Threats mentioning 9/11 attacks made against Singapore by Indonesian preacher’s supporters: Shanmugam

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According to Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, several people who were probed under the Internal Security Act were followers of Somad, including a 17-year-old who was imprisoned in January 2020.

Supporters of a preacher prevented from entering the country have issued threats against Singapore, according to Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Monday (May 23).

On May 16, Indonesian preacher Abdul Somad Batubara and six others arrived at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal but were denied entrance and returned to Batam.

The following day, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated that Somad was known to espouse “extremist and segregationist” views that are “inappropriate in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious community.”

Mr Shanmugam told reporters on Monday that one example of a threat posted on Instagram branded Singapore a “Islamophobic country” and stated that its authorities had 48 hours to apologize to Muslims and the people of Indonesia.

If their demands were not met, the Instagram user threatened to withdraw Singapore’s ambassador to Indonesia and deploy forces, including the Islamic Defenders Front, an Indonesian extreme Islamist organization, to attack the country “like 9/11 in New York 2001.”

For breaking community guidelines, the site has since removed the post and disabled the account.

In response to media inquiries on whether Singaporeans should be concerned, Mr Shanmugam stated that the threats should not be disregarded.

“Parallels are drawn with 9/11, parallels are drawn with Singaporeans being governed by non-Islamic leaders, and that Singapore should be attacked, Singaporean interests should be attacked,” he said. “As a result, I wouldn’t discount the comments.”

Mr Shanmugam also revealed that some of them under investigation under the Internal Security Act were followers of Somad. One of them is a 17-year-old who was seized in January 2020.

The adolescent had heard Somad’s YouTube lectures on suicide bombers and had come to believe that if he fought for Islamic State and was a suicide bomber, he would die as a martyr.

“So you can see, Somad’s preachings have real world consequences,” said Mr Shanmugam.

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