SINGAPORE : A Singaporean man, who gave financial support to a Syria-based Islamic State (IS) militant from Malaysia, has been detained under Malaysia’s Internal Security Act, said authorities yesterday.
The arrest highlights the continued influence of Southeast Asian militants fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria in radicalising people back home, even as the Jihadists face defeat in the Middle East.
Singaporean businessman Mohamed Kazali Salleh, 48, was suspected of being a “close associate ” of Mohamad Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin, believed to be the most senior Malaysian IS fighter in Syria, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Kazali, who had been living in Johor, paid for the militant’s trip to Syria in late 2013 to fight with IS and continued to support him financially, said the ministry.
In return, Aquil “kept him updated on his exploits on the battlefield”, it said. Kazali became increasingly radicalised over time and pledged allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
He shared news of Aquil’s activities in Syria on social media to inspire others to travel there and was prepared to finance them.
In December, he received instructions from Aquil to carry out an attack in Johor, but he did not follow through for fear of being arrested, said the MHA.
Kazali was arrested by Malaysian authorities in December and deported to Singapore, where he is being held under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial for up to two years.
A second person was also detained under the act — Hazim Syahmi Mahfoot, 28, a car exporter who was influenced by Kazali’s radical views and was convinced by him to carry out attacks against Islam’s perceived enemies.
He took an oath to be “loyal and obedient to Kazali even if it involved carrying out attacks and killing others”, although he did not participate in any acts of violence, said the authorities. -AFP