SINGAPORE: It is the prerogative of the United States to take in people who engage in hate speech, but Singapore takes a very different approach, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Saturday (Mar 25) evening, in response to media queries after teen blogger Amos Yee was granted asylum in the US.
Yee had been jailed in Singapore for hate speech against both Christians and Muslims.
He was granted asylum in the US after an immigration judge there concluded that the Singapore Government had "persecuted Yee on account of his political opinion".
"There are many more such people, around the world, who deliberately engage in hate speech, and who may be prosecuted. Some of them, will no doubt take note of the US approach, and consider applying for asylum in the US," said MHA.
SINGAPORE TAKES A 'VERY DIFFERENT APPROACH': MHA
In 2015, Yee was jailed four weeks for hate speech against Christians, as well as for publishing an obscene image. The next year, Yee was jailed six weeks and fined S$2,000, this time for hate speech against Muslims and Christians.
"The US adopts a different standard, and allows such hate speech under the rubric of freedom of speech. The US for example, in the name of freedom of speech, allows the burning of the Quran," noted MHA.
"Singapore takes a very different approach. Anyone who engages in hate speech or attempts to burn the Quran, Bible, or any religious text in Singapore, will be arrested and charged."
MHA also pointed out that the US Department of Homeland Security had opposed Yee’s asylum application on the basis that Yee had been legitimately prosecuted.
The Department of Homeland Security has 30 days (until Apr 24) to file an appeal.
MHA's full statement, which references the statements made by Yee, is available on its website.