Singapore

President Halimah is No. 37 on global list of 500 most influential Muslims

President Halimah Yacob remains in the top 50 of a list of the world's 500 most influential Muslims, compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan.

At No. 37, Madam Halimah, who was elected Singapore's first woman president in 2017, is the only Singaporean in the top 50 of the 2021 edition of The Muslim 500.

The annual compilation, in its 12th year, ranks Muslims around the world according to the extent of their impact on their community.

Her award citation said: "As president, she has promoted initiatives for supporting a cohesive society, strengthening interfaith (bonds) and recognising all workers who contribute to Singapore's growth. She has a strong international profile, regularly meeting world leaders."

Last year saw the inaugural International Conference on Cohesive Societies in Singapore, which drew about 1,000 delegates from almost 40 countries, after President Halimah had put forth the idea of a unique interfaith forum.

She has been climbing the rankings since her inclusion in 2018, at the 45th spot. Last year, she was ranked 41st and this year, 38th.

Also in the top 50 were three others from South-east Asia.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo was ranked 12th; Professor K.H. Said Aqil Siradj, chairman of Indonesia's Nahdlatul Ulama, was 18th; and Indonesian preacher Habib Luthfi Yahya was ranked 32nd.

The centre also named Ms Bilkis Bano from India as Woman of the Year. At 82, she is famed for her resistance to her country's controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

Man of the Year was economist Ilham Tohti, 51, from China, who advocates for the rights of the Uighur minority. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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