How teen downloaded bomb-making manual and planned to stab ‘disbelievers’ in S’pore
On Wednesday, the Internal Security Department (ISD) announced that Muhammad Irfan Danyal Mohamad Nor, 18, had been detained under the Internal Security Act.
Here are details ISD provided of how the post-secondary student became self-radicalised by ISIS propaganda online and planned attacks in Singapore.
2020: Irfan started down the path of radicalisation after viewing YouTube videos by foreign extremist preacher Zakir Naik and Naik’s mentor, Ahmad Deedat.
He took part in discussions on social media platforms and was exposed to propaganda by terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Late 2021: Irfan developed an interest in ISIS and started taking photos of himself in a ski mask, with his index finger raised to mimic ISIS fighters online. He desired to live in a caliphate, and wanted to establish one in Singapore and recruit Muslims to join it. He believed it was his religious obligation to spread ISIS’ ideology.
Aug 9, 2022: Irfan travelled to Coney Island and planted a self-made flag he designed based on that of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an Al-Qaeda linked terror group in Syria. He was familiar with the island, having cycled there before. He said the act symbolised the start of his own caliphate on Singapore’s National Day. He also uploaded pictures of the flag on his social media account the same day, to encourage like-minded individuals to join his caliphate. He called it the “Islamic State of Singhafura”.
From August 2022: Irfan bought a knife from a convenience store so he could carry out his plan to stab and kill “disbelievers”, who he defined as non-Muslims, Shi’ite Muslims and Sufi Muslims. He wanted to ambush them in dark alleys, and take their personal belongings as war spoils for his ISIS army. He had no timeline for these attacks – or two other planned attacks – at the point of his arrest.
October 2022: Irfan decided to travel to Nigeria to join the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap), as he believed it was ISIS’ strongest affiliate. If he could not join them, he saw Iraq, Syria or Marawi in the southern Philippines as alternative destinations where he could take up arms and be a martyr. He made online searches for flights to these locations, and planned to travel after having saved up enough funds.
Irfan planned to demonstrate his support for ISIS by filming a video of himself taking the bai’ah, or pledge of allegiance, to then ISIS leader Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Quraishi. He planned to film his oath at Coney Island on the weekend of Nov 12-13, wearing his National Cadet Corps (NCC) uniform and a self-made ISIS flag and headband, and carrying a toy rifle. He intended to declare Coney Island an ISIS wilayat or province, and planned to upload his video to various social media platforms. He hoped to recruit an ISIS army of between 100 and 500 fighters to help him conduct attacks in Singapore.
Irfan also aspired to carry out a mass casualty attack against Amoy Quee Camp, where the NCC Headquarters is located. He had been an NCC cadet in secondary school, and was familiar with the camp in Ang Mo Kio. He was also inspired by ISIS car bomb videos online, and wanted to recruit a suicide bomber to mount a car bombing at the camp gate. He hoped to then lead his army to attack the remaining guards using weapons like axes and knives, and steal firearms from the guardhouse.
Irfan also considered a bomb attack on the Keramat Habib Noh shrine at Haji Muhammad Salleh Mosque in Palmer Road, as he believed the gravesite, which was decorated and was not at ground level, was “unIslamic”. He downloaded a C4 bomb-making manual online, and intended to construct a homemade explosive to flatten the grave. The manual by Ragnar Benson was also found in the possession of the American terrorist Timothy McVeigh, who bombed a United States government building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.
Early November 2022: Irfan was arrested by the ISD a few days before he would have filmed his bai’ah to ISIS and declared Coney Island an ISIS province. “Our assessment was that he had become an imminent security threat,” the department said on Wednesday. “He was deeply radicalised to the extent of being prepared to undertake armed violence both in Singapore and overseas, and to kill and die for ISIS’ cause.”
At the time of his arrest, his attack plans against Amoy Quee Camp and Keramat Habib Noh had not progressed beyond the idea stage, the ISD said. Its investigation to date indicated that Irfan had acted alone, and there was no indication that he was successful in recruiting or radicalising others. His family members were also not aware of his attack plans or his intention to take part in armed violence abroad.
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