Strong social bonds, common spaces important to combat terror threat: Ng Eng Hen

Dr Ng Eng Hen at an ‘iftar organised by Jamiyah Singapore on June 24, 2016.
Dr Ng Eng Hen at an ‘iftar organised by Jamiyah Singapore on June 24, 2016.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

SINGAPORE - Maintaining strong social bonds in Singapore and creating common spaces are important, given the threat of terrorism.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen stressed this on Friday evening (June 24) at the iftar (breaking of fast) organised by Jamiyah Singapore, pointing to the event as one which helps create a common space for people.

"While Singapore's social fabric remains strong, we cannot take it for granted. In the past year alone, we have seen multiple terror attacks on cities across the world including Bangkok, Paris, Brussels, Jakarta, Istanbul, Lahore, and most recently, Orlando," said Dr Ng.

He added that the threat of terrorism was real, with terror groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria able to radicalise lone wolves and groups to do their bidding - such as the 35 Bangladeshi workers arrested last year and this year who were planning to launch attacks on their home soil.

"We must never let terrorists or their followers succeed in their mission to fracture our peaceful and harmonious way of life," said Dr Ng.

He praised organisations such as Jamiyah for leading the way "in showing what true Islam stands for".

"If there is ever an attack on our soil, leaders in Jamiyah and other religious groups will be needed and called upon to keep our communities together," he said, adding that by serving all Singaporeans, and not just Muslims, through its charity work, Jamiyah helps build bridges with different communities.

"Jamiyah embodies the spirit of intercommunity bonding, selfless charitable deeds and caring for others that strengthens unity amongst Singaporeans," said Dr Ng.