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National body to organise conversations on racial issues

by October 3, 2016 General

Following the positive response to the documentary Regardless of Race, the national body for interracial and inter-religious understanding,, will be working with educational institutions and voluntary welfare organisations to organise conversations on racial issues.

The emphasis will be on creating a safe space where we can have sensitive and useful discussions, chairman Janil Puthucheary said on Sunday (Oct 2). And the process has already begun.

Volunteers have already started, and we’ve organised a few events, he said. We’ll be providing more publicity as these things go on.

Dr Puthucheary, who is also Minister of State (Education and Communications and Information), said the reactions to the documentary aired in August have been very positive, with many people writing to him via email and Facebook.

What they’ve appreciated is the (subtlety) with which the production team managed the issues and the opportunity (there) to take the discussion further, he said

The 45-minute documentary produced by Channel NewsAsia investigated perceptions of race in Singapore and featured the results of one of the largest nationwide surveys on race involving 2,000 respondents. It was commissioned in partnership with the Institute of Policy Studies.

Dr Puthucheary was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Rahmatan Lil Alamin (Blessings-to-All) Day 2016 at Al-Islah mosque in Punggol.

This year, all 70 mosques island-wide will be organising a year-long series of community service activities under the theme Empowering a Caring Community � Together.

These activities will be carried out from now until Aug31 next year and involve all segments of the community, including the mosques, madrasahs, Muslim organisations and institutions of higher learning. The activities include home adoption, makeover of homes of needy families, distribution of food to the poor and providing company for the less fortunate.

The Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation presented a total grant of S$150,000 to all six mosque clusters for the activities, which also include community development projects.

Dr Puthucheary said: The initiatives that we’ve heard about … are benefitting a wide variety of groups, from the vulnerable, the low-income, the elderly but also the environment and opportunities for the young to volunteer.

Rahmatan Lil Alamin Day organising committee chairman Paiman Supangat added that the Blessings-to-All Day was never merely an event.

It’s a movement and a message we carry in our Friday sermons, embedded in our Islamic education curriculum for our young, in our madrasahs and promoted in all our communication platforms with our many stakeholders, he said.

With more people touched by this message and acting on it, we hope to nurture many more ambassadors among individuals and groups who will champion the Blessings-to-All cause.

Source: Government of Singapore