Bangladeshis 'mostly peace-loving'

While condemning the actions of 27 compatriots arrested last year under the Internal Security Act, Bangladesh's High Commissioner to Singapore stressed that most Bangladeshis are peace-loving and law-abiding.

Speaking to The Straits Times at the funeral of a community leader at Angullia Mosque in Little India yesterday, High Commissioner Mahbub Uz Zaman said the Singapore Government was "right in sending them back", referring to the radicalised individuals.

All but one of the 27 construction workers, who were planning to wage armed jihad in their home country, had been deported. The remaining one is serving a jail term for trying to leave Singapore illegally. He will also be deported after he serves his time.

Mr Zaman, who has been holding his post since 2012, confirmed that police in Dhaka are investigating the matter.

"The radicals were arrested once they landed," he said.

Currently, there are 160,000 Bangladeshi nationals in the Republic. Most work in construction but Mr Zaman did not provide specific figures. He said his embassy will continue to visit workers in their dormitories. "We will inform them that they are to follow the laws here and not get involved in illegal activities."

But he highlighted that the 27 are "not representative of the community". Mr Zaman stressed that Bangladeshis here belong to "a peace-loving community that follows the rules of the countries they are residing in", which has also contributed to society.

Aw Cheng Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'Bangladeshis 'mostly peace-loving''. Print Edition | Subscribe