Singaporeans must keep vigilant against extremist influences

SINGAPORE - About 300 people from various religious organisations attended a workshop on Saturday morning, to promote religious harmony in Singapore and to discuss the roles that they can play in strengthening the country's social fabric.

Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State for Prime Minister's Office and Culture, Community and Youth, who spoke at the opening of this year's National Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle Workshop - "Faiths In Harmony", emphasised the need to keep vigilant. He highlighted how the Malaysian police recently managed to foil plans for a wave of bombings targeting popular nightspots in Putrajaya.

The plan was drawn up by radical Islamic militants, influenced by the Middle Eastern extremist group Islamic State (IS), who has a vision of establishing a hardline Islamic caliphate in this region. Nineteen suspected militants, including two housewives, were arrested from April to June this year.

Mr Tan said that Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious population "must never take our state of peace and harmony as given" and should keep working at keeping such peace and "never let our guard down". "There are many external and extremist influences we need to be mindful of, and to guard against. Such harmful forces may be found closer to us than we think," he added.