Religious harmony makes S'pore a safe haven

The religious harmony that, undoubtedly, exists in Singapore has created a safe haven for people of different religious backgrounds, particularly Muslims.

The growing terrorist attacks and Islamophobia, which aims to put Muslims in a bad light in the Western world, seem to have little or no effect on the peaceful little community we have built here in Singapore.

What is it that Singapore has to keep its people together in this time of crisis?

At a symposium on promoting racial and religious harmony last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that religious harmony is an ongoing effort ("Racial, religious integration an ongoing work: PM"; Oct 5, 2015).

We have created a society where different religious groups respect and understand other groups' religious activities, which brings us to the concept of acceptance.

With proper education and support from different religious groups, Singaporeans would react rationally upon receiving news about terror attacks, should it happen on our home ground.

As a Singaporean Malay-Muslim, I am very fortunate to be living in a country where people of different religious backgrounds accept me for who I am, and not stereotype me based on the actions of a few extremists.

Muslims living in the West are on the receiving end of actions by terror-stricken Islamophobes. The Western media sometimes feeds the idea that "all Muslims are terrorists", worsening the already frantic situation in the community. Some become victims of violence, and may lose their lives because of their faith.

What we have in Singapore is very precious and unique, which makes us a desired target of extremists who want to destroy what we have integrated into our society.

Singaporeans have to remain vigilant and well grounded nevertheless, and not take our social cohesion and acceptance for granted.

Nurul Syuhaidah (Ms)