Singaporeans should be perturbed by the announcement earlier this week that the Internal Security Department had investigated 37 individuals, 14 of them Singaporeans, in the wake of the recent terror attacks in France. These people were involved in inciting violence and stoking communal unrest, or made derogatory remarks against Muslims. Sixteen foreigners have been repatriated, while investigations into the remaining 21 individuals, including a radicalised Bangladeshi worker arrested under the Internal Security Act, are ongoing. These developments show that the threat of radicalisation, which could lead to actual attacks unless detected and defanged early, continues to be a menace here.
The irony is that radicalised residents, whether Singaporeans or foreigners, have acted on the basis of events elsewhere - developments over which Singapore has no control and for which it is not responsible: for example, the attacks in France last month, which included the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty by a man avenging the teacher's classroom use of religious caricatures deemed blasphemous. Singapore played no role in either the perceived provocation or the consequent vendetta. The sufferings of Muslims in Syria or elsewhere are real but, again, Singapore does not contribute to them.