28 December 2019
A “whole of state” approach is required to combat religious intolerance, hatred, enmity and incitement to violence against people based on religion or belief.
This is because this approach is multi-layered and multidimensional – calling for comprehensive action at the political level by the state, at the community level by multi-actor peace-building networks, and at the civil society level by inter-religious networks of faith leaders.
This multi-layered and comprehensive framework of action will be sustainable if there exists an ecology which gives a natural impetus for such efforts to continue.
Singapore has been fortunate to achieve this approach and sustain it. From the early years of its independence, it has put in place the “whole of state” approach and has gradually built the ecology of religious harmony. This ecology incorporates three levels – the state, the community and, in between, civil society.
… Action to combat religious intolerance, discrimination and violence towards people of religion must be a “whole of state” strategy where citizens and civil society leaders play a more critical role.
Nevertheless, the state is the ultimate and last-line defender of religious harmony and peace.
… Mohammad Alami Musa is president of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and head of the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. This article is an edited excerpt of a speech last month to the United Nations in The Hague during an Istanbul Process meeting on countering religious intolerance.
SRP / Online / Print
Last updated on 30/12/2019