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Speech by Deputy Mufti at Memorial Service for Victims of Sri Lanka Terror Attacks

Respected leaders and friends,

On behalf of the Singapore Muslim community, I wish to convey our deepest condolences to the people of Sri Lanka for the loss of innocent lives and the carnage caused by the terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday.

In the most tragic circumstances, the people of Sri Lanka have faced the full brunt of an evil ideology that has too often reared its ugly face – a face we call terrorism. Our thoughts are with the families of victims, and with the people of Sri Lanka, in these very trying times.

These acts cannot, and will not, and will never be, part of Islam, nor part of any other faith community - because faith recognises and respects all people of faith, faith recognises and respects all places of faith, and faith recognises and respects all acts of faith. To hurt people in churches, or mosques, or temples, let alone to destroy a worshipping soul, is to desecrate and attack faith itself.

We are taught in the Quran that God is the protector of those who have faith. He himself will defend them. And had he not repelled some peoples by means of others, then monasteries, churches, synagogues and places of prayer, and mosques, where God’s name is much remembered, would have been razed to the ground.

Muslim communities have witnessed the destruction wrought by terrorism and radicalisation. Groups such as ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Sri Lanka, are synonymous with the destruction of mosques and the tombs of Muslim scholars, churches and places of worship, everywhere they managed to tread. Faith, as we all believe, understand, and practise, does not exist in what ISIS, and others like ISIS, do.

This ideology has torn families asunder, causing parents to lose their children, wives to lose their husbands. And this evil ideology has severely tarnished the image of Islam, regrettably with some success, because some today have become fearful of Islam, some others have developed hatred for Islam, and some, like in Christchurch, would go so far as to kill innocent people because of hate and fear of Islam. We must therefore continue to do everything that we can to stop this evil ideology from creeping into our society.

The Quranic verse I quoted earlier tells us that God will defend people of faith through communities of faith. In these dark times, we need to support each other and protect one another, so that our sacred places of worship, our streets and our homes, remain safe from the vile plans of extremists and terrorists. We must also work together to build a safer and more peaceful future for our children.

Where they want to destroy, we must want to build and develop.

Where they strive to instil fear and hatred, we must continue to spread respect and love.

Where they toil to break us apart, we must persevere and stand united as one humanity.

Where they poison our air with suspicion and distrust, we must always purify it with trust and confidence in one another.

We pray to you Al-Mighty God, to keep our communities together, united in our efforts to preserve peace and harmony, and to plant in our hearts, and the hearts of our children, the seeds of understanding, empathy and compassion.

We seek your help to protect our communities, and our places of worship, from those who have no respect nor regard for your sacred houses.

We pray to you Al-Mighty God, to grant strength and unity to the people of Sri Lanka – and to help the families of victims heal. We ask you – the Most Compassionate, to heal our hearts and souls – to remove hate and fear, and replace them with love and compassion.

Peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad, and all praises be to you, Al-Mighty God.

Thank you.