Shanmugam
Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam Reuters

The Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said on Thursday, March 21 that New Zealand has shown the world how a community should react during the devastating situation caused by a terror attack.

The minister also focused on the fact that it is important to protect the minority rights and freedom of religion in Singapore.

He made these comments while talking to the press at the annual Panguni Uthiram Festival, during which the devotees walk towards the Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniar Temple in Yishun.

It can be expected that this year almost 6,000 devotees, 2,000 decorated steel and wood structures, which is known as Kavadi and milk pots bareers will be participating in the festival.

"The fact that a religious festival (where) minority groups are protected, (there is) freedom of religion and hate speech is prohibited — I think we should try and maintain this," Shanmugam said while highlighting the New Zealand's Christchurch and Utrecht terror attack.

In addition, he said, "Worldwide, this is going to continue, we just have to try to be an oasis of peace. Actually, if you look at New Zealand, the way the population has reacted, the way the Prime Minister (and) the Government has reacted, bringing the Muslim community together... New Zealand is a special country."

After the terror attack at two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch city that killed 50 people, a 37-year-old man, Turkish man Gokmen Tanis shot and killed three people in Utrecht.

However, Shanmugam said, "I hope (if) that something like that (happens), our community can also respond, together, in the spirit of togetherness and inclusiveness, but we will strive to try and avoid it in the first place."