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MHA Launches Gallery Promoting Importance of Religious Harmony
Set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Harmony in Diversity Gallery is a key platform under the SGSecure.

A tour of the Harmony in Diversity Gallery (HDG) takes the visitor on a journey through interactive exhibits highlighting inter-religious conflicts around the world, the common ground shared across religions, and the safeguarding of common spaces.

At the end of the tour, the visitor is encouraged to reflect on how he or she can play a part in preserving the legacy of religious harmony in Singapore.

Initiated by the community, the idea for the HDG was first mooted by the youth wing of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) in 2015. It was later set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in collaboration with the IRO, academics and other stakeholders.

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Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam , President Dr Tony Tan, , Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Ms Grace Fu, members of the Inter-Religious Organisation and other guests at the launch of the Harmony in Diversity Gallery on 2 September 2016. PHOTO: Nizam Neti

The gallery was officially launched by President Dr Tony Tan at the Ministry of National Development Building on 2 September 2016.

The date of the gallery’s launch marks the anniversary of the September 1964 racial riots in Singapore, which followed the first communal riot just two months before. The riots in 1964 resulted in a death toll of 36.

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(Left to right) Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam, President Dr Tony Tan, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Ms Grace Fu unveiling the plaque at the launch of the Harmony in Diversity Gallery. PHOTO: Mabel Yap

Minister for Home Affairs and Law Mr K Shanmugam hosted the launch, which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Ms Grace Fu.

Members of the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony, the National Steering Committee on Racial and Religious Harmony and the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) were also present.

The HDG seeks to promote the importance of religious harmony to Singapore and foster mutual respect and understanding among the different religions in Singapore.

It will also enhance the MHA’s community engagement programme and the national SGSecure movement.

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A student demonstrates to President Tony Tan and IRO members how the interactive exhibit works during a tour of the gallery. PHOTO: Nizam Neti

“Given the sharper racial and religious undertones in terrorist attacks, our efforts to build up vigilance and resilience against the terrorist threat need to be firmly grounded by our society remaining cohesive, and increasing mutual understanding and acceptance of our diverse cultures, races and religions,” said Dr Tan in his speech.

He added that the HDG represents what the SGSecure movement is about.

“It is the community identifying what is important to Singapore and developing solutions to preserve and strengthen our values and way of life,” said Dr Tan.

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President Tony Tan viewing a trick eye mural of a local coffee shop, an example of common spaces where Singaporeans of different races and faiths interact. PHOTO: Nizam Neti

Open to the public, the HDG comprises four galleries of exhibits, artefacts and interactive features which celebrate Singapore’s religious diversity.

“There are not many galleries like this where you can learn about the different religions in Singapore. We hope Singaporeans, especially the young, will develop a better understanding of each of the ten religions represented at the gallery, and learn about the commonalities and good values that the different religions share,” said Mr Rustom Minocher Ghadiali, President of the IRO, a community partner of MHA.

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Students from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School viewing an interactive exhibit at the Harmony in Diversity Gallery. Targeted at young Singaporeans, the gallery seeks to promote the importance of religious harmony to Singapore and foster mutual respect and understanding among the different religions in Singapore. PHOTO: Christopher Chen

For Jared Foong, a secondary 4 student from Raffles Institution, it was the “Many Faiths, One People” gallery on safeguarding common spaces, that made an impression on him.

“There’s an exhibit in the gallery that explores how we can find similarities among our differences. For instance, along Waterloo Street, we have temples, churches and synagogues. It points out how in our ever changing social fabric, we can find these similarities… and that even though we are such myriad people, we can find a common point to work towards,” he said.

To further engage Singaporeans on the importance of religious harmony, the HDG plans to introduce outreach programmes and initiatives, which will be funded by the S Rajaratnam Endowment.

For more information about the gallery, visit www.harmonyindiversitygallery.sg

Schools and educational institutions can arrange for guided tours through the Ministry of Education’s Learning Journeys portal or through the HDG itself.

© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Denise Lee
  2. 02 September 2016
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