Daily Lessons from Life 09 February 2018 - Radicalization
"K Shanmugam on radicalisation: Authorities must ‘fight for the hearts and minds of young people’
SINGAPORE: Every case of radicalisation is serious and the authorities must engage in a fight for the hearts and minds of young people in order for Singapore to survive as a multiracial, multireligious country, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said on Friday (Feb 9).
He was speaking to Channel NewsAsia several hours after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that a self-radicalised Malaysian man working in Singapore was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and repatriated to Malaysia.
Muhammad Nur Hanief Abdul Jalil, 33, was working as a driver with a Singapore airfreight company. He had access to the restricted Changi Airfreight Centre, which provides services to Changi Airport.
Mr Shanmugam said: “Every case of radicalisation is serious; we are equally concerned when a kindergarten assistant is radicalised with access to very young children. Parents are very concerned. We take this very seriously, we have been aware of these risks in different sectors for some time. We have taken, will continue to take steps that are doable, that are within our power to take.”
Last year, Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, a 22-year-old contract infant-care assistantwith the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots pre-school programme, was detained for radicalism under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
When asked about the availability of online content that espouses radicalisation, Mr Shanmugam said such content is “always a challenge” and that we have to be “realistic about the extent to which we can deal with it”.
Mr Shanmugam added that the “real antidote” is to “gather our young people” as well as have the authorities look at the content put out by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) and other Muslim leaders, and point out what is wrong when necessary."
With online content, it is almost impossible to spot n stop them from being published though heavy investment in surveillance automation n use of AI n Big Data Analytics can flush out "undesirable n questionable" content much faster.
"Winning the hearts n minds" of impreesable young people means knowing what their hearts n minds care about? An ambitious objective as no one can tell for sure what the young people, some of them true want!
Of course for most, they just want a "good" life like, hopeully not too unrealistic, go9d education with adequate pressure, good job that will pay for basic housing n raising a 3-kid family, n hv some time to enjoy the fruits of labouring hard at their jobs.
For an affluent society like Sgp, maybe some want equality, fairness n respect for all.
When one veers towards a view of absolute religion where "mine is better than yours n you must follow me or else ...", that's where the danger lies.
While we fight for the hearts n minds of the young, zero tolerance for such chauvinistic view of religion must be the rule without exception.
All religious leaders must commit to such a view n promote it vigorously among their followers.
Only when we accept this common truth can we begin to embrace the differences. N keep peace!!