30 August 2016
The recent arrests of two Singaporeans planning to join the Islamic State group has cast a spotlight on a Batam based radio station, Radio Hang, which according to Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), radicalised the two individuals.
Two others placed on Restriction Orders were also found to have been radicalised by Radio Hang, highlighting the blurred lines between violent and non-violent extremism, and a growing network of transnational Islamist extremism detached from power dynamics.
Radio Hang was founded by former bank officer Zein Alatas in 2002 and was given a licence to operate a regular radio station. In 2005, Zein was influenced by the ideas of Ustaz Abdul Hakim Amir Abdat, a puritanical Indonesian Muslim scholar, and started airing the lectures by Hakim Abdat.
A decision was made about a year later to cease airing music largely due to the puritanical belief that music is prohibited in Islam. The station began exclusively airing Islamic sermons and lectures by puritanical scholars from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and visiting scholars from the Middle East.
It has a following in the Riau Islands, southern Malaysia and Singapore.
In response to MHA’s statement, Zein Alatas has vehemently denied that Radio Hang promotes terrorism and radicalisation. Yet, a closer scrutiny of the sermons and of scholars featured on Radio Hang has revealed the opposite.
… Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman is assistant professor and coordinator of the Malaysia Programme in S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and Aida Arosoaie is a senior analyst at the Malaysia Programme, RSIS.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 30/08/2016