Remarks by Second Minister for Education Dr Maliki Osman at the Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore (IRO) Inter-Faith Prayers

Published Date: 23 July 2021 04:30 PM

News Speeches

Mr Tan Thiam Lye, President of IRO

Imam Habib Syed Hassan Mohamed Al-Attas, Imam of Ba'alwie Mosque

Leaders and representatives of the various Faiths

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

1. Thank you to the Inter-Religious Organisation for holding this Inter-Faith Prayers for the welfare and well-being of Singaporeans. Thank you for inviting me this afternoon to this important inter-faith prayer session.

2. Thank you to the 10 religious leaders for leading us in the prayers earlier. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic incident that happened this week. All of us are still recovering from the shock of the incident that took place at River Valley High School this past Monday. In times like this, it is all the more important for us to come together and offer each other our care and support.

3. I thank all the religious groups that have come forward to pray with the bereaved. It is never easy to lose a loved one. No words can describe the anguish felt. Let us cherish our children as parents and as a community. Show them our unconditional love and hear their heartbeat and thoughts. Let us as one community, stand together in solidarity and with compassion.

4. On behalf of MOE and our school community, I would like to thank everyone who sent messages of support and encouragement and offered their thoughts and prayers. We will continue to provide support to all students and teachers affected by the incident.

5. Today's interfaith prayer session is a reflection of our strength as a society – spiritually coming together as one with those most affected by the tragic incident. We hope they find peace and comfort in our prayers.

6. It has been a challenging year for us, and we are still in the midst of a pandemic. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious crisis that the world has faced in a long time.

7. Prime Minister Lee has called it a "crisis of a generation". It is an invisible enemy, with no regard for border, country, race, or religion. A year and a half on, the pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world, and recent developments show that we cannot let our guard down.

8. But in our response to the pandemic, we have also seen the strength and resilience of Singaporeans, who showed support and care for one another, regardless of race, religion or other affiliations.

9. We must continue this work to strengthen the fabric of our community. This ensures that our people are prepared to cope with changes and continue to maintain a strong sense of collective identity.

10. We must continue to reject the viruses of fear, selfishness, xenophobia, and racism, which can be even more devastating to the human spirit and our society than the pandemic. We must support those affected emotionally and psychologically and direct them to various help channels available.

11. In Singapore, the IRO is an important institution that symbolises our inter-religious solidarity. Through the IRO, members of different faiths have a platform to learn about one another through inter-faith dialogues and do good together through inter-faith charity projects. It is also a timely reminder as we mark Racial Harmony Day this week and show that these gestures of grace and support are testament that we have so much in common than our differences, and that there are always more thing that unite than divide us. Through this solidarity, we can continue to weather any challenges that confront us as one people.

12. I thank IRO again for inviting me to be part of this very meaningful event. And, I thank everyone here for your presence and for coming together in unity and showing the true Singapore spirit. Let us continue to stand in solidarity and send strength to those struggling and be a source of light and comfort to those in need.

13. Thank you.

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