16 January 2019
MUIS’ STATEMENT ON RESTRICTION ORDERS AS ANNOUNCED BY MHA
1. The recent case of the two Singaporeans placed on Restriction Orders under the Internal Security Act reinforces the need to remain vigilant against exclusivist and extremist teachings and the importance of the mandatory Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) to ensure that Muslims receive religious guidance only from certified religious teachers.
2. Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, Senior Director of Religious Policy and Development in Muis said that this case is an example of individuals misrepresenting religious ideas by taking them out of context and fitting them into a radical agenda that promotes violence and killing. For example, the Quran clearly promulgates freedom of belief and leaves it to the individual to accept the religion out of his or her own conscience. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) called others to his faith through good words and deeds, and lived alongside non-Muslims as a single community in Madinah, whose rights to their own beliefs and practices were protected by the Prophet through a covenant or social contract. The idea that apostates or non-believers can be killed is misguided and erroneous, and has been exploited by radical groups to justify their indiscriminate killings. There must be no place for such ideas in our multi-religious society in Singapore.
3. Since 2017, Muis has developed the Code of Ethics under the ARS to guide religious teachers appropriately. Muis also works with the authorities to ensure objectionable materials which propagate such teachings are not used in religious classes in schools. This system has ensured that the community receives religious teachings and guidance compatible with Singapore’s context.
4. Commenting on the case, Ustaz Pasuni Maulan, Vice Chairman of the Asatizah Recognition Board, which manages the ARS together with Muis, said he was reassured that the Board and Muis are actively monitoring and engaging religious teachers and Islamic religious schools to ensure the Code of Ethics is put into practice, and would not hesitate to remove from the scheme any teachers who violate the Code. Such individuals would not be allowed to mislead the community, as these teachings are clearly incompatible with the values of the Muslim community, who are well-adjusted to Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.
5. Such was the case with Murad bin Mohd Said, who, despite being engaged by Muis and ARB, did not change his views. He was subsequently struck off the ARS register and not allowed to conduct classes in Singapore. In spite of this, Murad persisted in propagating his teachings. When investigations into radicalised individual Razali bin Abas showed that Razali was influenced by Murad’s segregationist teachings, the authorities deemed that the case was serious enough for him to be issued a Restriction Order under the Internal Security Act.
6. Dr Nazirudin noted that the case was a clear reminder to the community that we should always seek guidance and teachings only from credible religious teachers and religious schools registered under the ARS, which has robust mechanisms in place to preserve and protect the religious life of the community.
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA