Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned on Saturday that the struggle in opposition to terrorism is “far from over” twenty years after the 9/11 assault within the United States and that terrorist teams in faraway locations had been severe threats to Singapore.
“Terrorist groups in these faraway places were serious threats to Singapore,” he mentioned in a commentary revealed on the twentieth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda assaults within the United States.
“Extremist terrorism has metastasized. Digital media has amplified the poison,” mentioned Lee.
“Al-Qaeda was succeeded by ISIS, which has lost physical territory but continues to operate, including online. Lone-wolf attackers have self-radicalised on the internet.”
Lee highlighted how this yr in Singapore, the authorities arrested two self-radicalised Singaporean youths who had been making ready lone-wolf assaults — one on a synagogue and the opposite on a mosque.
“And now that the US has left Afghanistan, we will have to watch closely how the situation there develops, whether groups based in Afghanistan will again threaten our security, and where else new fronts of terrorism may emerge,” he mentioned.
At the identical time, Singapore”s racial concord remains to be a piece in progress, mentioned Lee of the town state”s multi-racial society.
“9/11 showed how powerful are the forces that can pull us apart, and how careful we must be when making any changes to the formula that has delivered racial and religious harmony for Singapore,” wrote the prime minister within the commentary.
“Never assume we have overcome for good the tendency of people to identify with their own racial and religious groups. We have to keep on bringing all the communities closer together, and from time to time adjust the delicate balance that the different communities have reached,” the Channel News Asia quoted Lee from the commentary.
Internationally, Singapore cooperated with different international locations to share intelligence and to “fight a common scourge”. The Singapore Armed Forces participated within the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and contributed to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Iraq, he mentioned.
But terrorism was a better menace to the nation”s mutual belief and social cohesion, mentioned Lee.
In the face of such extremism, and particularly after a number of Singaporean members of the JI had been detained, non-Muslims in Singapore may simply have develop into fearful and suspicious of their Muslim neighbours, colleagues and buddies, Lee mentioned.
Muslims, in flip feeling distrusted and threatened, may have closed in on themselves.
“We would have been divided by race and religion. And if an attack had actually taken place here, our society could have been torn apart.”
Instead, Singaporeans “instinctively pulled together”, and responded strongly and cohesively to maintain themselves protected, mentioned Lee.
Community and spiritual leaders from all teams and faiths got here out to sentence the terrorist assaults, and stood in solidarity with each other.
“In particular, Muslim leaders were forthright in repudiating the terrorists, and they guided the community on the true teachings of Islam. Non-Muslim leaders too spoke up in support of religious tolerance and to express confidence in their fellow Singaporeans,” he mentioned.
The authorities 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.
At the grassroots degree, inter-racial and spiritual confidence circles had been organised throughout Singapore. These native networks of leaders had 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.
“Because we did all this, our racial and religious harmony held, and indeed strengthened. This was vital, as the threat was real and continuing, said Lee, as he listed attacks and threats in the years since, including the Bali bombings, attacks in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, and the siege of Marawi in Southern Philippines.
Singapore, too, remains a prime target, he said. More than once, terrorists planned attacks on Singapore, including one to hijack and crash an airliner into the Changi Airport control tower, and another to launch rockets at Marina Bay Sands from Batam, an Indonesia island about an hour boat ride from the city state.
“The value of safety is everlasting vigilance. The value of concord is an unflagging effort to uphold and realise ever extra absolutely our nation”s founding supreme to develop into one folks, no matter race, language, or faith,” said 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 check at some point, we are going to come by means of once more, stronger, as one united folks,” he added.