Singapore

Tap maids for fight against radicalism

Two more foreign maids have been repatriated for their radical views - bringing the total number since 2015 to nine. The women, in their 20s, were from different parts of Indonesia and had been radicalised through social media.

One of them had planned to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria with her foreign boyfriend, said Second Minister for Home Affairs Desmond Lee on Tuesday.

The numbers have prompted the Home Affairs and Manpower ministries to jointly develop a module on terrorism, to sensitise new foreign maids to the threat.

Beginning last month, the module is now part of the day-long Settling-In Programme that all new maids undergo.

The increase in cases of radicalisation has sparked concern, reminding Singaporeans how it can occur so close to home even - and how anyone who slips through the cracks is, perhaps, one too many.

But there is also a need not to lose perspective, as these workers are a fraction of over 230,000 foreign maids here.

IMPORTANT ALLY

Not only should they all not be tarred with the same brush, it is also important to bear in mind that the larger community of domestic workers is an important ally in spotting signs of radicalism among their peers.

The recent cases in fact serve to underscore the need for stakeholders and employers to maintain and strengthen support systems for foreign and domestic workers here, continually including them in efforts against radicalism.

Education plays a key role, and there could be a more concerted, nationwide push to reach maids who have been working here for a longer time, regarding issues such as radicalisation and use of social media.

Employers could play a part in this and efforts could be expanded to target different groups, as foreign workers are not the only ones vulnerable to extremist ideology perpetrated online.

No community should be left behind as the nation bands together in its fight against terror.

Foreign WorkerISISterrorism