Singapore bars Malaysian preacher and Zimbabwean mufti

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PETALING JAYA: Singapore has barred two foreign Muslim preachers, scheduled to participate in a religiously-themed cruise from the island republic next month, from entering its shores.

Singapore’s ministry of home affairs (MHA) said today they rejected the applications of both independent Malaysian preacher Haslin Baharim and grand mufti of Zimbabwe Ismail Menk, for a miscellaneous work pass to preach there.

“They will not be allowed to get around the ban by preaching instead on cruise ships which operate to and from Singapore,” the MHA said in a statement.

It said Ismail had been known to preach segregationist and divisive teachings.

“For example, he preached that it is the biggest sin and crime for a Muslim to wish a non-Muslim Merry Christmas or Happy Deepavali, in short, that Muslims are not allowed to wish others happiness during the latter’s religious festivals,” it said.

It alleged that Haslin had expressed views that promoted disharmony between Muslims and non-Muslims whom he described as “deviant”.

“Such divisive views breed intolerance and exclusivist practices that will damage social harmony, and cause communities to drift apart,” the statement said.

“They are unacceptable in the context of Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.”

It said the decision had been made in consultation with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), the Singapore Tourism Board, and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

“It has come to the government’s knowledge that they have been engaged to preach on a religious-themed cruise departing and ending in Singapore from November 25 to 29, 2017,” it said.

The statement added that the government had a responsibility to safeguard social cohesion and religious harmony in the nation.

“Singaporeans too, need to play their part, to unequivocally reject and guard against divisive doctrines and preachers who propagate such doctrines, regardless of the faith they represent.

“They are detrimental to our society and way of life, and will undermine the fundamentals of Singapore’s peace and progress,” it added.

Last month, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam singled out Ismail, and fugitive Indian preacher and Malaysian permanent resident Zakir Naik, who is wanted for terrorism-related investigations, as being among those teaching exclusivist views.

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