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Talk of terrorism uncomfortable, but builds psychological resilience: Shanmugam

SINGAPORE: Talk of terrorism is uncomfortable and puts the spotlight on the Muslim community, but it also allows Singapore to achieve a certain level of psychological resilience against extremist ideologies, said Mr K Shanmugam on Saturday (Oct 7). 

“Over the last two years, even though it was uncomfortable at times, even though we talked about it many times, I think it has had an impact because if you go today and talk to the average Muslim on the street, I think they will tell you what is and what is not acceptable,” said the Law and Home Affairs Minister.

“It is sinking in, it is accepted and the small groups of people who advocate a more extreme view are also keeping quiet. So, I think we have achieved a certain level of psychological resilience,” he added, speaking at a seminar organised by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), the Religious Rehabilitation Group and Association of Islamic Scholars and Preachers.”

Moving forward, Mr Shanmugam said more attention will be focused on fostering a common ground to build up community resilience.

He also said that religious scholars play an important role in promoting cohesiveness and provide guidance on what is right and what is not. However, there is a need for religious organisations to be technologically savvy in order to engage the young, he added. 

Mr Shanmugam also spoke about the achievements of Singapore’s Muslim community and how it can be a model for the rest of the world.

“If you look at our Muslim children’s education achievements and this is by international standards, the average Muslim child in Singapore does better than many of the average European children and many of the average American children.

“Muslim children are now world class. Our Muslim community can be a beacon and a model for Muslim communities around the world,” he said.

A special edition booklet consisting compilations of 15 articles on countering radicalisation was also launched on Saturday by the Religious Rehabilitation Group and Khadijah Mosque.

The booklet will be distributed to mosques islandwide and will also be made available online. 

Additionally, MUIS published a pamphlet in Malay titled Resilient Families: Safeguarding Against Radicalisation. It provides insights, as well as ways to protect families from the threats of radical ideologies.

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