Bangladeshi arrested under ISA bought knives to kill Hindus back home
Not long after coming to Singapore in 2017 to work in construction, Ahmed Faysal had his head turned.
By the following year, the Bangladeshi had become radicalised after imbibing online propaganda on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, so much so that he wanted to go to Syria to fight with the terrorist group.
He donated money to fund another militant group fighting in Syria, actively shared jihadist propaganda using social media accounts he created with fake names, and watched firearms-related videos online.
He even bought foldable knives here with the aim of killing Hindu police officers back home.
But Faysal, 26, had gained the attention of local security agencies that had been on high alert since early September after a spate of terror attacks sparked by the re-publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Faysal, one of 37 people investigated by the Internal Security Department in recent weeks, was arrested under the Internal Security Act on Nov 2.
Of the 37 people, 23 are foreigners, of whom 16 - all Bangladeshis except for one Malaysian - have been repatriated. The Malaysian had intended to travel to Syria or Palestine to take part in armed violence, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said yesterday.
The 15 Bangladeshis, most of whom worked in construction, made social media posts that incited violence or stoked communal unrest in response to the recent attacks in France.
The remaining seven foreigners are still being investigated.
MHA said Faysal was not linked to the incidents in France and has not shown any indication he intended to carry out acts of violence in Singapore.
But Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar yesterday it was not hard to imagine him doing so.
He said: "If he finds he can't go back to Bangladesh immediately, could he have decided one day to just attack people in Singapore? It's very easy to switch.
"His propaganda, his call for others to attack people of other faiths, that could have influenced other people too. These things have no boundaries. That is why we have detained him."
But Mr Shanmugam warned against overstating concerns about migrant workers here agitating for violence overseas.
He said: "I think we lose the war if we go around thinking... every migrant worker ought to be looked at with suspicion.
"That's not the case. The number who cross the line are the minutest fraction." - KOK YUFENG