ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Singapore law minister addresses extremism
Speaking at the Singapore Global Dialogue organised by the S Rajaratnam School for International Studies on Thursday, Mr. Shanmugam said jihadist ideology is sweeping online with charismatic speakers preaching in English and other languages.
As such, dealing with clerics who preach such ideology or intolerance is a challenge facing nations.
Mr Shanmugam said some of the traditional options include treating what they say as a freedom of speech issue and wait until there is some actual incitement of violence.
In Singapore's view, he said this is unsatisfactory.
In this region of multireligious and multiethnic societies, Mr. Shanmugam said race and religion are emotive issues, and have led to a lot of bloodshed.
Furthermore, considerable harm could be done to the fabric of society through intolerant preaching.
In Singapore, the government can issue restraining orders against clerics who have or are likely to cause tensions between different religious groups.
"So if anyone wanted to burn the Quran or the Bible, he or she could be prevented from doing so, by way of restraining order, rather than having to wait for breach of some fire safety code," said Mr. Shanmugam.
Mr Shanmugam added that Jihadist ideology has also been propagated by some extremist religious schools and scholars, who are sympathetic to militant causes.
These have been aided by inadequate mechanisms within some regional countries to monitor and effectively deal with the spread of such ideology.
Having a proper legal regime to deal with the captured terrorist was also critical. However, this legal regime isn't getting the attention it needs.
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