Christian church leaders alarmed by Singapore teen’s planned mosque attacks

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2 min read
Worshippers leave the Yusof Ishak Mosque in Singapore. (PHOTO: Annabelle Liang/AP)
Worshippers leave the Yusof Ishak Mosque in Singapore. (PHOTO: Annabelle Liang/AP)

SINGAPORE — The National Council of Churches Singapore (NCCS) said it has received with alarm news of a radicalised youth who attended church and was planning to carry out attacks on two mosques in Singapore.

In a statement, NCCS said it was deeply saddened about the youth’s intention and said the attack “could have led to serious injury to members of the Muslim community present at the mosques”.

The statement, signed by President Rt Rev Keith Lai and General-Secretary Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian of NCCS, comes after the Internal Security Department said a 16-year-old Singaporean male has become the first person in the country inspired by far-right extremist ideology and the youngest individual to date to be detained under the Internal Security Act.

A Christian of Indian ethnicity, the Protestant was found to have made detailed plans to stage a machete attack on Muslims at two mosques in Singapore. He chose Assyafaah Mosque and Yusof Ishak Mosque as his targets.

The teen, who was inspired by the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings, was also contemplating other options such as buying a rifle online or making a Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) bomb.

“NCCS wishes to reiterate that the ideology driving the youth to consider such acts of violence does not originate from the Scriptures...we totally reject any ideology...that promotes or incites violence against another, especially if there are of a different religious community,” the statement said.

NCCS also stressed that it treasures the special relationship it has with the Muslim community. “Therefore, it wishes to assure our Muslim friends that there is no animosity between our communities, and we remain committed to defeating hatred and violence.”

In a separate statement posted on Facebook, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said it was concerned and saddened to learn about the arrest of the youth over his planned mosque attacks.

Muis said, “We condemn all acts of terror and violence, which have no place in any religion.

“We are grateful that in Singapore, we have close bonds of friendship and trust among faith communities and their leaderships and will not allow any acts of terror by misguided individuals to threaten our social fabric.”

The Catholic Church in Singapore also issued a statement about the arrest and expressed solidarity with the Muslim community. “Violence has no place in society, let alone misperceived martyrdom through taking the lives of others. The Church believes in religious harmony and the peaceful co-existence of all religions.”

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