Targeting of gay community in Orlando shooting 'unacceptable': Shanmugam

Targeting of gay community in Orlando shooting 'unacceptable': Shanmugam

The Singapore Government will act decisively if there is a threat of violence against any group regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation, the Home Affairs Minister said.

SINGAPORE: Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Tuesday (Jun 14) that the apparent targeting of the gay community in a shooting in Orlando, Florida on Sunday was "unacceptable".

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual iftar – or breaking of fast – held at the Khadijah Mosque Auditorium Building, Mr Shanmugam said the Government would act decisively if there is a threat of violence against any group regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.

Singapore has "strongly condemned" the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed and more than 53 injured.

Mr Shanmugam said that for Singapore, the incident has highlighted the threat of terror, whether targeted at religious groups or individuals.

"We, as Singaporeans, have to come together and unite to fight this terror," he said.

One of the ways to combat terror is by educating the population, the Home Affairs Minister said. Education could help "innoculate" the population against the threat of radicalisation, he said, adding that the national SGSecure initiative also aims to harness the power of the community in various ways.

"Our communities have to come together, families have to look out for suggestions of radicalisation (and) evidence of radicalisation," he added.

To complement this, Government security agencies also have to "extremely alert" and upgrade the capabilities of their emergency response teams, Mr Shanmugam said.

He also touched on the Internal Security Act, which he said gives Singapore the power to identify and arrest individuals at risk before they are able to do any harm.

Self-radicalisation is a "significant risk" in Singapore, Mr Shanmugam said, with several arrests having been made in the past of self-radicalised individuals that had intended to carry out attacks in Singapore.

The role of the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) is then "extremely important" and "vital", in helping to de-radicalise these individuals, he said.

"RRG has been a tremendous help because it is from the community; it is religious leaders coming forward, taking ownership and educating the radicals and has been substantially successful. The government cannot do this," Mr Shanmugam added.

“Our efforts cannot succeed without the community coming through."

Source: CNA/mz

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