Singapore

Christian, Muslim leaders reaffirm mutual trust between communities

Christian and Muslim religious leaders here met yesterday to reaffirm the mutual trust and understanding between the two communities and condemn the plot by a Protestant Christian youth to attack Muslims at two mosques.

The meeting was held at Yusof Ishak Mosque in Woodlands, one of two sites targeted by the youth, a 16-year-old Singaporean of Indian ethnicity who had been inspired by the 2019 Christchurch shootings.

Leaders from the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) met Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir and Mr Esa Masood, chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

Also present were the chairmen of Yusof Ishak Mosque and Assyafaah Mosque, as well as Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, and Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Faishal Ibrahim.

NCCS president, Reverend Keith Lai, told the media that the Christian community was pained by news of the alarming plot.

"We were in shock and disbelief that this could happen, and especially coming from a 16-year-old," he said, adding that "whatever had been planned by this young man is contrary to what our Bible teaches about love and acceptance".

Dr Nazirudin said the leaders discussed various steps that could be taken to deepen understanding between the Christian and Muslim communities here, and agreed on the need to guide young people from being influenced by extremist ideologies easily found online.

He added that such ideologies feed on fear, anxiety and misinformation, and prey on the vulnerable and less informed, including young people.

Dr Nazirudin said the Muslim leaders were reassured that the case was an isolated incident.

During the meeting, Christian church leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working with Muslim religious leaders to assure them that there is no animosity between the two communities.

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