“We face four types of inter-related threats in Singapore, and they are becoming more urgent. First, of course, is the threat of a terrorist attack. It is not a question of “if” but “when”. Second is the threat of radicalisation of a part of the Muslim population. The third problem we face is our Muslim population growing somewhat distant from the rest of our society. The fourth, which is a very serious threat, is Islamophobia among our non-Muslim communities.”
Minister Shanmugam’s speech at http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/religion-terrorism-and-threats-to-singapore-the-region
And what could our response be to these threats? I think instead of seeing these as threats, we could see them as opportunities for nation-building, strengthening civic society and core values.
In the face of potential physical attacks, we can learn to be alert and swiftly responsive. This builds our community because even if it isn’t terrorist attacks, it helps us be more sensitive to any form of attack on individuals and communities.
In the face of potential radicalisation and segregation and phobia, we can resolve to respond with sincere kindness and deepened informed relationships. This means taking time to intentionally get to know our direct and indirect neighbours, their stories, their beliefs, etc. Only with deep understanding and deep relationships, can we overcome fear. And love drives out fear. Because love is truthful, seeks truth, and gives truth.