Secular state key for Singapore's social cohesion

I am glad that the authorities were able to act decisively against the former religious teacher and his student who held radical beliefs (Ex-religious teacher and student issued Restriction Orders; Jan 17).

I am also grateful to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), who, by striking the former teacher off the Asatizah Recognition Scheme and barring him from conducting classes, was able to handle a sensitive issue without undermining the social cohesion we all enjoy today.

Religious harmony is one of the most crucial pillars of Singapore's peace and prosperity. Without it, social cohesion would degenerate and this could bring the Singapore society to its knees.

The authorities have stood their ground on Singapore being a secular state, and that is the way to go.

We must repel any teachings that will divide us, and treat every religion with equal respect to maintain social cohesion here.

Julian Anschel Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Secular state key for S'pore's social cohesion'. Print Edition | Subscribe