Showing concern over spate of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, K Shanmugam, Home Affairs and Law Minister of Singapore observed, “It is not enough to routinely condemn terror attacks, rather people have a duty to go beyond that and report family members or friends who are radicalised to the authorities.
He said, “If you keep quiet, and an attack like this happens, and you know security forces cannot be everywhere, then you’re doing a serious injustice to the system ... It’s no longer business as usual.”
The Minister added, “In Singapore, relatives and friends often alert the authorities, leading to arrests, but there have been occasions when they did not.”
He also disclosed that examples of these involving terror-related arrests will be shared in the coming weeks.
Stressing for condemning such heinous incidents, the Minister said Muslim or non-Muslim, should condemn such violence and added that religious leaders are duty-bound to encourage their congregation to do so.
Shanmugam noted, “Religious extremism arises from an insidious “us versus them” mentality of some preachers, and besides dividing society, preaching in this vein promotes violence.”
Exhorting community leaders and religious leaders to make people tolerant, the Minister, said, “Community leaders, religious leaders have a particular duty to make sure that our people are tolerant... and that we understand that we live in a multi-racial, multi-religious society. Anything else leads to society riven apart with deep rifts.”
It is a matter of concern that while Singaporeans remain politically correct, anti-Muslim sentiments are growing, according to the authorities’ internal survey's.
He said, “We really need to guard against anti-Muslim sentiments gaining ground. The Government will act strongly and without any equivocation on this.”
Shanmugam also highlighted the need for Singaporeans to commit to the SGSecure movement by, for example, volunteering to receive training. “Everyone out there, don’t leave it to someone else, don’t leave it to the Government.”
In the recent Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) first national terrorism threat assessment report, released last week, the ministry said the threat to the Republic remains at its highest in recent years. While there is no “credible intelligence” of an imminent attack, the MHA encouraged Singaporeans to be vigilant and prepared, and stressed that local security agencies are on high alert.