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SPEECH BY CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF MUIS MR ESA MASOOD AT MUIS BREAKING OF FAST AT MASJID AL-ISTIQAMAH ON TUESDAY, 21 MAY 2019

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli,

President of Muis, Haji Mohammad Alami Musa,

Sohibus Samahah Mufti, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

Members of the Diplomatic Corp, Your Excellencies,

Assalamualaikum wr wb

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Alamin, Was Solatu Wassalamu Asyrafil Mursalin,

Wa ‘ala Alihi Wasahbihi Ajmain

1. On behalf of the Muis team, I would like to express our deepest thanks to Minister Masagos Zulkifli for gracing this occasion. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to all our distinguished guests as well as our beloved congregants for joining us today in the breaking of fast during this blessed month of Ramadan.

2. My sincere thanks to Hj Juraiman Rahim, Chairman of Masjid Al-Istiqamah, and the Mosque Management Board and Staff for graciously hosting us today. Masjid Al-Istiqamah has been serving this neighbourhood and this community for the past two decades and is well plugged in to the local community together with other organisations in its vicinity. This year Muis celebrates Ramadan with the theme Spreading Compassion: Ramadan with Neighbours. Celebrating with Families and Communities’. Thus, earlier today, Muis staff and I also took some time to visit various institutions within the neighbourhood of the mosque, such as the Yio Chu Kang Chapel, the Hiang Foo Siang Temple, and the Sri Darma Muneeswaran Temple to distribute hampers to share the spiritof Ramadan with our friends from various faiths and backgrounds. We also visited important institutions in the community such as the Police Post, Bowen Secondary School and the Serangoon Community Club. Many Muis colleagues also visited the blocks around the mosque, together with volunteers from Roses of Peace, who partnered us in this meaningful programme, to distribute Ramadan goodie bags containing porridge and dates, and of course roses as well, to all our neighbours.

3. Indeed, Ramadan has been a hive of activity for the Muslim community as well as Muis. Muis together with our mosques, madrasahs together with the many Muslim organisations in the community have been hard at work promoting the spirit of Ramadan, particularly the spirit of giving and charity, from the one for the benefit of the many. Just last week, Muis hosted our traditional event where we invited residents from various welfare homes, including both children and elderly to break fast together. I was glad to hear from one of the social workers that their home sees a regular stream of visitors during Ramadan to break fast with the residents, as well as donations both in cash and kind. Alhamdulillah, we are glad to see such outpouring of generosity from across the Muslim community during this blessed month.

4. I am glad to report that this year, Muis disbursed $2.2 million under our annual Ramadan zakat disbursement. This included the Ramadan bonus of $2 million to over 6,650 families and individuals to help them through Ramadan, and also allow them to enjoy in the festivities of Hari Raya or Eid.

5. The Muis Ramadan disbursement is a part of the total disbursement of zakat across all eight asnaf. Throughout 2019, we will be disbursing more than $42 million, which was the amount of zakat contributions by the Muslim community to Muis in 2018. This is an amount which has been growing steadily over the years, reflecting the community’s spirit of giving and commitment to social justice, which is one of the principles and values of Islam.

6. Earlier last week, Muis also disbursed a total of $4.8 million from the annual income of Muis-managed wakaf during our Wakaf Disbursement Ceremony. This is a 61% increase from previous years, due to Muis taking over the management of four new wakaf. Out of this amount, $1.7 million was disbursed to 32 mosques to support their operations and management, including upgrading and renovation works. Almost $390,000 was disbursed to 30 Muslim organisations for various social development, healthcare and Islamic Education programmes, and more than $400,000 was disbursed to our full time and part time madrasahs to support Islamic education for our community. Allow me to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the trustees and mutawallis of our wakaf in Singapore for all their contributions.

7. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman, indeed Ramadan is a blessed month where we see our mosques abuzz, with communities coming together for buka puasa or iftar, and jemaah coming in large numbers of prayers and tazkirah and to read the Quran. But beyond the individual acts of Ibadah, we see more mosques reaching out to the larger community, including non-Muslims. This year I have also noticed many mosques reaching out to the community on social media – from Facebook to Instagram and YouTube. Later we will be showing a short video which embodies the theme of neighbourliness in a very simple and meaningful way, which has been very well received on social media, especially by the millennials, and managed to garner more than half a million views on YouTube in the space of two days after its launch.

8. Throughout all these efforts, many of our mosques are leading the way in championing important messages – such as the need to care for one another, the need to care for our environment, the need to safeguard our health – all key values in Islam, and showing that the values of Islam are indeed a blessings to all.

9. Finally and once again thank you for your presence at this humble event. It is an honour for us in Muis to host you today and may we all receive the blessings of Allah S.W.T. in this blessed month. Thank you.

Wassalamu ‘Alaikum Wr Wb.