The local ASATIZAH (religious teachers) is confident of Singapore’s multiracial and religious community’s full unity, especially in the critical times when the country is facing sensitive issues related to these two matters.
The asatizah contacted by Berita Harian (BH) expressed sadness and shock following the case of a young Protestant Christian Indian who was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for planning to kill a congregation at two mosques here.
However, they are confident that the incident will not easily tear apart the strong cross-religious ties between Singaporeans.
“Singaporeans have long been prepared to face questions that will threaten inter-religious unity.”
“Young Muslims in Singapore who have been educated to respect each other and friends of other races and religions, need to set a good example to other communities that we are always ready to build a life together in this country,” said the Counselor of the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), Ustazah Kalthom Isa.
The Chief Executive Officer of Safinah Holdings, a member of the Fatwa Committee, Ustaz Tarmizi Abdul Wahid, said he was shocked and worried when reading the news about the detention of the 16-year- old youth.
“When I read the news, it was very shocking and worrying as well.”
“First in terms of community safety, mosque staff and mosque worshipers, but another aspect is how a young person can be easily deceived by the extremist teachings spread on the Internet and as we know, this can happen to anyone, it can influence young people of any religion and race,” he said.
Therefore, he added, we should be more careful and take care of young people’s personalities, attitudes, and interests.
“Has he (the young man) ever expressed that he is not happy or hates a race or a society?”
“This is a lesson for all of us, and hopefully we all survive all kinds of threats or harms in society that can result in loss of life and also divisions and quarrels between races and religions,” said Ustaz Tarmizi.
Meanwhile, a lecturer at the Harmony Center, Ustazah Lina Sakinah Salim expressed her sadness for the youth “because he was stuck with extremist thinking at a very young age”.
“But I am not surprised if such a case can appear in our society because globalization makes the world like there is no wall that separates us from the elements out there that can affect anyone,” he said.
“Perhaps the wisdom behind this incident is that we need to work more closely between the Muslim and Protestant Christian communities, and other streams as well in talking about the violence associated with these two religions,” added Ustazah Sakinah.
The asatizah also called on the community to be calm in the face of the incident.
Pergas Chief Executive Officer Ustaz Mohammad Yusri Yubhi Md Yusoff told BH:
“Representing Pergas, we would like to call on the community, including the asatizahs, to remain calm on this issue.”
“Together, we are united in addressing this matter with maturity with other Singaporeans regardless of religion and race.”
Having a similar message, Ustaz Tarmizi added that Singaporeans need to be confident in the security forces’ ability in the country in dealing with issues like this.
My advice to the Muslim community here is to calm down and be confident in our prayers, with our national security forces such as ISD (Department of Internal Security), Home Team and MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs), confident that they will ensure that we will always be safe, “he said.
Meanwhile, Ustazah Sakinah called on the public to learn from the news and was thankful that Singapore had survived the threat this time.
“We must wake up and realize that this threat of extremist ideology is real – we must empower ourselves not to be easily swayed by voices of hatred in the name of religion, race or rank,” he pleaded.
“I hope the community is aware of the importance of inter-religious relations, not only religious leaders in the community who have good cross-religious concerns, but this good relationship should also be manifested among religious followers.
“Live up the true meaning of multi-religious harmony,” he said.
“But I am not surprised if such a case can appear in our society because globalization makes the world like no wall separating us from the elements out there that can affect anyone.”
Perhaps the wisdom behind this incident is that we need to work more closely between the Muslim community and Protestant Christianity, and other sects are also talking about the violence associated with these two religions.
We must wake up and realize that this threat of extremist ideology is real … I hope society is aware of the importance of interfaith relations, not just religious leaders in the community who have good cross-religious ties should also be manifested among the followers of the religion.
“Singaporeans have long been prepared to face questions that will threaten inter-religious unity.
Young Muslims in Singapore who have been educated to respect each other and friends from different races and religions, need to set a good example to other communities that we always ready to build a life together in this country.”
Source: Berita Harian Singapura, 29 Jan 21