Singapore's Malay-Muslim minority : social identification in a post-'9/11' world

R. Ismail, Brian Shaw

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    Abstract

    Fundamental within Singapore's modernisation push ‘From Third World to First’ was the long-term strategy of establishing a Singapore identity based on multiracialism, multilingualism, multiculturalism and multireligiousity (the ‘4Ms’). But while wholesale landscape changes have largely removed earlier associations between ethnicity and residence, government promotion of a shared Singapore identity has been frustrated by the lagging educational and socio-economic achievements of Singapore's Malay minority. Prior to the events of ‘9/11’ government concern had centred on the growing popularity of private Islamic schools, or madrasahs, which in the government's view could affect educational standards in the city-state. However, following the destruction of the World Trade Center government attention was quickly shifted to the promotion of ‘racial harmony’ and Singaporeans were urged to ‘get to know your neighbours’ in a tacit admission that 40 years of ‘racial’ assimilation had yet to produce ethnically integrated, cross-cultural community spirit. Subsequent events, particularly the arrest of local Jemaah Islamiyah operatives and the destruction in Iraq, have impacted most strongly upon Singapore's Malay-Muslim community and posed challenges to its identity within a multicultural society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-51
    JournalAsian Ethnicity
    Volume7
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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