Summary: 15 December 2014, Sydney was held at a standstill with the 16-hour siege of Lindt Cafe, Sydney, Australia. The lives of two hostages were taken along with an Islamist gunman responsible for the siege. Only a total of four people were injured and an estimated total of 18 hostages were held. Central Sydney was in lockdown when an Iranian refugee seized dozens of hostages early on Monday, 15 December. The gunman, named as Man Haron Monis, coerced some of the hostages to hold up an Islamic banner at the window of the cafe. The incident was deemed as an isolated incident with no other attacks occurring simultaneously. The gunman stipulated to have a flag of the Islamic State, the Sunni Islamic militant group that recently seized Syria and Iraq, delivered to the cafe. The gunman was said to had have an infatuation with extremism according to Australian premier Tony Abbot. However, majority of the public decided to stand up and protect Muslim inhabitants in Australia from receiving the flak and brand of being a terrorist through a multitude of mediums.
Opinion: In my opinion, the occurrence of the Sydney siege was indeed a major tragedy with the loss of two innocent and worthy lives by the wrath of extremism. Nevertheless, how does the siege have any correlation to our daily well-being in Singapore? Extremism has been lingering in this world for centuries and in recent years, has been on a rise. Singapore, being a cosmopolitan society, can be vulnerable to this prospect especially when we do not maintain our social discipline and integrity. However, Singapore has demonstrated exemplary cohesion among its people to be able to still live side by side with the Muslims population in this country without any prejudice in mind. Singaporeans, for a large part, are not overwhelmed with western influence and stereotypes that crudely suggests that Muslims are synonymous to terrorism. However, we should not be complacent with our position as extremism is an underlying threat that has to be dealt with and crushed as soon as possible.