in Syria.
Militants from Indonesia and Malaysia fighting in Syria have formed a unit for Malay-speaking ISIS fighters which is estimated to have at least 22 members.
In yesterday's statement, the MFA noted that the violent campaigns waged by terrorist groups against innocent civilians are not confined to Iraq and Syria alone.
The "horrific murder" of French national Herve Gourdel is a case in point, it said. The tourist was decapitated by an Algerian extremist group this week.
ISIS has previously beheaded three captives: two American journalists and a British aid worker.
This article was first published on Sept 27, 2014.
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