Ensure fight is against terrorism, not Islam

Mr George Lim Heng Chye ("Strong political will needed to root out terrorism"; Forum Online, Aug 25) makes an important point that terrorism is not invincible and that strong political will is needed to weed out this scourge.

The points he uses to characterise the threat leaves very little doubt that he is referring to the likes of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and those who commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam. Rightly so, as these groups represent a clear and immediate threat to all of us.

However, the writer also includes the assertion that the groups profiled as terrorists have been "for centuries… a quarrelsome, troublesome, burdensome and contentious people" and that "they are hiding everywhere and waiting to commit the next terror act".

These points, plus claims that many leaders are unwilling to articulate the "root causes of terrorism" and wanting to remain politically correct, may lead a reader to conclude that a case is being made that leaders should acknowledge that Islam is the problem and that Muslims are a threat.

It is important to remind ourselves that such thinking plays directly into the hands of ISIS and their like, which clearly aim to drive a wedge between Muslims and others.

In this respect, responsible leaders - including our own - have taken pains to emphasise that the fight is against terrorism and not Islam or Muslims. The peace and harmony we enjoy among the various communities in Singapore is treasured and must be closely guarded.

Just as it is important for Muslims to totally reject extremist ideology, the idea that a whole community is suspect because of their beliefs or the actions of a few must not be given any chance to take root.

Alwi Abdul Hafiz