This paper makes three main arguments: first, religious extremism is best understood in context. This stance is adopted in diagnosing the specific case of Islamic extremism in the globalized, multi-religious city-state of Singapore, which, having departed from Malaysia only 54 years ago, is still a relatively young polity. Second, the paper argues that to identify and cope with Islamic extremism, the Singapore State should be more explicit and firm in its articulation of what the current author calls a “Muscular Secularism” policy. Third, the paper argues that at this historical juncture in Singapore’s history – with politicized and often violent interpretations of Islam very much in the news worldwide – a more explicit and similarly unapologetic articulation of what may be called a “reconciled” Singaporean Muslim Identity is needed. Forging such an identity though is an understandably sensitive issue that must be left to the Singaporean Muslim community and its leaders. The challenge is to fashion a Singaporean Muslim Identity that would be theologically sound, but integrated within the secular, globalized, multicultural context of modern Singapore. Such a reconciled Singapore Muslim Identity would meanwhile complement efforts to fashion a more clearly articulated and strongly promoted wider Singaporean Identity and Master Narrative.
Last updated on 17/12/2019