Bangladeshi worker arrested in Singapore for planning armed violence back home

  • News Desk, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-11-24 19:17:10 BdST

bdnews24
Ahmed Faysal was arrested in Singapore for terrorism-related activities. He brought in foldable knives and claimed they are for attacks against Hindus in Bangladesh. (Photo: Ministry of Home Affairs of Singapore)

A Bangladeshi man was arrested in Singapore earlier this month for his involvement in terrorism-related activities, the Straits Times has reported.

Ahmed Faysal, 26, was arrested on Nov 2, and preliminary investigations by the Internal Security Department found he had been radicalised and intended to carry out acts of armed violence in support of his religion, the newspaper said citing a home ministry statement on Tuesday.

The investigation, which probed into the suspicious activities of 37 people as part of the heightened security measures in the city-state following recent terror attacks in Europe, found that Faysal, a Muslim, was plotting attacks against Hindus in Bangladesh and was planning to fight in Kashmir, it added.

Faysal left Bangladesh for Singapore in early 2017 to work as a construction worker, and became radicalised the following year after absorbing online propaganda on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Faysal began to create social media accounts under fictitious names to avoid detection, and actively shared material promoting armed violence, going a step further by buying foldable knives. He later confessed to the authorities he was planning to use for attacks back home.

The Singaporean Ministry of Home Affairs said investigations so far have not indicated that Faysal intended to carry out any act of violence in Singapore.

Home affairs and law minister K Shanmugam disclosed at a Religious Rehabilitation Group event on Tuesday that Faysal had intended to take the knives back to Bangladesh to carry out attacks against Hindu police officers there.

The minister disclosed that another 15 Bangladeshis and one Malaysian were repatriated, following ISD investigations, for stoking anti-France sentiments and making inflammatory comments to incite violence or stoke communal unrest.

The ministry clarified that Faysal was not linked to the string of attacks that happened in France last month, when a school teacher was beheaded in Paris and three others in Nice were knifed to death, one of whom was beheaded as well.

He was drawn to ISIS' goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Syria and wanted to travel there to fight alongside the group against the Syrian government, the ministry's statement added, noting that he believed he would be a martyr if he died while doing so.

In the middle of last year, he shifted his allegiance to Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, another militant group fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate in Syria, the ministry said.

"He donated funds to a Syria-based organisation on the understanding that his donations would benefit the HTS' cause in Syria,” the newspaper reported.

The home ministry further said that Faysal had expressed support for other terrorist groups, including the Al-Qaeda and Somalia-based Al-Shabaab.

He believed that Muslims have a duty to engage in armed jihad, to help fellow Muslims who are oppressed, it noted.

Apart from Syria, he was also willing to travel to Kashmir to fight against the perceived enemies of Islam, and prepared himself for battle by watching firearms-related videos online, it added.