Just one day after the alleged attack of the three Madrasah students, the police arrested a Singaporean Chinese 48-year-old man who is believed to be in connection with the case.
On Friday, April 1st, three Madrasah students aged 14-16 from Madrasah Al Maarif Al Islamiah were reported to be attacked by a man at Paya Lebar MRT Station on three separate incidents.
Madrasah Al Maarif Al Islamiah’s discipline mistress, Ms Nisha Mohd Hussein wrote the accounts of the students on her Facebook post; “The first victim was kicked at the left thigh, 2nd victim was hit by the plastic bag containing a heavy item and the 3rd victim was hit in the same manner on one of her eyes.”
The students described the alleged attacker as a middle-aged man wearing a red t-shirt, light brown bermudas with black boots and carrying a green backpack and white plastic bag. The students are currently said to be undergoing counselling. Their parents have also been contacted.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore released a statement regarding the incident on Saturday urging the members of the public to stay calm.
“At this point the motives for the attack are not clear,” said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Friday, he also assured that “we will get to the bottom of it and ensure that justice is done”.
On Saturday morning, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim wrote in his Facebook post; “This is totally unacceptable. We should never tolerate any forms of aggression towards anyone, especially the innocent. The perpetrator must be brought to justice,” he also added that Singaporeans must remain calm and united. Dr Yaacob also mentioned that the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) is currently working with the madrasah to assist the affected students.
Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean wrote in his Facebook post that he was glad that the suspect has been arrested and added that Singaporeans must stand united against all forms of violence against the innocents, especially if it concerns race and religion.
“Let’s not let anyone take advantage over incidents like this to incite hatred and division while it’s being settled by the authorities,” Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said.
Mr Shanmugam released a Facebook post on Saturday that addressed questions on whether the alleged attack was a case of Islamophobia.
He mentioned that Singaporeans should wait for the on going investigations to be done and not create any speculations. “The police take a stern view of acts that could threaten the racial and religious harmony in Singapore. Any person who caused hurt to others on the basis of their race or religion will be dealt with severely in accordance with the law,” said Tan Chye Hee, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigations & Intelligence) and Director of the Criminal Investigation Department. News source: Channel News Asia