Youths can promote social cohesion in their own spheres of influence, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran on Saturday (Oct 8) at the Inaugural Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCCs) Youth Dialogue 2016.

"As future leaders, I encourage you to reach out and build friendships across ethnic and religious groups. With a deeper understanding of each other's cultures and beliefs, and by speaking out in one voice against racial and religious intolerance, we will strengthen our unity and resilience in the face of such threats and adversities," he said.

The dialogue at Jurong East was attended by more than 200 youths from religious and community-based organisations, IRCCs and institutions of higher learning as well as representatives from Hasanah Mosque, New Creation Church, Singapore's Sikh Community, Singapore Polytechnic Buddhist Society and Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.

It aimed to forge deeper inter-religious understanding among youths and raise awareness on social cohesion and security threats, providing a platform for youths to discuss and share such issues.

Against the backdrop of recent terror attacks around the region committed by individuals who had been radicalised by extremist ideologies, Mr Iswaran said that everyone needs to play a part in countering terrorism: "Terrorism threatens religious harmony, undermines trust, and polarises communities. It has no place in Singapore, our home, and we must be absolute in our rejection of this scourge."

"Each and every Singaporean has an important role in protecting our social cohesion," he said.

Getting youths to discuss issues on social cohesion and security threats, could translate into more concrete actions that would contribute to protecting the society, he added: "With the awareness that's being created through this SGSecure movement, our students can become alert to the kind of messages that come through social media and will be able to take a stand which is principled and consistent with our larger nation building, community building effort."

Source: Government of Singapore