Cultivate desire for holistic understanding

Being more religious does not make a community more distant.

On the contrary, every major religion, including Islam, preaches cohesiveness.

Being more radicalised, however, does make a community more distant.

Every Singaporean, especially leaders, must be able to distinguish between the two.

I am heartened by initiatives to deal with acts that sow discord("Govt looking at new steps to protect social harmony"; Wednesday).

As a science teacher, I strongly advocate education as a way to combat radicalism.

Platforms for active learning are the way to go, and a collective effort by the Government, religious and community leaders, as well as the people themselves, is vital for these platforms to be effective and successful.

The approach has to be multi-tiered and multi-pronged.

It has to address concerns of non-Muslims and Muslims and provide access to completeand comprehensive information about issues trending, especially sensitive ones.

Socially responsible behaviours also have to be explicitly taught.

But, most importantly,people must want to know and must want to understand issues holistically.

We cannot assume that whatever we know is all there is to know, and act on such skewed understanding.

People have to aspire towards attaining more information for a fuller picture.

We need to cultivate in people this desire for holistic understanding, especially given the deluge of information, not always accurate, on the Internet.

I hope the authorities can put together resources and roll out programmes towards this end, to prevent extremism.

Nur Dayana Mohamad Danel (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2016, with the headline 'Cultivate desire for holistic understanding'. Print Edition | Subscribe