Jihadist in video is 3rd Singaporean fighting for ISIS in Syria
Case of S'porean jihadist shows important role the public can play in countering threats of terrorism and radicalisation, says ministry
Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad, who left for Syria in 2014, is the third known Singaporean to be fighting on the frontline for terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
That the 39-year-old is also part of an ISIS recruitment video sets him apart from the other two Singaporeans, Haja Fakkurudeen Usman Ali and Maimunah Abdul Kadir, involved in overseas armed conflict.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said: "In Megat Shahdan's case, it is compounded by the fact that he is also actively propagating ISIS' violent ideology and rallying others to engage in combat in support of ISIS.
"This is of particular concern as we have seen a spike in the number of self-radicalisation cases following the rise of ISIS and proliferation of its propaganda materials."
After identifying Megat Shahdan on Sunday, the ministry yesterday released more details of his path to radicalisation.
A school dropout and a secret society member, Megat Shahdan spent the bulk of his twenties in and out of jail for a series of drug and criminal offences.
Working odd jobs, he showed no signs of being religiously inclined or having any radical tendencies, said the MHA.
Things changed after he left for the Middle East in early 2014.
He worked in the tourism and renovation industries, and was also involved in a failed business venture.
Family members who visited him noticed Megat Shahdan had become more observant of his religious obligations after reportedly attending religious gatherings, and it is believed he soon became radicalised.
"He told at least one of his family members of his interest to perform jihad," the ministry said.
In September that year, on his way to Syria to join ISIS, Megat Shahdan is believed to have contacted one of his family members while at the Turkish-Syrian border and asked for prayers for his safe crossing into Syria.
Since then, he has been fighting for ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and suffered an injury in battle.
He has also dispensed religious advice to his family and friends back in Singapore, although none have responded to his "overtures", said the MHA.
"He has expressed the hope that his family would migrate to ISIS' self-declared caliphate as, in his view, it is a sin to live in an infidel country.
"He has also said that he would intercede for 70 of his relatives should he achieve martyrdom and exhorted his family members to support ISIS," said the ministry.
The MHA noted that Megat Shahdan's case shows 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.
"The Government continues to urge the public to do its part in countering the threats of terrorism and radicalisation," it said.