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Approaches of Uzbekistan and Singapore in Combating Terrorism and Religious Extremism
19 May 2021
Kenneth Yeo

The International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) held a roundtable with Uzbekistan’s Imam Maturidi International Scientific Research Center (IMISRC) on 19 May 2021. The objective was to exchange knowledge and best practices on how Singapore and Uzbekistan combats religious extremism.

In his opening address, IMISRC Director Associate Professor Davron Maksudov stressed the importance of developing theoretical foundations for battling religious extremism. Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Dep ... more

The International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) held a roundtable with Uzbekistan’s Imam Maturidi International Scientific Research Center (IMISRC) on 19 May 2021. The objective was to exchange knowledge and best practices on how Singapore and Uzbekistan combats religious extremism.

In his opening address, IMISRC Director Associate Professor Davron Maksudov stressed the importance of developing theoretical foundations for battling religious extremism. Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, added that the exchange of scholarly knowledge in terrorist rehabilitation and reintegration is critical to combatting falsehoods by radical groups, both physically and online.

In the first discussion, ICPVTR’s Dr Haniff Bin Hassan shared how Singapore institutionalised the wasatiyyah system to promote religious moderation and emphasised the roles of the Singapore Islamic Scholars & Religious Teachers Association (Pergas) and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) in framing religious norms in a multi-religious Singapore. On his part, IMISRC scholar Mr Jahongir Tahirov elaborated on the historical and theological underpinnings of religious bigotry which influenced radicalised individuals in Uzbekistan who tended to have weak religious knowledge.

The second session explored how each country operationalised its rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. Mr Andrey Dunaev explained Uzbekistan’s rationale for repatriating Uzbek women and children home, who were assessed to have been largely coerced to travel to Syria and Iraq by their radical spouses. Dr Feisal Hassan outlined Singapore’s three pillars of rehabilitation – psychological, social, and religious – and introduced the role of the Religious Rehabilitation Group. As religious counsellors, they are trained to correct theological falsehoods and contextualise specific religious terminology which have been exploited by radicals.

Questions raised during the roundtable included the possible conflict between religious and national identity, local outreach efforts, and engagement with diasporas who could be vulnerable to radicalism.

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