I agree that countries should do their utmost to address socio-economic factors to improve the lot of their citizens and make their lives less of a struggle, and more harmonious and pleasant for everyone ("Address socio-economic factors that breed extremism" by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi; last Sunday).
This is indeed a very tough call and even if it were possible, it would be a long time coming.
I am not so sure, though, that addressing or reducing economic and social disparities or factors can root out extremism.
The problem with radicalisation and terrorism is not social, ethnic, economic, or even religious.
It lies in the existence of an illegitimate and evil growing political force that is misusing religion and exploiting some unbalanced clerics and religious teachers with faulty thinking. Such a political force then enthuses the gullible through falsehoods to further its objectives through terrorism and fear, and through a fake promise of a great afterlife for those who blindly follow their spurious preaching.
We need to save the gullible and their families from being misled. We need to cut off the channels through which good people get radicalised, and create effective channels to thwart or counter evil.
The proper education and registration of all religious teachers is a good first step ("Islamic teachers must be registered from Jan 1"; last Monday). I am glad we have an effective Government, helped by top religious leaders who know the stakes in the fight against evil.
Lim Ang Yong