Design-X Project: Challenges to Religious Harmony in Singapore 

Project advisors: 
Dr Kelvin Lee Jian Ming, email:, tel: +65 6248 4448
Dr George Wong Soo Lam, email:, tel: +65 6248 8821 

In the Singapore Pledge, the phrase “pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion” expresses the aspiration of Singapore citizens towards unity despite their diversity. One obstacle to Singapore’s unity is religious discord, including the new form of terrorism exacerbated by mass media. The urgency of addressing this problem today is beyond doubt.

In this project, students will investigate the challenges to religious harmony in Singapore and propose tentative solutions. Students are expected to conduct a literature review to survey broadly the current landscape of religious harmony in Singapore. This includes the Singapore Government’s policies pertaining to religious harmony and the motivations behind these policies. Concepts and theories (such as liberty, toleration, the golden rule, the categorical imperative, the social contract and collective action) should be engaged as a lens to identify factors promoting and undermining religious harmony in Singapore. Findings on these factors can involve qualitative, quantitative or a mix of both approaches, with a view towards producing a discussion evaluating these factors against the efficacy of current measures leading to possible policy recommendations. Possible organisations that students can work with include the Inter-Racial and Religious Circle (IRCC) and the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Singapore.

The learning outcomes of the course are as follow:

  1. Describe the Singapore Government’s policies towards religion, including religious diversity, religious harmony, and the secular framework.
  2. Examine the causes and the impacts of the obstacles to religious harmony in Singapore, including intolerance, extremism, and radicalisation.
  3. Appraise existing responses to these hurdles using relevant concepts and/or theories.
  4. Collect stakeholders’ opinions on religious harmony, the problems it faces, and responses to these problems.
  5. Evaluate the collected data and provide insights and recommendations.


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