25 September 2017
The latest Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recruitment video featuring a Singaporean fighter is a “game changer”, said security experts yesterday, noting that it was evidence of the terror group’s determined focus on South-east Asia and its English-speaking Muslims.
Professor Rohan Gunaratna of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) said ISIS seeks to deepen its ideological and operational influence in South-east Asia.
“To destabilise the region, its strategy is to radicalise and militarise South-east Asians, including Singaporeans,” he said, adding that the video was produced to reach out to Singaporeans in particular.
RSIS associate research fellow Remy Mahzam said the video indicates a strategic shift in language medium – likely part of a push to attract younger, English-speaking Muslims in South-east Asia.
“They no longer use only Arabic as the medium to preach or to push their agenda… They are using a language accessible to the communities here,” said Mr Remy.
The video’s mention of a visit by Britain’s Prince Harry to Singapore in June is also Megat Shahdan’s way of showing he is familiar with goings-on in Singapore, said Mr Remy.
He added that there is a risk radicalised Singaporeans could see Megat Shahdan as an “ideologue or someone they can emulate”, which could prompt them to carry out lone-wolf attacks here.
ICPVTR / Online / Print
Last updated on 25/09/2017