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Candid Singapore conversations on terrorism’s impact, in ‘Regardless of Religion’

SINGAPORE: The rise in terror attacks and religiously-motivated hate crimes has increased divisions in societies around the globe. Here in Singapore, have they widened fault-lines too and affected how we view each other’s religious communities?

This is what a new Channel NewsAsia documentary seeks to find out. Broaching new controversial ground, the one-hour programme – which airs Monday (Aug 14) at 8pm – asks if Singaporeans are as resilient as they think they are, and what it will take to stay united – in the words of the pledge, regardless of religion.

It features candid conversations between presenter Dr Janil Puthucheary, and everyday people of different faiths – including university students of different faiths, religious leaders and the man on the street.

Onepeople.sg chairman Dr Janil Puthucheary conducts a social experiment on whether people think religious harmony has improved or declined in the last 10 years.

In a first, the programme also spills over into a virtual reality experience, with members of the public invited to step into the shoes of someone who is being discriminated against.

One of the most significant and moving moments in the documentary for Dr Puthucheary – who chairs Onepeople.sg, a national body that promotes racial and religious harmony – is an interview with the madrasah students, who describe how differently they are viewed with the recent rise of extremist attacks in the world.

Said Dr Puthucheary: “What really should be quite a disturbing interaction, they described it as normal. That was quite worrying, and I felt bad on their behalf. We have to seriously look at (this issue).”

HAS RELIGIOUS HARMONY DECLINED?

The documentary follows last year’s ground-breaking special, Regardless of Race, which took an unprecedented look at what is often regarded as the taboo topic of racial prejudice and privilege in Singapore. (Read…

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