Singapore teen held for Christchurch-inspired mosque attack plot

Assyafaah Mosque
The Assyafaah Mosque was among the two Singapore mosques the boy planned to attack

A 16-year-old boy has been detained in Singapore for allegedly plotting to kill Muslims in two mosques on the Christchurch attacks anniversary. Influenced by Christchurch killer Brenton Tarrant, the teenager had allegedly planned to knife his victims and livestream the attack.

He is the youngest to be detained under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial, the Christchurch attack was the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history. Some 51 people died when they were gunned down by Tarrant – who has now been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole at two mosques on 15 March 2019. The 16-year-old Singaporean, who has not been identified but has been described as a Protestant Christian of Indian ethnicity, is said to have been “motivated by a strong antipathy towards Islam and a fascination with violence,” said the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)

The ministry said that it was clear he had by “influenced by Tarrant’s actions and manifesto”, pointing out the fact that he planned to carry out his attacks on 15 March this year, to mark the two-year anniversary of the Christchurch attacks. The boy had allegedly originally planned to use a rifle like Tarrant, but decided to use a machete instead after he encountered difficulties in purchasing a firearm in Singapore, which has strict gun-control laws.

Singapore authorities released images of the machete the teen had allegedly planned to purchase online

The MHA said the teenager admitted that he could only “foresee two outcomes – that he is arrested before he is able to carry out the attacks, or he executes the plan and is thereafter killed by the police”. “He went in fully prepared, knowing that he is going to die, and he was prepared to die,” law and home affairs minister K Shanmugam told local media outlets. The ministry added that he had acted alone, saying there was “no indication he had tried to influence anyone or involve others in his attack plans”.

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