Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs has banned two foreign preachers, Mufti Ismail Menk and Haslin Baharim, from entering the nation.
Both preachers, who were due to preach on a religious-themed cruise departing and concluding in Singapore from 25-29 Nov, have been rejected from preaching in Singapore previously.
Announcing the decision in a statement today, MHA said: “They will not be allowed to get around the ban by preaching instead on cruise ships which operate to and from Singapore.”
The Ministry reported that the ban was instated following consultation with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), Singapore Tourism Board and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
Mufti Menk has been known to preach “segregationist and divisive teachings,” such as teaching that it is a sin and crime for a Muslim to wish a non-Muslim Merry Christmas or Happy Deepavali.
Haslin has also taught views promoting disharmony between Muslims and non-Muslims, whom he has described as “deviant.”
The MHA asserted: “Such divisive views breed intolerance and exclusivist practices that will damage social harmony, and cause communities to drift apart. They are unacceptable in the context of Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.”
It added that such teachings are “detrimental to our society and way of life, and will undermine the fundamentals of Singapore’s peace and progress.”
Netizens responding to news of the ban imposed upon the preachers have been divided. Some have called the preachers out for being extremists, while others have claimed that Mufti Menk, in particular, preaches peace:
In 2016, Home Affairs and Law Minister Mr K Shanmugam, appeared to allude to Mufti Menk when he explained why certain foreign preachers are prohibited from coming to Singapore.
“Foreign preachers are sometimes not allowed to come to Singapore to preach. Why? We will not allow anyone of any religion who preaches that people of other faiths should be shunned or that people of other faiths should be ignored. And it’s not only what he preaches in Singapore. We will also look at what he preaches outside Singapore. Because his speeches could be available online and it will be wrong for us to allow him to build-up his following in Singapore.
The Government will not interfere in doctrinal matters within each religion. But the Government has to step-in to protect our racial, religious harmony. We cannot allow someone to preach values which are contrary to our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic harmony. we take a firm, clear stand on that.”
Mufti Menk’s Singaporean followers had however showed their support for him on Facebook.