Singapore

Bangladeshi nationals fear discrimination after worker's arrest under ISA

The news of Bangladesh nationals being picked up during a recent security crackdown in Singapore has caused their countrymen here to worry that it may lead to discrimination against them.

Mr Abdul Khaeer Mohammed Mohsin, editor of Banglar Kantha, a Bengali newspaper here, said yesterday Bangladeshis in Singapore were "very sad" on hearing the news.

"Last night, I met some of our countrymen. They said very few were involved, so why should they suffer and be blamed as if they are also involved, just because they are Bangladeshi," he said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced on Tuesday that 37 people had been investigated in the wake of terror attacks in France and elsewhere.

Among them were 15 Bangladeshis who had made social media posts inciting violence and communal unrest.

A 26-year-old Bangladeshi construction worker, Ahmed Faysal, was also detained under the Internal Security Act for terror-related activities.

Mr Sahidul Islam, an administrative assistant in the maritime sector, said he was at a loss on how Ahmed Faysal could have found the time for his activities.

"We are all so busy every day. How he managed to do that (get radicalised), I also don't understand," said the 44-year-old, who came to work here in 2008.

The Singapore Bangladesh Society has condemned the actions of those nabbed and said it strongly supports the Government's firm action to uphold national security.

ISOLATED

Its spokesman said the society "sees this as an isolated and unfortunate incident", and supports "any action that is vital to eliminate radicalism and promote secularism".

On Tuesday, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said that while there is concern about foreigners using Singapore as a base for agitating violence abroad, "we ought not be looking at every migrant worker as a potential terrorist".

The Singapore Bangladesh Society spokesman said it also works with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore to promote religious harmony and counter radical religious teachings.

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