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24th November 2017

4th Madrasah Seminar (15 Nov 2017)

Five of our Year 5 Dunmanians, members of our Student-initiated Interest Group (SIG) – the Malay Cultural Society, participated in the 4th Madrasah Seminar on 15 Nov 2017.  This seminar was organised by Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah and supported by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and MUIS.

The seminar, titled: ‘Resilient Youth, Cohesive Society’, aimed to provide insights by local scholars and practitioners on issues that surround the proliferation of exclusivist and extremist ideologies, as well as the importance of being resilient and united amidst these challenges.

One of our students, Chin Sue-Kay of 17Y5C41, was featured on the Malay news programme: Suria Berita.

You may view her interview here from 13:14 – 13:27.
(The entire feature runs from 10:15 – 13:55.)

Her full interview may be found here:

2017-11-16-VIDEO-00014133.mp4

The students shared that they enjoyed the seminar and learned a lot from it. Here are some of their thoughts:

“The seminar and dialogue session with Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health, was extremely insightful. With an increasing number of youth becoming radicalised, an important question discussed was what was the attraction of Daesh (also known as ‘ISIS’) for young people? Other than the use of social media, Daesh frequently features their way of life and violence under the guise of attractive packaging. This can be in the form of rap videos or posters parodying popular computer games such as ‘League of Legends’. These are all done in a bid to appeal to popular culture. Being exposed to Daesh’s schemes allowed us to have a better understanding of the dangers of self-radicalisation and how easy it can be to fall prey to their propaganda.

During this session too, many of the Madrasah students were concerned with how they, with the proper knowledge of Islam, should spread the correct teachings of Islam to combat the misleading teachings preached by Daesh. We learnt about how different sects in Islam and how different groups of people derived different meanings from the texts in the Koran. One of the challenges of the modern world is that Muslims need to be able to adapt religious texts to suit the current times. The Madrasah students felt they had a responsibility to spread the correct ideals of Islam as a peaceful religion instead of one that justifies violence as a means to achieve one’s aims. We as non-Muslims also have a responsibility to be open-minded towards Muslims, and have the patience to learn about Islam through the experts and not via misguided views on mass media.

Prior to the dialogue and breakout sessions, we also had the privilege to attend the sharing sessions of distinguished guest speakers. The topics covered were close to heart and very thought-provoking. They included the emerging patterns of terrorism, psychological findings of terrorism threats in Singapore, as well as the challenges of Muslims in the modern world. From an “outsider’s”  lens, it was definitely humbling to note the challenges and experiences our Muslim friends may have experienced. A safe environment was then given to both students from both Madrasah and secular schools to interact and exchange personal insights with one another during the breakout and dialogue sessions. The exchanges with the students left us pondering how non-Muslims might have taken our privilege as a “majority” for granted, and how, racial exclusion might be more ubiquitous than we imagine it to be.

In the breakout session, we were allocated to the team discussing issues pertaining to MUIS and we participated in a very enriching discussion, where stereotypes regarding Islam, their Quran and terrorism were debunked. The students from Madrasahs were really nice and friendly and explained to us the more specific terms to facilitate our discussions. We found this discussion extremely thought-provoking as many of the topics addressed at hand have not been talked about enough, given its prevalence in our society today. The dialogue session was also very interesting as questions were posed online and anonymity was permitted, allowing more contentious questions to be asked, providing us with a deeper understanding of the issues at hand.”

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