Four more Singaporeans were arrested recently for their involvement in terrorism related activities. They had made plans to travel to Syria to fight for the terrorist group and were prepared to die as martyrs.

Such arrests, while alarming, in nothing new as we have stopped people from participating in overseas conflict in the past.

The government also announced that the Government will block websites and radio stations, or remove online content that seems to promote radical ideology, when it is deemed necessary. The ISIS e-newletter Al-Fatihin was one such previous example.

I think that while it is understandable to ban radical ideology to protect citizens from harmful teachings, it is also important to strike a balance between state intervention and the education of the persons regarding Islam.

 You cannot ban everything that is not in your syllabus. The key is in educating what is right and what is wrong and to apply them to the local context  It is natural to seek knowledge from other sources beyond what is available locally. In fact it is totally encouraged to be as resourceful as possible.

In terms of broadcast, it is true that our local radio and TV stations, Ria, Warna and Suria do not carry as many religious sermons as some of the other broadcast station is the region. Ours focus more on family, society and entertainment, with the obligatory breaks 5 times a day for the call to prayer. In fact, the only sermon I could recall was the 30min session before/after the call to prayer in the mornings.

(A typical schedule on Warna. Entertainment, family, current affairs and news. Wheres the religious education portion?)

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This is hardly enough for a person looking to find out more about Islam.

That is why we have to remember that we have our religious teachers making themselves available in the mosques almost every day, giving talks, engaging in discussions and even conducting classes to be better Muslims – from reading the Quran and performing prayers to how to conduct ourselves as Muslims in globalised world. (You can also email them if your prefer!)

Singapore is a multi-racial society and we need to take into account our differences.

The practice of any religion (not just Islam) have to be cognisant that we live in a multi-racial society. In your course of research, you will need to be selective in internalising the knowledge –  take what is good, disregard what might be harmful. If unsure, check with the local scholars.

That being said – More religious segments on broadcast would not be too bad either and would most certainly be welcomed by the community.

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