Maliki Osman: Community Engagement Key To Combating ISIS Rhetoric

A memorial event was held for the victims of the Paris terror attacks at Ba’alwie Mosque this evening (Nov 29), to “demonstrate solidarity not only among ourselves, but also with our friends from around the world”, said Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Defence Maliki Osman.

The event was attended by French Ambassador to Singapore Benjamin Dubertret and representatives of various religious organisations in Singapore.

In a speech at the event, Dr Maliki said the stories of the 130 victims that emerged in the wake of the attack on Nov 13 “only remind us how vibrant each and every one of their lives was, and how each victim mattered to their family and friends”.

Singapore, he said, is not immune to the threat of terrorism and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Measures are in place to address this threat, including legislation to take action against terrorists. “However, the centrepiece of our strategy is our community engagement programme, where we progressively build a strong network of trust among our different racial and religious communities. We cannot allow mistrust and enmity to be sowed between us, which would play to the objectives of the terrorists,” said Dr Maliki.

Singaporeans must be vigilant in looking out for one another, while the Muslim community has also shown that “the answer to violence committed in the name of religion is often found within religion itself”.

Malay/Muslim organisations have held forums to warn of the recruitment efforts of militant groups in Syria, while the Mufti of Singapore and other religious scholars have warned against ISIS’ rhetoric.

“Their message is clear — terrorism has no place in Islam. There must be a clear distinction drawn between Islam as a religion of peace and Islam that has been politicised as a radical and inhumane excuse for terrorism,” said Dr Maliki.

Addressing the leaders of the different faiths present yesterday, Dr Mailki said their roles were more important than ever, when people need a “strong moral compass”.

“While we may not be immune to terrorism, we have the resolve to face and overcome the threat,” he said.



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