The US often criticizes Singapore for restricting freedom of the press, especially on visceral topics. But after speculation that the assassination of Christopher Stephens, US Ambassador to Libya, was a result of the “Innocence of Muslims” trailer, based on a longer video made by radical (so-called) Christians to denigrate the Muslim religion and their prophet Muhammad, it seems as though Singapore may have been onto something all these years.
The island is no stranger to religious violence. After independence from Malaysia in the nid-60s, the newly formed nation was hit with riots between Singaporeans and Malays, Christians and Muslims. As a predominantly Christian state located next to an overwhelmingly Muslim state, Singapore has had to learn how to maintain civil relations among various ethnic and religious groups by not allowing citizens to speak negatively about another race or religion.
This practice has been looked down upon by Western nations with a free press, but after the attack on the US embassy, some nations would be smart to rethink their views.
As Mr. Teo Chee Hean put it, “Freedom of expression does not mean that one has unfettered rights to insult and denigrate another’s religion or race.”