A police report has been made over remarks made by an imam, who allegedly insulted Christians and Jews during his Friday sermons at a mosque.
A spokesperson for the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said it is aware of the case and is assisting the police with their investigations. As part of due process, the individual has been placed on leave whilst investigations are ongoing. MUIS also take a very serious view of any behaviour or speech which promotes feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different faith communities.
THREE QUICK THOUGHTS:
First, the Quran has a lot of verses concerning the Jews. It must be taken into context; the culture and the historical significance of that time meant that they might not even be referring to the same Jews.
Second, the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) which was made mandatory at the start of this year could not have come at a better time. Islam is incredibly diverse, the scheme is established to enhance the standing of religious teachers (Asatizah) and serve as a credible source of reference for the Singapore Muslim community. This includes being sensitive to racial and religious harmony.
Third, the mosque which this incident took place, is known for its sermons in Tamil, because of its South Asian congregants. With the spate of arrests involving Bangladeshi radicals last year, the authorities must be careful to manage the tensions and the nuances in the community. We cannot afford to marginalise them. Our second point above would be a good initiative to ensure our religious leaders knows the responsibility they have towards the community.
Lastly, the scripts in the Friday Sermons are under the charge of Office of Mufti and I think they are doing a fine job coming up with topics that would make the community better Muslims. I do not doubt MUIS religious leaders, what I fear, is the shallow knowledge and ignorance of the people listening to them.
In this age, people believe most of what they see or read on the internet. We have people dismissing official Fatwa’s and religious leader’s opinions just after one day of ‘Googling’.
SG has strict laws to protect its multi-racial / religious harmony,
MUIS must continue to reiterate to its leaders that their stance cannot be incendiary and divisive, as people may just take their words for it without distilling its finer meanings.