19 May 2021
International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR)-Imam Maturidi International Scientific Research Center
Virtual Roundtable on “The Approaches of Uzbekistan and Singapore on Combatting Terrorism and Religious Extremism”
19 May 2021
Hello and warm greetings from Singapore to all of you. I am happy that RSIS and ICPVTR are further strengthening our ties with Uzbekistan through this first-ever online roundtable with the Imam Maturidi International Scientific Research Center.
The experts in the Imam Maturidi Center are contributing significantly to the rich understanding of Islamic moderation and theology. In doing so, your experts have aided in the rehabilitation of those who have been ensnared by radical ideology. It has been reported that there were nearly 6000 Central Asian jihadists who were in Syria and Iraq. Some of them have returned to their home countries, while others have remained there.
In Singapore, ICPVTR’s religious academics have been a key part of Singapore’s effort to deal with the threat arising from extremism and terrorism which has influenced a segment of our Muslim community. While very few Singapore citizens went to Syria and Iraq, it is still a worrisome trend that some of those seeking religious knowledge continue to fall under extremist influences, often found online. The experts in ICPVTR have produced counter-extremist narratives which are necessary to reject the falsehoods perpetrated by the jihadis.
The fact is both Singapore and Uzbekistan remain under threat from extremists and terrorists. Although the Islamic State has lost its so-called Caliphate, the situation remains volatile. There are no signs that the foreign jihadist fighters, who have remained in Syria and Iraq, have abandoned their violent agenda. They may look towards Afghanistan as their next battleground, especially with the departure of the US troops in the coming months.
Therefore, we need to ensure that their radical ideology does not spread further. Sound religious knowledge is key to an effective counter-ideological strategy in order to fully rehabilitate those who have been led astray by radical and terrorist ideology. For those who are vulnerable and seeking religious guidance, they need proper access to moderate and progressive Islamic leadership and the right sources of Islamic knowledge, online and offline.
The topic of this Virtual Roundtable, that is, “The Approaches of Uzbekistan and Singapore in Combatting Terrorism and Religious Extremism”, is very timely and clearly illustrates that both our countries can learn much from each other in our rehabilitation efforts and strategies against terrorism and extremism.
Research institutes like the Imam Maturidi Center and ICPVTR play an important role in the fight against terrorism. Robust research work and productive exchanges of ideas can help governments to come up with effective and responsive counter-terrorism policies. Academic ideas and interactions can help community organisations, which are closer to the people on the ground, better understand the motivations and drivers behind radicalism and terrorism in different contexts. With better understanding, the outreach programmes of the community organisations and official agencies can be more effective.
I hope today’s roundtable is the start of a meaningful relationship between RSIS and the Imam Maturidi Center of Uzbekistan in countering extremism and radicalism.
I wish everyone a very fruitful exchange. Thank you.
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Last updated on 19/05/2021