Religion and politics in Singapore - Matters of national identity and security? A case study of the Muslim minority in a secular state

Kerstin Steiner

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Abstract

This journal article will examine the political and legal framework that has been utilized in the discourse between the Singaporean state and the Muslim minority in Singapore. Using a case study of the Muslim minority, it will argue that Singaporean state vigilant polices the delineation between politics and religion and any transgression will result in the state taking action. This places an onerous burden on Muslim Singaporeans as they have to negotiate a careful balance between their religious obligations and their obligations as Singaporeans. This is particularly pertinent in the manner that Singaporean Muslims can voice their political concerns that are relevant to their religion. The sensitivity of the discourse between the Singaporean government and the Muslim minority is anchored in the history of Singapore: its need for security as a small nation with only a Muslim minority amongst Muslim dominated Southeast Asia and its need to establish a national identity among the different ethnicities and religions. Yet the Singaporean government has been utilizing religion, albeit in a very sanitized and selective manner, to just forge this national identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107 - 134
Number of pages28
JournalOsaka University Law Review
Volume58
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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