A top Christian body in Singapore today cautioned against Islamophobia in the country, saying detention of a Singaporean woman for radicalism should not put the Muslim community in a negative light. The National Council of Churches (NCCS) here said it is “profoundly saddened” by the detention of a 22-year-old woman, the first Singaporean woman to be detained under the Internal Security Act for radicalism after she planned to join the Islamic State in Syria. “The Muslim community has contributed significantly to the progress of our nation, and has also done much to strengthen our multi-racial and multi-religious community,” the NCCS was quoted as saying by Channel News Asia. “The actions of a misguided few must never be seen as representing that of the majority of Muslims here,” it said.
Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, a contract infant-care assistant with a pre-school programme, was detained in June this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said yesterday. Her radicalisation started in 2013 through online propaganda related to the Islamic State terrorist group, the MHA said. The NCCS’ position on the matter was conveyed to the Mufti of Singapore and the chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) in a letter. The NCCS, which represents about 450 voluntary welfare organisations in Singapore, said it will continue to support and pray for the Muslim community. “Let us continue to work together to ensure that nothing will jeopardise the inter-religious harmony and peace that gives all Singaporeans a sense of security and mutual goodwill in the land we call our home,” the NCCS was quoted as saying.
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According to the ministry, Izzah was not planning any attack in Singapore. However, she intended to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group ISIS, which has threatened attacks against Singapore. She was also prepared to take up arms in Syria on behalf of ISIS, said the ministry in the statement yesterday. “The authorities are looking into taking action against the family member who destroyed important evidence relating to Izzah’s plans to join ISIS,” said the statement.