Singapore Jails Internet Forum Posters
Two Singapore men were jailed today for posting racist remarks on an Internet forum for dog lovers, the Associated Press reports.
Under the British colonial era Sedition Act, disparaging comments about Malays and Muslims made by 27-year-old Singaporeans Benjamin Koh Song Huat and 25-year-old Nicholas Lim Yew landed both of them in jail. Huat received a one-month sentence, while Yew received a day and a fine equivalent to US $2,969.
Huat, an animal shelter employee, advocated desecrating Mecca on a public dog lover forum during a discussion about whether or not taxi drivers should refuse uncaged pets out of respect of the Muslim faith.
“Racial and religious hostility feeds on itself,” the AP quotes Senior District Judge Richard Magnus as saying. “Young Singaporeans … must realize that callous and reckless remarks on racial or religious subjects have the potential to cause social disorder, in whatever medium or forum they are expressed,” he said.
Muslim Malays make up about 15% of Singapore’s population, 80% of which is of Chinese descent.