SINGAPORE - When news broke here that 22-year-old woman Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari had been detained for radicalism, Singaporeans both Muslim and non-Muslim were quick to speak up for Islam, reminding others that it was not the religion but a minority of people with misguided beliefs who were causing trouble.
Speaking at the annual Iftar or breaking-of-fast session held at the United States (US) embassy residence in Leedon Park on Thursday (June 15), Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob said that the most important thing was what happened after the incident and the way in which Singaporeans responded - which she noted was heartening.
"Self-radicalised individuals are extremely difficult to monitor 100 per cent and they use all kinds of weapons - ordinary tools that we use for daily living are being used in order to conduct attacks," said Madam Halimah.
She added: "Families will have to vigilant not only in terms of vigilance over their sons but also with their daughters...They have been seducing women by saying that you're going there, you're doing something very good, you're going to end up in heaven and all that, but it's contrary to Islamic principles, it's contrary to principles of family values."
Madam Halimah also emphasised that it takes a whole-country effort to keep Singapore safe. "It can't be from the Government alone, it also has to be the work of every member of the community that loves this country and wants to make sure that everybody can live peacefully together."
Meanwhile, the embassy's charge d'affaires Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, said she was grateful to the Singapore Government for establishing a society that is multiracial, tolerant and communicative.
The Iftar session was attended by representatives of the Singapore and US governments and representatives of major faiths in Singapore.
The maghrib (evening) prayers were led by Imam Habib Hassan from the Ba'alwie mosque.
When asked whether she would be running for president, Madam Halimah said she would only comment on Iftar-related matters.