According to some estimates, Singapore, a cosmopolitan city‑state, has the most diverse population on earth. Within its 721.5 square kilometres, the resident population (5.8 million as of March 2020) ethnically comprises individuals of Chinese (76.2%), Indian (9%) and Malay (13.4%) descent. The main religions represented are Christianity (18.8%), Buddhism/Taoism (43.2%), Islam (14%) and Hinduism (5%). Four main languages are spoken, with English the working language.
The country has not seen terrorist attacks in the age of al‑Qaeda and Islamic State (IS). But one of Singapore’s closest neighbours, Indonesia, has repeatedly been targeted by the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), al‑Qaeda’s principal offshoot in Southeast Asia, and other violent extremists. The most deadly incident in Indonesia was the Bali attacks of October 2002, which killed 202 individuals. Several other attacks in Indonesia through the decade were executed by the JI. Singapore itself has had close brushes with the group. The local JI cell’s plans to attack Mass Rapid Transit stations, government ministries and foreign embassies were interdicted by Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) by the arrests of cell members in 2001 and 2002.