A Straits Times report has revealed that a 22-year-old Singaporean "has become the first woman to be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)."
Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari was, reportedly, a contract infant care assistant with a PCF Sparkletots Preschool. She was detained earlier this month by authorities.
Izzah started her radicalisation process in 2013 via online propaganda from terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement they released today (June 12).
The Ministry further states that following Izzah's exposure to this propaganda, she "began to believe that ISIS represented the true spirit of Islam. Her radicalisation deepened over time. This was exacerbated by a wide network (including ISIS fighters and supported) of foreign online contacts which she developed."
Izzah was even planning to travel to Syria with her young child, the Ministry elaborated further, and since 2015, was actively looking for an ISIS supporter to get married to.
The woman's ambition was to be a "martyr's widow" – someone who got "heavenly benefits" if their husband died fighting, enabling them to marry another ISIS fighter. She was also "prepared to undergo military training and engage in armed combat to defend ISIS if called upon by the terrorist group to do so," said MHA.
Her family had been aware of her radicalism in 2015, but wanting to protect her, had not alerted the authorities, even destroying important evidence connected to her plan to join ISIS.
While they had reportedly tried to prevent her from joining ISIS, they had not been successful.
The Ministry has urged the public to contact them or relevant authorities with any information related to the radicalisation of friends and family members. They stress the importance of this in preventing possible terror attacks.
"In Izzah's case, her family members did not bring her to the attention of the authorities when she was younger and could have potentially been turned back from the path of radicalisation," said the MHA in its statement.
What you can do in case of a terror attack
In the event of a major crisis, like a terror attack, the Singapore Police Force advises the Run, Hide, Tell method. Check out this video which tells viewers the 3 basic steps they must take in case of a terror attack.
To put it simply, here is what we can do in case of an emergency:
- Run – Try to run away from the affected place as soon as possible. You might want to familiarise yourself with the exits of frequently visited buildings. This will help you to stay sane and make a calm exit.
- Hide – Find cover, stay out of sight and keep quiet. Switch your phones to silent mode. When trying to hide, look for a strong support like a hard pillar, especially in case of gunfire.
- Tell – Call the police on 999. If unable to call, SMS 71999 or use the Police@SG mobile app.
- Be Prepared – It would help to familiarise yourself with basic first-aid techniques in case you need to tend to yourself or others.
- Prepare your children – Educate your children about the realities of the world. Explain facts in simple language. Encourage them to stay calm under all circumstances. Teach them about good and bad people, and that it is okay to approach the good people if things go horribly wrong.
*Click here for the full statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Stay safe everyone.