Amos Yee: Prerogative of the US to take in people who engage in hate speech, says Singapore

Teen blogger Amos Yee arrives at the State Courts in Singapore Sept 28, 2016.
Teen blogger Amos Yee arrives at the State Courts in Singapore Sept 28, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - It is the prerogative of the United States to take in people who engage in hate speech, says the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday, following news that the US has granted teenage blogger Amos Yee asylum.

In a statement responding to media queries, it noted that the 18-year-old had engaged in various instances of hate speech in Singapore against Christians and Muslims. The US, said the MHA, adopts a different standard from Singapore towards hate speech. "It allows some hate speech under the rubric of freedom of speech. The US for example, in the name of freedom of speech, allows the burning of the Quran."

Singapore, said the ministry, takes a very different approach.

 

"Anyone who engages in hate speech or attempts to burn the Quran, Bible, or any religious text in Singapore, will be arrested and charged."

The ministry said: "There are many more such people, around the world, who deliberately engage in hate speech, and who may be prosecuted.

"Some of them, will no doubt take note of the US approach, and consider applying for asylum in the US."

US immigration Judge Samuel Cole has granted Yee asylum after he concluded that the Singapore Government "persecuted Yee on account of his political opinion".

This comes after the US Department of Homeland Security opposed Yee's asylum application, on the basis that Yee had been legitimately prosecuted.

In its statement, MHA detailed the various charges in 2015 and 2016 against Yee, who - it said - was represented by counsel.

In 2015, he was charged and convicted for engaging in hate speech against Christians.

He was also convicted on another charge for publishing an obscene image. He was sentenced to a total of four weeks imprisonment for these charges.

In 2016, Yee was charged again for hate speech, this time against Muslims and Christians.

He pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment and a fine of $2,000.

Here is the MHA statement in full:

In 2015, Amos Yee was charged for engaging in hate speech against Christians.

He had said “Christians … are … power hungry and malicious but deceive others into thinking that they are compassionate and kind. Their impact and legacy will ultimately not last as more and more people find out that they are full of bull….. Similar to the Christian knowledge of the bible, and the work of a multitude of a priests.” 

He was convicted on the charge. He was also convicted on another charge for publishing an obscene image. He was sentenced to a total of four weeks imprisonment for these charges.

In 2016, Yee was charged again for hate speech, this time against Muslims and Christians. 

He had said “the Islamics seem to have lots of sand in their vaginas too…. But don’t mind them, they do after all follow a sky wizard and a pedophile prophet. What in the world is a ‘moderate muslim’? A f*****g hypocrite that’s what!……. With all due respect, Christians, you can shove that faith up your ass. Faith! Faith! I’d be damned at this retardation of humanity. F**k you, Christian shits” 

He pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment and a fine of $2000.

He was represented by counsel in both the 2015 and 2016 proceedings. 

Yee had engaged in hate speech against Christians and Muslims.

The US adopts a different standard, and allows such hate speech under the rubric of freedom of speech.

The US for example, in the name of freedom of speech, allows the burning of the Quran.

Singapore takes a very different approach. Anyone who engages in hate speech or attempts to burn the Quran, Bible, or any religious text in Singapore, will be arrested and charged.

The US Department of Homeland Security had opposed Yee’s asylum application, on the basis that Yee had been legitimately prosecuted.

It is the prerogative of the US to take in such people who engage in hate speech. There are many more such people, around the world, who deliberately engage in hate speech, and who may be prosecuted. Some of them, will no doubt take note of the US approach, and consider applying for asylum in the US.