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Contending with Communalism


Singapore’s racial and religious diversity is a strength worth celebrating, but it also carries inherent vulnerabilities. The relative racial and religious harmony, or communal harmony, that Singaporeans enjoy today belies a past punctuated by racial and religious riots.

Singapore has not experienced large-scale communal unrest since the 1960s but this does not mean that the threat of communalism or racial and religious extremism has ebbed. Race and religion remain the most visceral and dangerous fault lines in our society.

ISD’s role in safeguarding racial and religious harmony in Singapore primarily takes place behind the scenes. We intervene, and work with community stakeholders, where necessary to prevent individuals and groups from stoking communal unrest, sowing inter-communal discord and undermining the social cohesion that Singapore has painstakingly nurtured over the years. 

Visit the Harmony in Diversity Gallery to find out more.