SINGAPORE - More can be done to tackle issues such as domestic violence and the threat of online radicalisation, Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said on Saturday (March 20).
But the Government alone cannot resolve these issues, he said at the Muktamar Ulama 2021 conference at the Singapore Expo, organised by the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas).
"We need to work hand in hand to co-create solutions... We need to work with community leaders and religious leaders to co-create solutions, and I think we can do more," said Associate Professor Faishal.
He encouraged more discussions on such issues and urged community leaders to seek active participation and feedback from the community.
"Only then will we truly be able to comprehend the gravity of the challenges facing us," he said.
On domestic violence, Prof Faishal applauded the efforts of the asatizah (religious teachers) to counter misguided mindsets that perpetuate gender discrimination and violence against women.
He noted that asatizah have access to training in social work and counselling to equip them with skills to take pre-emptive steps to prevent such abuse, instead of merely rectifying it.
Last month, the Ministry of Social and Family Development launched a 24-hour national helpline for members of the public to report family violence and other forms of abuse and neglect, added Prof Faishal.
On the threat of online radicalisation, he said that Singapore has had to increase its efforts to maintain peace.
In January, the Government announced that a 16-year-old teenager, a Singaporean, had been detained under Internal Security Act (ISA) for planning to attack Muslims at two mosques. The student, who became the youngest person detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities, was motivated by the Christchurch attacks on March 15, 2019.
Earlier this month, a 20-year-old was detained under the ISA as he had planned to use a knife to attack and kill Jews leaving a synagogue. He was also keen to take up arms abroad.
"We are grateful that in Singapore, we have close bonds of friendship and trust among faith communities and their leaderships. We must continue to work together to engage and nurture relationships with our youth," said Prof Faishal.