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The D.I.Y. radical

He made contact with suspected Al-Qaeda recruiter who encouraged him to fight in Afghanistan. -myp

Wed, Jul 07, 2010
my paper

By Lee Hui Chieh

WHEN Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid was studying in a polytechnic here, he began to surf the Internet avidly for propaganda and videos that called for jihad - a holy war against non-Islamic religions.

Over time, he was swayed by the lectures of radical Muslim clerics, such as American-born Anwar al-Awlaki, who now resides in Yemen; and former boxer Sheikh Feiz Muhammad, who was born to Lebanese parents in Australia.

Fadil became convinced that it was his religious duty to carry out jihad as a militant, and to become a martyr to the cause.

He made contact with Anwar al-Awlaki online, and expressed his desire to join the cleric in armed jihad in places like Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also contacted online a suspected recruiter of terrorist group Al-Qaeda, who encouraged him to fight in Afghanistan.

To prepare himself for armed jihad overseas, he trawled the Internet for information on bombmaking.

He also produced a video glorifying martyrdom and justifying suicide bombing, which he then posted online.

But before he could act, the authorities here stopped him. On April 4 this year, Fadil, 20, a full-time national serviceman who was undergoing training to become a section leader at Pasir Laba Camp at the time, was detained under the Internal Security Act.

He had enlisted in the Singapore Armed Forces in September last year, after he left school without completing his studies.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said yesterday that Fadil had not carried out jihad- related activities in Singapore, and had no plans to do so.

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Two Singaporeans, Muhammad Anwar Jailani, 44, and Muhammad Thahir Shaik Dawood, 27, have been placed on two-year restriction orders - which require them to undergo counselling and seek government approval before changing jobs or going abroad - from June 23 this year.

Jailani is an unaccredited religious teacher who had distributed CDs with audio recordings of Anwar al-Awlaki's lectures. Jailani's student Thahir, who runs a small business, developed radical views under his teacher's influence. He enrolled in a school in Yemen run by an associate of Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, seeking radicals like Anwar al-Awlaki and hoping to join armed jihad overseas.

But he did not manage to contact any radicals or join in armed jihad, and began to have doubts about undertaking jihad, so he quit the school.

Jemaah Islamiah (JI) member Ibrahim Mohd Noor was released on a suspension direction - which prohibits him from associating with militants or terrorists and leaving the country without the approval of the Internal Security Department's director - on June 1 this year.

The man, detained in April 2007 for conducting reconnaissance of establishments here for JI's planned terrorist attacks, had shown significant progress in rehabilitation and no longer posed a security threat that required detention, said MHA.

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Isolated case

INVESTIGATIONS have shown that the case of full-time national serviceman Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid, detained under the Internal Security Act, involved only the individual, the Defence Ministry said yesterday.

Singapore has appropriate security processes and systems on a national level to monitor and guard against potential security threats, it said. The ministry "will continue to maintain a high degree of vigilance against any potential threats that may surface", it said.

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