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March 26, 2017

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2 Singaporeans planning to join Islamic State given detention orders

The Straits Times, Asia News Network--Two Singaporeans who intended to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State (IS) have been detained under the Internal Security Act, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs said Friday.

Rosli Hamzah, a 50-year-old car washer, and Mohamed Omar Mahadi, a 33-year-old waste truck driver, received two-year detention orders this month, said

the ministry in a statement.

Both men had also sought information online on how to travel to Syria to fight for IS. Rosli had searched for possible travel routes to Syria, while Omar had contacted militants for travel advice.

One of the militants was a citizen of a Southeast Asian country and he was later killed in combat in Syria, said the ministry, without elaborating.

Both men became radicalized after listening to a Batam-based religious radio station called Radio Hang. The station, which claims a following in Johor Baru and Singapore, sometimes features speakers who preach extreme religious views.

Rosli began listening to the radio station in 2009, and was introduced to IS propaganda in August 2014 by "social media contacts who shared his religious orientation," the ministry said.

"He became interested in armed jihad and IS, and as he perused more IS propaganda on the internet, his support for IS grew," it went on.

"He eventually became convinced that IS militants were fighting for Islam, and that their beheading of 'enemies' was religiously permissible."

Omar started to listen to the same station in 2010, and came across propaganda by radical al-Qaida ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki in 2012. It led him to read more radical materials online, including IS-related materials, and he became a believer of IS' warped

ideology.

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