11 July 2014
The Annual Iftar Organised by Khadijah Mosque and Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) and the Launch of the RRG Resource and Counselling centre – Speech by President Tony Tan Keng Yam
Mr Teo Chee Hean
Deputy Prime Minister
Coordinating Minister for National Security and
Minister for Home Affairs
Associate Professor Dr Yaacob Ibrahim
Minister for Communications and Information and
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs
Ustaz Ali Haji Mohamed
Chairman, Khadijah Mosque and Co-Chairman of the
Religious Rehabilitation Group
Ustaz Mohamad Hasbi Hassan
Co-Chairman of the Religious Rehabilitation Group
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 The Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) was first conceptualised 11 years ago in response to the terrorist threat posed by Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). JI members were radicalised by ideas based on a distorted and misinterpreted version of Islam. A group of respected religious scholars and teachers saw the need to deal with the threat not just through executive action but also by counselling and helping the JI members rehabilitate and reintegrate into society.
2 In 2003, the RRG was formed, initially to develop the response to JI’s ideology, which resulted in the first RRG Counselling Manual, and subsequently to conduct religious counselling for JI members. In recent years, RRG has also helped self-radicalised individuals back onto the path of mainstream Islam.
3 It is indeed a pleasure for me this evening to launch the RRG Resource and Counselling Centre or RCC. The RCC will support RRG members in the documentation and dissemination of their research into violent extremism and radicalisation. It will upgrade the competencies and reinforce the knowledge of RRG members in the fields of terrorist rehabilitation and counter-ideology and provide a platform for RRG to collaborate with other academics and professionals around the world to build a global network of moderate Islamic scholars and practitioners.
4 The RCC will also serve as a resource for members of the community seeking to learn more about Islam. The centre provides a safe environment for individuals to approach the RRG for advice and guidance on issues relating to extremism and radicalisation. The RCC therefore helps strengthen the resilience of the community against the traps of radical ideology, and nurture an environment where extremist ideas are clearly exposed and not allowed to take root in the community.
5 I would like to take this opportunity to thank RRG for the dedication and commitment to its work over the years, and congratulate the RRG on the commencement of the RCC. The centre is a milestone for the RRG and an important step towards providing a persuasive countervailing voice against the extremist narratives touted by terrorist and other radical elements in the public domain, especially on social media platforms.
6 I would also like to thank Khadijah Mosque for hosting the RCC on its premises. Khadijah Mosque has been actively involved in supporting and promoting inter-racial and religious harmony through its participation in the Geylang Serai Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle and working closely with the diverse religious groups and clan associations in the neighbourhood.
7 The multi-ethnic and religious gathering at this event is a reflection of the important work that Khadijah Mosque and other religious institutions have done and will continue to do to promote a cohesive Singapore.
8 I look forward to interacting with you over iftar later. Thank you and have a good evening.