Understanding Sunni-Shi'ite divide key in managing extremism

Professor Syed Farid Alatas must be thanked for his insightful commentary on the Sunni-Shi'ite divide and its development in Singapore (S'pore Muslim leaders must tackle rise of anti-Shi'ism hate speech; Aug 26).

I see it as key to understanding the roots of Muslim sectarianism and how it evolved into the radicalism and terrorism that we see today.

Historically, it is unfortunate that Western interests have unwittingly stoked this fire by taking sides and shifting their allegiances across the divide, contributing to the conflicts we see today internationally.

It is important for all of us in Singapore to be aware of and educated on this deeply rooted dimension of the conflict.

This will ensure that we craft sensitive and appropriate strategies to manage extremism, while getting the necessary buy-in from our population.

I look forward to such articles being published more widely in our mass media.

Teoh Ren Shang (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2017, with the headline 'Understanding Sunni-Shi'ite divide key in managing extremism'. Print Edition | Subscribe