Singapore condemns attack and beefs up patrols, surveillance

Singapore condemns attack and beefs up patrols, surveillance

Singapore has stepped up security patrols and surveillance in relevant areas in the light of the terror attack in Paris, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have also written to French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls to convey their condolences over the attack on the offices of satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people.

"Singapore strongly condemns this savage act of terror," Mr Lee wrote. "It reminds us that terrorism and extremism pose a serious threat to all civilised societies, and that it is totally wrong, and contrary to the values of all religious faiths, to invoke religion to justify such savagery," he added.

Said Dr Tan: "As France mourns the victims, may the perpetrators be brought to justice swiftly, and may the wounded have a speedy recovery."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement condemning the "heinous attack".

Muslim leaders condemned the attack, but also criticised the magazine's provocative tone.

Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli told The Straits Times that distrust between communities in France had spiked.

"We're looking at a tragic conflict in a society where one part values absolute freedom of speech and has licence to be irreverent and even insulting to all religions and another that believes it has a divine licence to reply by spilling blood," he said.

"I'm glad our society values religious and racial harmony, and collectively does not tolerate anything that threatens this peace."

Said Ustaz Khair Rahmat of the Religious Rehabilitation Group: "History has shown us that one small mistake can easily get out of hand and escalate into a riot. We are very lucky communities in Singapore are very respectful and tolerant of each other's religion, and it takes work to keep it that way."

This article was first published on Jan 09, 2015.
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