SINGAPORE: A total of 24 women in Singapore have been radicalised since 2015. This includes three Singaporean women and 21 foreign maids.

Most of them are supporters of ISIS extremist groups.

That is according to a spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs while answering a question from BERITAmediacorp.

Even so, the role of women in extreme violence and terrorism is rarely discussed. So, as the security landscape is changing and evolving, new efforts need to be taken to address it.

This includes deepening the understanding of the role of women in preventing and even promoting radicalisation, thus developing the ability of counsellors to deal with it.

Therefore, the Taman Bacaan in collaboration with the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) and Dr Noor Huda Ismail organised a seminar session on tackling extreme violence (CVE) entitled ‘Women and radicalisation’ with the Inter-Agency Aftercare Group (ACG) yesterday (18 Jan).

The seminar session featured three segments including presentations by the RRG and Dr Noor Huda Ismail – namely the “Challenge of Religious Counseling for Women” and “Women and Radicalisation”, the screening of a film entitled ‘Seeking the Imam’ and a closed-door dialogue session with the Guest of Honour, Minister of State, Associate Professor Dr. Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, RRG counselor, Ustazah Kalthom Isa and Taman Bacaan President, Mr. Abdul Halim Kader.


Through the seminar, the three main roles of women are formulated in preventing or encouraging radicalisation.

First, women can be as violent as men.

Extremist groups rely on women to set strategies, recruit them as mentors and who will be appointed as religious fighters as well as benefit from the nature of setting aside the selfish desires of women.

The role and participation of women is often overlooked in incidents of extreme violence including as perpetrators, mitigating factors and victims.

Second, women try to spark extremism by conveying their ideologies online and planting these ideologies in their family members.

With the role of most women as wives and mothers, women can radicalise the family or prevent them from becoming radical.

Third, the internet and social media enable efforts to reach out to more people in a more sophisticated way. The messages to be conveyed can be targeted directly to female recruits and those who are already radical.

It also provides a platform where female extremists can continue to expand their recruit network. In fact, it plays a larger operational role in virtual space. The failure of anti-terrorism efforts to understand the way women become radical, supportive and encouraging violence reinforces the benefits of their involvement in extremist groups.


In Singapore, the first local woman detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was Dian Faezah Ismail in 2016. She was subject to a Restriction Order (RO). She supported her husband, Mohamed Omar Mahadi who was detained for wanting to join ISIS.

The other two Singaporean women who became radical were Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari and Munavar Baig Amina Begam; both were subject to a Detention Order (OD) in 2017. They were also dealt with under the ISA for supporting ISIS.

The remaining 21 women are foreign maids in Singapore. Two of them are still serving prison sentences for financing terrorist activities. The others have been sent home after the investigation on them.

Source: BeritaMediacorp Singapore, 19/1/2021