Expert calls for Singapore-style “Harmony Act” to criminalize hateful religious preaching

Colombo, April 25: Prof. Rohan Gunaratna, a leading Sri Lankan expert on terrorism, particularly West Asian terrorism, says that Sri Lanka urgently needs a Singapore-style “Harmony Act” to curb hate speech and hateful religious preaching.

Talking to this correspondent on the rise of Islamic radicalism in Sri Lanka and the ugly manifestation it took on April 21 Easter Sunday, Dr.Gunaratna said that Sri Lanka should emulate multi-ethnic and multi-religious Singapore and criminalize hate preaching by passing a Harmony Act.

The Singapore act passed in 1992, provides that a restraining order can be slapped on any pastor or religious leader forbidding them to address any congregation or group on any subject.

Any criticism of another religion is considered a violation of the “Harmony Act.” One Christian pastor was warned to cease criticizing Buddhism, Taoism and Catholicism in church publications and from the pulpit.