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WashPost: The Best Guide for Gitmo? Look to Singapore.

Author: William J. Dobson
May 17, 2009


As the Obama administration contemplates what to do with the detainees who remain in Guantanamo, Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) in Singapore--which tries to rehabilitate terrorist detainees--could provide a model.

What to do with the Guantanamo detainees? Uncertainty resurfaced last week, as the Obama administration backed away from earlier statements on U.S. anti-terrorism policies. The president reversed a decision to release photographs of alleged detainee abuse. Then he decided to keep the military commissions for trying terrorist suspects. The White House is now reportedly considering plans to detain some suspects on U.S. soil indefinitely, without trial.

As the administration struggles over the fate of the 241 remaining detainees in its charge, it may want to look to an old Asian ally for a hand.

Meet Ustaz Ibrahim Kassim, one of Singapore's most respected Islamic scholars. His business card describes him as "Assistant Registrar of Muslim Marriages." But Kassim is engaged in a more important enterprise. He is part of his country's innovative program to fend off the threat of Islamic extremism. "We are not scared of [the terrorists]," says Kassim, an older gentleman with a face framed by a neatly trimmed white beard. "We know that history repeats itself, but these problems do not need to be passed on."

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