Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned on Saturday that the struggle towards terrorism is “removed from over” 20 years after the 9/11 assault in america.
“Terrorist teams in these faraway locations have been critical threats to Singapore,” he mentioned in a commentary revealed on the twentieth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda assaults in america.
“Extremist terrorism has metastasized. Digital media has amplified the poison,” mentioned Lee.
“Al-Qaeda was succeeded by ISIS, which has misplaced bodily territory however continues to function, together with on-line. Lone-wolf attackers have self-radicalised on the web.” Lee highlighted how this yr in Singapore, the authorities arrested two self-radicalised Singaporean youths who have been getting ready lone-wolf assaults – one on a synagogue and the opposite on a mosque.
“And now that the US has left Afghanistan, we should watch carefully how the scenario there develops, whether or not teams primarily based in Afghanistan will once more threaten our safety, and the place else new fronts of terrorism could emerge,” he mentioned.
Concord in Singapore
On the identical time, Singapore’s racial concord continues to be a piece in progress, mentioned Lee of the town state’s multi-racial society.
“9/11 confirmed how highly effective are the forces that may pull us aside, and the way cautious we have to be when making any modifications to the components that has delivered racial and spiritual concord for Singapore,” wrote the prime minister within the commentary.
“By no means assume we’ve overcome for good the tendency of individuals to establish with their very own racial and spiritual teams. We have now to maintain on bringing all of the communities nearer collectively, and on occasion regulate the fragile stability that the completely different communities have reached,” the Channel Information Asia quoted Lee from the commentary.
Internationally, Singapore cooperated with different nations to share intelligence and to “struggle a standard scourge”. Singapore Armed Forces participated within the Worldwide Safety Help Pressure in Afghanistan, and contributed to the International Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Iraq, he mentioned.
However terrorism was a higher menace to the nation’s mutual belief and social cohesion, mentioned Lee.
Within the face of such extremism, and particularly after a number of Singaporean members of the JI have been detained, non-Muslims in Singapore may simply have grow to be fearful and suspicious of their Muslim neighbours, colleagues and pals, Lee mentioned.
Muslims, in flip feeling distrusted and threatened, may have closed in on themselves.
“We might have been divided by race and faith. And if an assault had really taken place right here, our society may have been torn aside.” As a substitute, Singaporeans “instinctively pulled collectively”, and responded strongly and cohesively to maintain themselves protected, mentioned Lee.
Neighborhood and spiritual leaders from all teams and faiths got here out to sentence the terrorist assaults, and stood in solidarity with each other.
“Specifically, Muslim leaders have been forthright in repudiating the terrorists, they usually guided the neighborhood on the true teachings of Islam. Non-Muslim leaders too spoke up in assist of non secular tolerance and to precise confidence of their fellow Singaporeans,” he mentioned.
The federal government held open discussions with leaders of all teams and closed door briefings to the important thing leaders, to share with them delicate intelligence and menace assessments.
On the grassroots stage, inter-racial and spiritual confidence circles have been organised throughout Singapore. These native networks of leaders have been meant to handle any racial and spiritual tensions after a terrorist assault.
Singapore additionally sought to rehabilitate these led astray by the violent extremist ideology, mentioned Lee.
“As a result of we did all this, our racial and spiritual concord held, and certainly strengthened. This was very important, because the menace was actual and persevering with, mentioned Lee, as he listed assaults and threats within the years since, together with the Bali bombings, assaults in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, and the siege of Marawi in Southern Philippines.
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Singapore, too, stays a chief goal, he mentioned. Greater than as soon as, terrorists deliberate assaults on Singapore, together with one to hijack and crash an airliner into the Changi Airport management tower, and one other to launch rockets at Marina Bay Sands from Batam, an Indonesia island about an hour boat journey from the town state.
“The worth of safety is everlasting vigilance. The worth of concord is an unflagging effort to uphold and realise ever extra absolutely our nation’s founding ideally suited to grow to be one folks, no matter race, language, or faith,” mentioned Lee.
“Singaporeans’ shared expertise of 9/11 and its aftermath is one other formative chapter in our nation constructing journey. On its twentieth anniversary, allow us to resolve to fortify ourselves so that ought to we ever face one other such take a look at sooner or later, we’ll come by means of once more, stronger, as one united folks,” he added.