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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 14, 2003

Winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim community

And in Singapore too we find that "if only we are nicer" attitude toward solving the problem of radical Islam. Gosh, what have we done wrong that they do not like us?
[...] In fact, in recent weeks, several commentators have wondered whether local factors exist that could lead to the germination of terrorist tendencies among Malay/Muslims here sometime in the future.

Mr Low, for instance, suggested that policies that lead Muslims to feel discriminated against should be identified and examined. This would help prevent the disgruntled from being recruited into the fold of terrorism, he said.

This is similar to how, in earlier decades in Singapore and Malaysia, a sense of discrimination was a major reason why many Chinese entered the fold of the Communist Party of Malaya.

For Mr Shanmugam, a factor that would determine the shape of the ideological battle is the state of inter-racial ties. Central to this, he said, is the battle for the minds of the Muslim community. To win that battle, the grievances of the community needed to be addressed, he said, 'to cut terrorism from its base'.

In that context, he called for a rethink in the way society views and treats local Muslims and the way the government relates to them. He proposed that a way be found - without sacrificing the principle of meritocracy - to 'catalyse the progress' of the community. [more]