Two other S’poreans in Syria with their families

Apart from Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad, two other Singaporeans are believed to still be in Syria with their familes, the Ministry of Home Affairs said yesterday.

The other two were identified as Haja Fakkurudeen Usman Ali and Maimunah Abdul Kadir.

Haja was named by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in July 2014, when he provided updates to Parliament on Singaporeans who were taking part in the Syrian conflict. At that time, Mr Teo did not name Maimunah but he also spoke about her case.

Maimunah, 50, had gone to Syria with her Penang-born husband, Malaysia’s The Star newspaper reported in Sep 2014. The couple and their children are fighting alongside jihadists in Syria or supporting them. The children — a daughter and son who are now 21 and 17, respectively — are from a previous marriage and are also Singapore citizens, the report added.

Yesterday, the MHA said the involvement of Shahdan, Haja and Maimunah “in an overseas armed conflict jeopardises Singapore’s security”.

“In Shahdan’s case, it is compounded by the fact that he is also actively propagating Islamic State’s (IS) violent ideology and rallying others to engage in combat in support of IS,” the ministry said. “This is of particular concern as we have seen a spike in the number of self-radicalisation cases following the rise of IS and proliferation of its propaganda materials.”

The MHA reiterated that Shahdan’s case, as with other recent cases involving radicalised Singaporeans who had to be dealt with under the Internal Security Act, “illustrates the important role that family, friends, or any individual who may be close to a potentially radicalised individual, can play in reporting such individuals as early as possible”.

Urging the public to do its part in countering the threats of terrorism and radicalisation, the MHA said the Government has “consistently taken the view that anyone who supports, promotes or undertakes or makes preparations to undertake armed violence, regardless of how such violence is rationalised, or where such violence takes place, poses a security threat to Singapore and Singaporeans”.