03 August 2015
There may be very few countries, perhaps none, that have enjoyed religious harmony for as long as Singapore. Fifty years have passed since independence and Singapore is still an oasis of harmony.
Critics of Singapore’s political system are quick to attribute this outstanding success to their perception that Singapore is a quasi-authoritarian state characterised by a strict legislative framework, socially intrusive policies and uncompromising enforcement action. Singapore offers no apology for adopting a tough approach as the maintenance of religious harmony is too critical to be left to chance.
However, one factor which the critics always miss is the strong, selfless commitment of religious leaders in Singapore to protect religious harmony. Their influence on creating a positive interreligious milieu is far greater than the available powerful instruments of the State.
… The writer is head of Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
SRP / Online / Print
Last updated on 16/11/2015