Three madrasah students reportedly attacked; Shanmugam vows to ensure that justice is done

SINGAPORE - Three students from a full-time Islamic religious school were reported to have been physically attacked in public on Friday (April 1) morning.

A police report has been made, and Minister for Home Affairs and Law K.Shanmugam said last night he has asked the police to investigate the matter.

Police said investigations are ongoing.

Mr Shanmugam said in a Facebook post: "At this point, the motives for the attack are not clear." 

"We will get to the bottom of it and ensure that justice is done," he added.

The students, all girls, were from Madrasah Al-Ma'arif Al-Islamiah in Geylang.

A teacher from their school in charge of discipline had posted about the alleged incident on Facebook, saying the pupils were at Paya Lebar MRT station at around 7.20am when a middle-aged man attacked them.

She said the first victim was kicked on the left thigh, the second was hit by a plastic bag containing a heavy item, and the third was hit in the same manner on one of her eyes.

She added that a police report has been lodged, and appealed for eyewitnesses to come forward to contact the school.

Her post was widely shared on social media, and the incident drew strong condemnation online.

In a separate Facebook post, the madrasah thanked all who had contacted it out of concern for the students' well-being.

"The affected students have been counselled and parents have been contacted," it said.

"Kindly be assured that the case is currently under police investigation," it added.

The incident took place two days after Mr Shanmugam visited another madrasah, Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri, and called on Singaporeans to reach out to their Muslim neighbours and build social cohesion, at a time when a recent string of terror attacks globally threatens to fray the trust between communities here.

Several students had expressed concern about anti-Muslim sentiment, and Mr Shanmugam underlined the need to thwart Islamophobia - or prejudice against Muslims - from developing.

"Whatever it is, we're Singaporeans together and that trumps everything else," he said. "The 85 per cent who are non-Muslim have an obligation to reach out to the Muslim community and make sure the bonds are strong", he added.