Singapore authorities have detained a 16-year-old student accused of planning to attack Muslims at two of Singapore’s mosques.
The student detained without trial was arrested for conducting detailed planning and preparations for attacking worshippers while they conducted their prayers at the two mosques.
The Singapore authorities categorized the planned operations as “terrorist attacks.” No firearms or explosives were seized, and it is believed that the suspect was planning to use a machete to inflict damage during the attack.
The detained teenager, a Singaporean student, has been planning his attack based on a recent, similar attack in New Zealand. The planned “copy-cat” attack was inspired by March 15, 2019, attacks on mosques in Christchurch. During these attacks, a single gunman entered two mosques attacking worshippers during Friday prayers. The Christchurch attacks resulted in 51 deaths and 40 injuries. Australian and white supremacist Brenton Harrison Tarrant was arrested and pleaded guilty to all charges.
The planned attacker in Singapore cannot be named because he is underage. However, what is known is that he is an ethnic Indian Christian believed to be self-radicalized, possessing a fascination with violence, and with strong anti-Islamic views.
The Internal Security Department stated that the teenager is the youngest terror suspect to be detained under Singapore’s Internal Security Act. A spokesperson for the department went in to say their investigation had concluded that the teenager had been working alone. They also had evidence that the attacks were planned for the second anniversary of the Christchurch attacks, March 15.
As had the gunman responsible for the Christchurch attacks, the Singapore teenage student had planned to stream his attacks via live video. The teenager had also prepared two statements, scheduled for distribution just before the attacks would commence.
Local media reported that K.Shanmugam, Minister for Law and Home Affairs, had said there were no plans to charge the teenager as he was underage and had not executed the plan. However, the minister acknowledged that the case was worrying as it was the first instance Singapore had witnessed an extreme right-wing activist targeting Muslims. The teenager is set to undergo rehabilitation, including psychological, social, snd religious counselling.
During his planning, the teenager had considered other options for his attacks, including purchasing a firearm, using explosives, dousing the mosques with fuel, and setting them alight. On settling on a machete attack, the student had researched how to slash the main arteries of his potential victims.
In one of the teenager’s statements, he had referred to the planned attacks as a “massacre,” carried out as an “act of vengeance.” According to an official account, the teen had issued a “call for war” against Islam. In a similar style to that written by the Christchurch attacker, he had also published a manifesto, who was a “saint” in the teenager’s opinion.
The department believed that the teenager was prepared to die during the attack. Authorities also stated that neither the teen’s family nor friends had any idea about his hatred of Muslims or his plans to attack.
The department’s statement concluded that this case demonstrated that young Singaporeans are susceptible to being radicalized by extreme ideology regardless of their religion or race.