‘Hate will breed hate’: Singapore mosque targeted in alleged terror plot preaches peace

A message from the Assyafaah Mosque, at left. Its place of worship in Admiralty, at right. Photos: K Shanmugam Sc/Facebook, Assyafaah Mosque/Facebook
A message from the Assyafaah Mosque, at left. Its place of worship in Admiralty, at right. Photos: K Shanmugam Sc/Facebook, Assyafaah Mosque/Facebook

One of two mosques allegedly targeted for attack by a young wannabe Singaporean terrorist responded with words of peace this morning. 

A day after it was revealed that a 16-year-old student, now in custody, had planned to attack the Assyafaah mosque on 1 Admiralty Lane to mark the anniversary of the Christchurch massacre, the place of worship put out heartfelt words in a bid to drown out the hate. 

“Violence has no faith,” it wrote on its socials. “Anyone can be radicalised online. An attempt to attack a place of worship is a perverted attempt to attack our shared values of love, peace and harmony that we enjoy as Singaporeans.”

It then called for unity. 

“Hate will only breed hate. Let’s remain united and continue to respond with compassion and forgiveness. Be the voice that fights divisiveness online and offline. Together we are unbroken. Together we are stronger. Together we can make the world a better place,” it said.

The mosque, along with that of Yusof Ishak just 10 minutes away, were part of the student’s March 15 plot to kill Muslims in nearly the same style as the Christchurch massacre that killed 51 people. The boy, a Protestant of Indian descent, planned to use a machete and livestream his violence, the authorities said. He had also completed one of two manifestos promoting his right-wing views.

Our places of worship are peaceful sanctuaries for all. In April last year, Singapore churches, mosques and a temple…

Posted by Assyafaah Mosque on Wednesday, 27 January 2021

News of the teenage boy’s shocking plan raised further questions about his upbringing, with social media inundated with questions about how he could have ended up wanting to commit such heinous deeds. There were many calls for further investigation into the boy’s background, including his experience at home and in school. 

“Was there bullying / unresolved grudges he held to his peers in school?” Nat Jenna asked yesterday. “Teachers are already heavily loaded with work I wonder if school committee or parents group reached out to him if he was ever bullied? I hope more closed investigations can be conducted in the school to understand the culture there and try to find the root cause.” 

The boy was acting alone and his family was unaware of his plans or Islamophobia, according to the authorities. 

“Need to reach out to understand from his sleeping parents and siblings too,” a Lian Yeow wrote today.

Others felt that more can be done to stem the spread of extremism among the youth. 

“Family and community must step up measures to engage our youth proactively and constructively, so that they do not indulge in deviant behaviour even when exposed to media content that is designed to incite violence and hatred,” Shaick Fakrudeen wrote yesterday.

“Schools should start educating kids and teen on this. [Nowadays] kids are getting spoilt on social media. Parents and teachers should do their part,” Saravanan Krishnan said.

Other stories you should check out:

LGBT rights defenders arrested protesting Education Ministry’s treatment of trans student
Writer, ‘ally’ to Singapore’s trans youth, on why he protested the MOE
Four years after arrest, exonerated maid Parti Liyani finally flies home

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