2 Muslim preachers banned from Singapore
Known for their extremist views, they were due to speak at religious-themed cruise leaving from Singapore
Two foreign Islamic preachers have been banned from entering Singapore because of their intolerant and divisive views.
This followed news that Mr Ismail Menk of Zimbabwe and Mr Haslin Baharim of Malaysia are scheduled to take part in a five-day Islamic cruise from Singapore next month.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement yesterday: "They are detrimental to our society and way of life, and will undermine the fundamentals of Singapore's peace and progress."
Last month, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam criticised Mr Menk for his extremist views.
Mr Menk had preached that it is "the biggest sin and crime" for a Muslim to wish those of other faiths "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Deepavali", said MHA.
Mr Haslin, who also calls himself Ustaz Bollywood, has described non-Muslims as "deviant", said MHA.
He has advocated that non-Muslims should be made subservient to Muslims in multi-cultural and multi-religious societies.
In deciding to ban them, the ministry consulted the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), Singapore Tourism Board, and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
Muis, which assesses applications for foreign preachers to speak in Singapore, said it did not support the men's applications.
"Muis finds that these teachings clearly contravene the code of ethics (under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme) and run counter to the values Singaporean Muslims uphold dearly that can contribute to a progressive and thriving religious life in Singapore," it said in a statement.
The two had previously had their applications to preach in Singapore rejected.
Last month, two Christian preachers, who had made inflammatory comments on other religions, were also rejected from speaking in Singapore.
Mr Menk and Mr Haslin are among several religious leaders engaged by Malaysian company Pelayaran Islamik to speak at a religious-themed cruise departing Singapore on Nov 25 and returning on Nov 29, according to its website.
"They will not be allowed to get around the ban by preaching instead on cruise ships, which operate to and from Singapore," said MHA.
The company has been promoting the cruise since June on Facebook. When TNP called the company at 4pm yesterday, a receptionist said the manager had left for the day.
A spokesman for AQ Travel & Tours, one of three tour agencies in Singapore listed on Pelayaran Islamik's website, said it was thecompany's first tour in Singapore, and it would be conducted in English.
He said there had been few inquiries and no bookings so far.
The other two agencies said they had stopped offering the cruise.
Ustaz Zahid Zin, a co-founder of Muslim Youth Forum, denounced Mr Menk's and Mr Haslin's preachings for being "on the exclusivist side" and "ignoring the context of living in Singapore".
Noting that not wishing people of other faiths well during religious festivals is incompatible with Singapore's religious harmony, he said: "It is not right for someone to create more division when we really need to build more bridges."
Criticising Mr Haslin's view that non-Muslims should be subservient to Muslims, religious rehabilitation counsellor Ustazah Kalthom Isa said: "In Singapore, we have our own rights. It is not up to us to categorise people, and we must respect others."