Be careful where you get religious advice from

I support the decisive action meted out by the authorities in curbing any form of radical activity that might threaten the multi-religious and multiracial society in Singapore ("'Reject views at odds with S'pore society'"; last Friday, and "S'porean detained for glorifying ISIS, inciting violence"; last Saturday).

Actions such as overt condemnation of extremism and detaining suspected individuals serve to protect Singaporeans from harm.

Members of society should stay vigilant by rejecting any form of radicalisation and extremism.

Over the past few years, individuals have been self-radicalised through social media - a convenient and unsupervised place to turn to when seeking answers to religious issues.

In dealing with these religious issues and ideas, we must learn from and closely consult local qualified religious authorities and scholars, who are able to give advice based on the societal conditions and context of Singapore.

Vigilance comes in the checking of these teachers' qualifications. The authorities have introduced necessary measures, in the form of the Asatizah Recognition Scheme to train and educate such teachers before they are allowed to teach.

Singaporeans must be wary of those who issue teachings and knowledge without proper qualifications.

Internet users may be easily manipulated emotionally by postings that capitalise on the plight of others. Hence, users have to look out for one another and intervene by reporting radical activities to the authorities.

I am confident that Singapore is equipped with the necessary laws and policies to combat radicalisation and extremism.

However, in order for laws such as the Internal Security Act to be fully effective, the support and awareness of citizens are important.

Singapore is under constant threat from radicalised groups, and a unified, moderate society is the best way to defend the peace and stability built over the years.

Faiz Rosli

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2016, with the headline 'Be careful where you get religious advice from'. Print Edition | Subscribe