Singapore Holds Exhibition to Raise Awareness of Terrorism

Replicas of a suicide bomber's vest, a pipe bomb and a terrorist training manual are on display at a library in Singapore as part of a terrorism exhibition that opened Monday.

"The terrorist threat against Singapore is real," reads a sign at the entrance of the exhibition organized by the Internal Security Department at the downtown National Library.

The two-week display focuses on threats posed by the regional al-Qaida-linked militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, which purportedly wants to establish an Islamic state spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the southern Philippines.

Since 2001, Singapore has arrested nearly 40 alleged JI members whom it accuses of hatching plots to blow up the U.S. Embassy, a U.S. naval base and other Western targets in Singapore.

Part of the exhibition includes the screening of a two-minute video allegedly taken by JI operatives here, which featured the embassies of the United States, Britain, Australia and Israel. The video was seized following arrests, organizers said.

Analysts say the city-state's detentions significantly reduced JI's threat to the city-state, but that the organization's external operations still posed a danger.

"The resident threat against Singapore has been neutralized, but the Jemaah Islamiyah is still a very capable threat outside Singapore," said terror expert Rohan Gunaratna of the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore.

Gunaratna said Singapore's anti-terror measures served as a model for governments in the region because authorities also engaged the minority Muslim community through its leaders to quell the spread of extremist ideology.

"Singapore's threat has been reduced because the government has ideologically engaged the Muslim community and maintained effective operations on the ground with periodic arrests," he said.

Suspected terrorists are held under the country's Internal Security Act, which allows indefinite detention without trial.

The exhibition also details terror attacks on the island-republic, such as the 1974 bombing of an oil refinery by two ultra-leftist Japanese Red Army members and two Palestinian militants that damaged oil tanks. The bombers were granted safe passage out of Singapore in exchange for the release of hostages.

In 1991, Singapore security forces killed four Pakistani hijackers of a Singapore Airlines flight. The plane's 129 passengers and crew were unhurt.


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