Singapore

Shanmugam: Report family, friends led astray by extremist ideology

People need to come forward and alert law enforcement agencies if their family members or friends are being led astray by extremist ideology, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Sunday (June 4).

He spoke to reporters a day after terrorists struck in the heart of London at London Bridge and Borough Market, killing six people and injuring another 48.

There have been multiple terror attacks around the globe in the past month, from the bombing in Manchester  to twin suicide attacks in east Jakarta and a bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Mr Shanmugam said that before such attacks, family and friends will often know if the potential attacker is going astray.

They thus have to bear the responsibility of informing security agencies, whose forces cannot be everywhere, he noted.

“You’re helping that person, you’re helping the society, you’re helping the country.” he said, adding: “When you keep quiet and an attack like this happen... you’re doing a serious injustice to the system.”

Mr Shanmugam also listed another four steps to guard against the threat of terrorism.

The entire community – both non-Muslims and Muslims – has to condemn such acts of violence, he said. Religious leaders are duty-bound to encourage their congregations to do so, he added.

The minister also warned against religious preachers who spread “insidious” teachings that divide society.

He called on community and religious leaders to promote tolerance and acceptance of the difference cultures and religions in Singapore.“Anything else leads to society riven apart with deep rifts,” he said.

To that end, the country has to guard against anti-Muslim sentiments gaining ground, he stressed.

While respondents give “politically-correct” responses to surveys, such sentiments are growing, he said.

He cited an act of vandalism in which the word “terrorist” was scrawled on an illustration of a Muslim woman in a hijab at the site of the upcoming Marine Parade MRT station.

The contractor made a police report last Friday, and the police are investigating.

“Non-Muslims have a duty to make sure we also embrace our Muslim brothers and sisters, and the government will work towards that,” Mr Shanmugam said.

He also urged everyone to participate in SG Secure, a national movement to prepare the nation against a terror attack.

- THE STRAITS TIMES

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