ISIS Propaganda in Singapore
A Singapore company Albenyahya Enterprise started selling ISIS flags but stopped after they received flak. From pictures on social media on that shop, apart from the black flags that ISIS used for its jihad colours, there was one man with camo pants and camo scarf wrapped around his face like a balaclava, with black flag in the background. He also imitated the jihad camaraderie with one index finger pointing up, like a number one finger gesture, to reflect Islam’s monotheism according to some explanations. Supporters of the shop owner Syed Mohammad Faisal BenYahya described that the flags are innocuous. Yes the Islamic declaration of monotheism is innocuous. However, seen in context, one such black flag is used by ISIS despite prevarications by apologists. With the black flag and its connotations of total war, ISIS propaganda has gain some ground here among the ignorant at best or belligerent at worst, little doubt about that.
SINGAPORE — The owner of a company here that had sold flags resembling those of the Islamic State (IS) yesterday denied having any links to the militant group and has filed a police report against those accusing the firm of having an extremist bent.
Albenyahya Enterprise — which is registered in Singapore and Malaysia and aims to cater to the needs of the Muslim community in the region — had sold the flags online.
A post on the company’s Instagram three weeks ago indicated that the flags were then in stock and were sold for S$17 each.
Its owner, Mr Syed Mohammad Faisal BenYahya, told TODAY that the police report was filed on Tuesday, but declined to comment on the sale of the flags.
“We are currently not selling the flags anymore, it was just a one-off thing due to customer requests,” he said in a phone interview yesterday.
Responding to TODAY’s queries, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) cited an article by two scholars, Mr Mustazah Bahari and Mr Muhammad Haniff Hassan, which stated that the use of black flags by radical groups, including IS militants, “is simply an act of manipulation of popular myths and folklores among Muslims to support their political agenda”.
In its statement, MUIS reiterated that the IS’ actions have tarnished the Islamic faith and image of Muslims in general, adding: “We have communicated this through our Friday sermons previously.”
In an earlier post on the Albenyahya Enterprise’s Facebook page — before the page was taken down around 2pm yesterday — Mr Faisal had called the allegations of extremist links “baseless accusations” and sought customers’ understanding on the matter.
His post said: “It has come to my attention that an unfortunate post on a website has accused and/or linked my business (and by extension, myself) as ‘supporters’ of terrorism.
“Upon legal advice, to protect my name, my family and my business, I have made a police report with regards to this incident.”
A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spokesperson yesterday confirmed that a police report “related to the purported sale of IS flags in Singapore” had been made and reminded Singaporeans to play a part in preventing their family and friends from becoming radicalised and unknowingly drawn into the violence.
“The IS has enlisted foreign fighters, including those from our region, to fight alongside the group and this has raised the threat of terrorism to Singapore. The authorities are monitoring the situation closely,” the spokesperson said.
In July, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean told Parliament that a handful of Singapore citizens, including two families, had gone to participate in the Syrian conflict.
Mr Teo also said that several others, who had intended to travel to Syria or other conflict zones to engage in jihadist violence, were detained under the Internal Security Act and there were also those who were under investigation for expressing interest in joining the fight.