New scheme to help religious groups deal with terrorism
Places of worship here may seem like easy targets for terrorists, but a new initiative looks to ensure the respective religious groups are prepared to deal decisively with such attacks.
The Crisis Preparedness for Religious Organisations (CPRO) programme was launched yesterday by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu at the Counter Terrorism Seminar held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Addressing representatives from more than 200 religious organisations, Ms Fu called for their active participation and said it was only with their support that Singapore would be able to stay strong in a crisis.
The CPRO framework comprises of self-assessment, capability building and crisis response exercises.
It aims to raise awareness of possible terror threats, inculcate a crisis-ready mentality and implement improvements to security measures in religious organisations.
Religious organisations that complete the CPRO programme will receive a certificate from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and be encouraged to become advocates of the programme.
"The CPRO programme aims to build capability and network in your organisation to better protect your premises and followers, and assist the larger community, in the event of a crisis," said Ms Fu.
"I look forward to your active participation and leadership through CPRO and other initiatives, so that together we can continue to build a vibrant, united and strong Singapore."
Mr Yacob Ahmad, the head of the Mosque Planning Office at the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), said working with representatives from more than 30 other religious organisations and MCCY in the development of the programme helped them cover security issues they did not think of before.
"The representatives of the Catholic Church shared that they were trained on how to spot potential threats, and we did not have that, so now we have plans to conduct similar training for the staff at mosques next month," he said.
"It is this exchange of ideas through discussions with other religious organisations that can help us develop more robust plans to deal better in the event of emergencies."
About 100 religious organisations are expected to complete the programme by the end of this year. Participation in the CPRO programme is free.