Can’t believe what you just read in our local news? Neither can we.
This evening, it was reported that a 16-year-old Singaporean was detained in December 2020 under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for planning to attack two mosques in Singapore.
The youngest person dealt with under the ISA for terrorism-related activities to date, he is the first detainee to be inspired by far-right extremist ideology in Singapore, according to a statement by the Internal Security Department (ISD).
Described as someone who was “self-radicalised” and “motivated by a strong antipathy towards Islam and a fascination with violence”, he had taken reference from the attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and had prepared to carry out his plan on the anniversary of those attacks on March 15, 2021.
So intent was this youth on causing harm that he had even bought a tactical vest from an online platform and was intending to purchase a machete as his attack weapon.
Even more alarming, he was said to be “a Protestant Christian”.
This is so shocking because it’s hard to reconcile this label with the God in the Bible whom we worship.
Indeed, the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) said in a statement today that “the ideology driving the youth to consider such acts of violence does not originate from the Scriptures”.
After all, Jesus himself commanded us to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
Hate is a threat to us all.
“As such, we totally reject any ideology — even if they should come fictitiously under the label ‘Christian’ — that promotes or incites violence against another,” the NCCS added.
A separate statement by the Methodist Church in Singapore reiterated this point.
“As Christians, we seek and pray for the welfare of our city and strive to live in peace with another. This encapsulates the teaching of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to love our neighbour as ourselves.”
It’s sad that the actions of one person could easily shatter the efforts of all Singaporeans who have worked hard to achieve the harmony that we enjoy today.
Thankfully, ISD’s investigation indicated that the youth had acted alone. We really ought to be grateful that our security agencies were able to act quickly as well.
From today’s headlines, it’s clear that hate is a threat to us all.
Even if we come from different faiths, let’s be united by our respect for one another and our regard for the sanctity of life.
Let’s also pray for this youth as well as his family and friends who weren’t aware of his intentions.
As Christians, we cannot condone violence. We must be known for our love.