Photo of K Shanmugam from AFP

Through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Singapore government posted a salty response on the United States approval of outspoken government critic Amos Yee’s asylum status.

Expressing their frustration, MHA defamed the United States claiming that the country allows the burning of Qurans.

The MHA rode a moral high horse admonishing the US for not restricting “hate speech”:

“The US adopts a different standard from Singapore towards hate speech. It allows some hate speech under the rubric of freedom of speech. The US for example, in the name of freedom of speech, allows the burning of the Quran. Singapore takes a very different approach. Anyone who engages in hate speech or attempts to burn the Quran, Bible, or any religious text in Singapore, will be arrested and charged. There are many more such people, around the world, who deliberately engage in hate speech, and who may be prosecuted.”

The MHA then said hate preachers can consider applying for asylum in US:

“Some of them, will no doubt take note of the US approach, and consider applying for asylum in the US.”

Technically, the burning of any text in US is protected by the First Amendment, however the US authorities have the right to arrest a person on grounds of public order – and has been doing so since the repeal of blasphemy laws since 1952. As such, burning of the Quran remains an offense in US as compared to the fake news the Singapore MHA is propagating. The US government has no short of legal tools to circumvent around the First Amendment to use against hate preachers, and hence is not as anarchic as the Singapore government claimed.

The MHA however did not address the political persecution of Amos Yee and kept harping on banning free speech in the name of religion.