Singapore

'Security crucial to religious harmony'

Singaporeans The New Paper spoke to had mixed reactions to the increased security at places of worship.

Madam Chen Yi Fang, 50, who goes to Ubin Thai Buddhist Temple, told TNP that the close-circuit television cameras, coupled with alert temple employees, gave her a sense of security.

She said: "People think temples are supposed to be safe places, but that is quite wrong. Those praying are responsible for their own safety."

Others who welcome the increased security felt that a terrorist attack could be harmful to the racial and religious harmony in Singapore.

Mr Bryan James Francisco, 20, a civil servant and parishioner at St Anne's Church, said: "With Singapore taking pride in its racial and religious harmony, security is important to ensure that it remains that way."

Mr Muhammad Faiz, 19, who goes to Masjid Al-Iman Mosque, said he is not worried because Singapore has a cohesive society and the various religious groups are not alone in combatting terrorism.

"I feel as though when I pray in a mosque, people outside it would help keep a lookout," he said.

Three regulars at the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple on Waterloo Street said they did not feel threatened by terrorism.

One of them, who wanted to be known only as Madam Tan and who is in her 50s, said she trusted the authorities to keep the country safe.

Mr Kenneth Sum, 19, a parishioner at St Anne's Church, however, felt conflicted about the increased security at churches.

While he admitted security is crucial, the Nanyang Polytechnic student said he would not feel at peace if he saw armed police at church.

With Singapore taking pride in its racial and religious harmony, security is important to ensure that it remains that way.

- Mr Bryan James Francisco, a civil servant and parishioner at St Anne's Church

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