Family of ISA detainee Zulfikar denies that he supports ISIS


The family of Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff said that the 44-year-old Singaporean does not support the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

Zulfikar has been issued with an Order of Detention under the ISA for two years for actively spreading radical ideology online and helping to radicalise at least two other Singaporeans, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on 29 July.

In a statement rebutting the government and media reports about Zulfikar’s arrest, the family said the accusations of Zulfikar supporting ISIS are based on selected Facebook postings in 2013 and 2014, “and almost nothing from 2015 and 2016 where his position on many issues have changed.”

The family claimed that Zulfikar was not an ISIS supporter based on their conversations with him. In addition, “Zulfikar took a different stance” after he read about reports of violence and beheadings by the group in late July 2014.

“He had been against their violent nature and ideology. Anyone who knows him personally would know that he is argumentative but not a violent man, and does not condone violence,” the family said, adding that Zulfikar has never encouraged others to join ISIS.

“To detain him under the ISA for his views, is not fair. To further accuse him of being an extremist and by extension insinuating terrorism and being a sympathiser of terrorist organisations, is stretching the evidence from his FB page postings.

“We fear that the detention of Zulfikar also increases the chances of self-incrimination through ‘confessions’ and ‘admissions’.”

On a widely circulated photo of Zulfikar posing with what some media reports have identified as an ISIS banner, the family dismissed any association with the terrorist group.

Instead, the banner “has been used throughout Islamic history, as the basis of Islamic creed to represent Islam, which states the Shahadah, or professing the recognition of God and the Prophet. The banner in the photo was purchased to show solidarity towards the oppression of the Palestinians.”

The family also denied that Zulfikar was aiming to establish a caliphate system in Singapore.

Zulfikar has always been known to oppose the Singapore Government’s policies, the family acknowledged. But he was merely arguing against the policies in relation to the Malay-Muslim community, they added.

“Zulfikar is a loving family man. His detention is doing irreparable harm to him and his family,” the family said.