Today’s announcement of the arrest of Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari under the internal security act (ISA) has shocked many. Unlike previous cases, Izzah is one of us. She lived amongst us, ate amongst us and even went to school amongst us. The G’s constant reminder that a terrorist attack on Singapore soil is inevitable rings true.
Singaporeans can respond in one of two ways. We can start to see all Malay Muslims as terrorists and start to isolate ourselves from them, or we can see them as individuals who just happen to be Malay Muslim that have been led astray. Our choice is important, as choosing wrongly will start a vicious cycle where Malay Muslims will feel marginalized which will then create a climate of dissatisfaction with a secular society and drive them to terrorism to assert their religious rights.
Thus, while our human instinct is to flight, we must resist this and choose instead to embrace our Malay Muslim brothers and sisters and stand As One Nation with them as Singapore fights terrorism. In the coming days, I am certain that our Malay Muslim brethren will feel the eyes of suspicion on them. As Singaporeans, it is our duty to show them that we stand with them.
I therefore want to urge you to take a picture with a Malay Muslim friend and post it on your Facebook page with the #AsOneNation. The world is watching. The terrorists are also watching. But more importantly, our Malay Muslim friends are watching and wondering what you think about them. Your Facebook post will tell them in no uncertain terms that we will fight terrorism as Singaporeans and that nothing will divide us.