SINGAPORE - There is no space for Islamophobia or attitudes that denigrate any religions and harm the social cohesion in Singapore, said Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman.
He related a recent incident of Islamophobia to reporters on Thursday (June 22), to illustrate how such cases have crept in here.
A few weeks ago, a Malay pest controller checking for mosquitoes outside a home was shooed away by a resident who suggested he could be a terrorist, said Dr Maliki.
"He tried to explain that he was just trying to do his job, and she (said) 'no, I hear so much things about terrorism and terrorists, you better go'," said Dr Maliki, adding that the incident saddened him.
"The last thing we want is incidents like this where the inter-ethnic cohesion that we have built for so long is divided by people who have the wrong ideas, wrong understanding of the Muslim community," he said.
Dr Maliki, an MP for East Coast GRC, spoke to reporters while distributing Hari Raya hampers to needy Muslim families in Siglap.
He urged people who know about incidents of Islamophobia to come forward so these views can be "corrected".
The authorities have been warning against the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment taking root here, as cases of self-radicalised individuals are publicised and the terror threat grows.
At a community event on Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong cited an act of Islamophobia in London earlier this week where a Caucasian man drove his van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers leaving the mosque, killing one person.
Singapore needs to prevent such incidents from happening, he said.
"We have to make sure that none of that happens either because of neglect or because somebody is circulating materials which stoke fear and apprehension and worsen the situation," he added.
Earlier this month, a police report was filed on an act of vandalism at the upcoming Marine Parade MRT station. The word "terrorist" was scrawled on an illustration of a Muslim woman in a hijab at the station's construction site.