Don't shun community because of actions of fringe group

I was surprised to learn that 27 Bangladeshi workers were arrested for planning terror attacks in their own country ("27 radicalised Bangladeshis held under ISA"; yesterday).

We live in a multi-religious society. We should not discriminate against Bangladeshi workers here just because of this one-off incident.

Many of them help to clean our estates and environment. In my neighbourhood in Bishan, they help to maintain our blocks, streets, rubbish bins, five-foot pathways and many others, which are always kept clean and neat all the time.

This is why the estate has been rated one of the cleanest in Singapore.

Bangladeshi workers are friendly, cordial and hard-working. They have come here to work and are part of the team who toiled to build Singapore. We should not display a negative attitude towards them because of this one-off incident.

Nevertheless, radicalised acts by a fringe group cannot be condoned, and we need to take steps to prevent such activities.

As we go forward into our next 50 years, we need to forge better Singaporean-foreigner ties. We need to integrate foreigners better into the community and not make them feel marginalised.

People of all races must be more forthcoming in speaking out against hateful comments.

V. Balu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline 'Don't shun community because of actions of fringe group'. Print Edition | Subscribe