ISIS sympathizer, aspiring ‘martyr’s widow’ arrested in Singapore

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A woman who wanted to travel to Syria with her child to find a militant husband has been arrested in Singapore, becoming the first woman to be detained by the country on suspicion of Islamist radicalism.

Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, 22, a contract assistant at an infant care center, was detained this month under the Internal Security Act that allows for her detention without trial. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement that Al Ansari supported the violence being used by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to form its self-declared ‘caliphate’ which she “aspired to live in.” 

“She said that since 2015, she was looking for ‘a Salafi or an ISIS supporter’ to marry and settle down with him and her child in Syria,” according to the statement. 

Izzah is believed to have been radicalized in 2013 after viewing propaganda shared online by IS. 

Izzah desired to become a “martyr’s widow” according to the ministry, believing she would reap “heavenly rewards” if her husband died in battle. 

Several of Izzah’s social media profiles were taken down due to pro-Islamic State content being posted. Her parents became aware of her online activity in 2015 but failed in their attempts to dissuade her and did not alert the authorities. 

She allegedly boasted to a contact in April this year that she had not been detected by authorities. 

She is the first female to be detained under the controversial act, which allows for the detention of anyone seen as a national security threat for up to two years. 

Three men have been detained under the act over the past year. Two were described as “Syria-bound militants” with the third detained for supporting IS and encouraging violence through Facebook posts. 

Singapore is multireligious and multiethnic but Buddhism is the largest religion in the country boasting over 44 percent of the population, according to the latest census. Islam accounted for 14 percent. 

Neighboring Indonesia, home to the world’s largest population of Muslims, said they arrested six Indonesians last year with suspected links to Islamic State who planned an attack in Singapore.

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