SINGAPORE: Recent cases of self-radicalised Singaporeans show that Singapore "cannot take the threat of radicalisation lightly", Minister-in-charge of Muslim affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said on Tuesday (Jun 20), after it was announced that auxiliary police officer Muhammad Khairul Mohamed has been detained for planning to travel to Syria to take part in armed violence.
Referring to the cases of Khairul and Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, the first Singaporean woman detained for radicalism under the Internal Security Act, Dr Yaacob - who is also Minister for Communications and Information - said that these cases were a "grim reminder for our Muslim community that our young need urgent help and assistance".
"We cannot take the threat of radicalisation lightly, and merely hope that someone can grow out of it," Dr Yaacob said in a post on Facebook.
"The new cases underscore once again the important role of parents, religious teachers, and the community at large to look out for each other, and to immediately refer any signs of radicalisation to Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) or the police," he added. "This is the best and only way to help a loved one before it is too late."
Dr Yaacob added that the belief in armed violence of Khairul and of his colleague Rizal - who was put under a restriction order last month for supporting Khairul's intentions to fight in Syria - were drawn from a "misguided hatred of others".
"This is not the Islam that we know and love," he said. "We strongly condemn the ideology espoused by extremists who abuse Islam to justify violence and terror, even during Ramadan. Believing in problematic ideologies will only lead one down the wrong path of ruining lives and dividing societies."
He added that this was why the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) had decided to prohibit the publications of hardline preacher Rasul Dahri "as they promote enmity between communities and even violence".
WORK WITH GOVERNMENT TO STAND AGAINST RADICALISM: PM LEE
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, meantime, called on the Malay-Muslim community to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the Government in tackling the influence of radicalism and extremism.
Speaking at an Iftar event at the Tanglin Police Division headquarters on Tuesday evening, Mr Lee said the Government does not want other communities to cast doubt on the Malay-Muslim community and said Islamophobia is "as bad and unacceptable as extremist radical terrorism".