Youth probation for making anti-Islam remarks on Instagram

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SINGAPORE: A youth was sentenced to 18 months probation on Thursday June 23 for making offensive remarks about Islam in Instagram posts that went viral.

Sun Sicong, 21, also made insensitive comments about a rape victim.

He pleaded guilty last month to a charge of posting the messages with the deliberate intent to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.

Two other charges, for his rape comments and possession of obscene films, were considered for sentencing.

The court heard that Sun, a Chinese national who is a permanent resident of Singapore, made religiously offensive Instagram posts between 2018 and 2019.

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In the messages, he described acts of violence against Muslims, threatened to burn religious texts and insulted Islamic teachings.

He also said he would have “no problem committing genocide” if he was “in a position of power”.

At the time, no police report had been made regarding Instagram Stories posts, which are temporary posts that are automatically deleted after 24 hours.

But they resurfaced online around June 7, 2020, after Sun took a screenshot of a rape victim’s account of her ordeal and posted it along with her insensitive comments.

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Other Instagram users were upset by the comments and responded to Sun. They referenced screenshots of the religiously offensive posts in the process.

The offensive religious posts then went viral, with police receiving 62 reports from members of the public about them.

Under his probationary terms, Sun must stay indoors from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and complete 60 hours of community service.

His parents also posted a bond of S$5,000 to ensure his good behavior during this time.

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Probation is a community sentence under which offenders can continue with most daily activities such as school and work.

Community sentences were introduced in 2010 to give courts greater flexibility for minor offences.

Offenders retain no criminal record for the offense if the sentence is successfully served.

The penalty for making remarks with the deliberate intent to hurt religious or racial feelings is imprisonment for up to three years, a fine, or both.

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