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Religion And The State

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Chapter Summary

A central problem in any multi-ethnic and multi-religious society is to deal with conflicts caused by the co-existence of many different groups living in close proximity. Racial riots which erupted in Singapore in 1950s and 1960s were often started through the exploitation and incitement of sentiments related to ethnicity and religion. This chapter briefly looks at the turbulent racial and religious conflicts. It then focuses on the various efforts by the political leaders to transform Singapore into a peaceful and harmonious society and some of the issues which have arisen from the state’s religious management strategies. Finally the chapter highlights new challenges which seem to indicate that despite the enormous efforts at promoting religious tolerance, issues of religion and ethnicity can continue to be potent rallying points for an ethnic community, which feels that it is being discriminated against or threatened.

Keywords: ethnicity; multi-religious society; political leaders; religious conflicts; Singapore



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