Voices Of Youth

Religious diversity is Singapore's strength

The Singapore flag at The Parliament House, on April 8, 2019.
The Singapore flag at The Parliament House, on April 8, 2019.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

In the light of the terrorist attacks in New Zealand, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, Singapore's efforts to protect the peace in our multi-religious country are very heartening (Attacks a reminder to protect inter-faith harmony: ESM Goh, March 19).

In a nation where diversity is encouraged and very much a part of our lives, we may forget how challenging it actually is to achieve such peace.

Other countries are still suffering from the terrible impact of terrorism on their fragile social foundations. It is indeed a wake-up call for us that the inter-religious and interracial harmony we enjoy is not something to be taken for granted.

The Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) should be commended for its contributions in this area.

However, as people living in this nation, we must rise above mere tolerance and make a conscious effort to build our knowledge of the customs and traditions of other faiths and ethnic groups so as to appreciate one another better.

The principle that our religious diversity is a strength rather than a crippling liability to peace is a powerful one.

I believe now, more than ever, we must stay united as a people to stand up against anyone who threatens Singapore's precious social cohesion and harmony.

Jovanka Vienna Svenvie, 15

Secondary 4 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2019, with the headline 'Religious diversity is S'pore's strength'. Print Edition | Subscribe