Reach out to those who feel alienated

In Singapore, measures such as SGSecure and institutions such as the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles work to forge stronger inter-community ties in order to maintain our security.

However, as illustrated by recent attacks carried out by purported "loners", potential extremists may be socially isolated from their community. Such individuals may be radicalised quickly, before they show up on the radar of intelligence officials.

Hence, grassroots leaders play a pivotal role and must increase their presence in the community.

Block visits and community events have become ever more important, and they should include the majority of the community.

Grassroots leaders must identify the minority who may be isolating themselves or feel alienated, and reach out to them.

If we are able to ensure and build that crucial sense of belonging, it becomes difficult for propaganda to radicalise someone and make him harm others.

Yong Chang Jun, 18, second-year junior college student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'Reach out to those who feel alienated'. Print Edition | Subscribe