SINGAPORE should remain united and learn from the detention of a local Protestant Christian teenager under the Internal Security Act (ISA), for plotting to kill worshippers at two mosques here, said the Co-Chairmen of Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), Ustaz Ali Haji Mohamed.

He also called on the community to be determined to guide young people to be more sensitive to the environment and demands of the current issues, which is not the same as in the past.

“We must take the opportunity from this incident to unite all of us as a Singaporean society.

“It should not be used to divide society and blame each other because conflicts will only complicate the problems faced,” said Ustaz Ali.

He said this when commenting on the 16-year-old (of Indian ethnicity) student’s detention, the first individual detained in Singapore due to being influenced by the right-wing extremist ideology.

He is also the youngest individual detained under the ISA for terrorist-related activities, with investigations showing he acted independently.

According to the Internal Security Department (ISD), the teenagers who became radical were driven by  deep hatred towards Islam and attracted to violence.

He was found making preparations and detailed plans to attack worshippers at the Assyafaah Mosque on Admiralty Lane and the Yusof Ishak Mosque on Woodlands Drive 17 with a machete on Mar 15, in conjunction with the second anniversary of a terrorist attack by a white terrorist, Brenton Tarrant, at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Ustaz Ali expressed concern over the symptoms of young people losing their guidance and getting lost.

However, he said that was not necessarily due to misguided religious guidance, parents or schools, but because the influence around them was too strong and also the attraction of the Internet and social media to children who are still fragile.

“Therefore, pray a lot in addition to working hard to take advantage of a child’s youth by providing knowledge, good examples and undivided love,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the young age of the teenager, who was subjected to Detention Order under the ISA on Dec 23, the executive imam of the Jamiyah Ar-Rabitah Mosque, Ustaz Muhamad Nuzhan Abdul Halim, said this was, of course, surprising because most teenagers at that age were more focused on education and had fun with their friends, rather than harbouring hatred that can lead to violent acts.

“Violence has no place in any religion. The teenager is influenced by the ideology of right-wing extremists and not his own religious beliefs,” he said.

Ustaz Nuzhan called on Singaporeans from various communities to continue embracing each other and fostering mutual trust.

This is important so that the citizens in this country can continue to enjoy the peaceful and harmonious life enjoyed so far, he said.

The Church of Singapore also condemned the teenager’s actions.

Among others, they asserted that there was no hatred between the Muslim and Christian communities and assured the Muslim community that the Christian community remained committed to fighting and defeating hatred and violence.

Source: Berita Harian Singapura, 30 Jan 2021