Singapore

Singapore lucky its Muslim religious teachers preach love: Masagos

Singapore is fortunate that its religious teachers guide Muslims here to understand the true principles of Islam - to bring love and compassion - in the way they practise the religion, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.

These principles apply in all facets of life, including reacting to whatever happens around them in Singapore and outside Singapore, he added yesterday.

Mr Masagos was commenting on the attacks in France during an event to commemorate the birth month of the Prophet Muhammad held at Yusof Ishak Mosque in Woodlands yesterday. Two attacks in France last month have shaken the country, causing France to raise its security alert to its highest level.

On Oct 16, a French middle school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in a suburb north of Paris by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin who wanted to punish the teacher for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics class on freedom of expression.

Last Thursday, a Tunisian man shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two others in a church in Nice before being shot and arrested by police.

On the incident in Paris, Mr Masagos: "We have reacted very moderately... led by our Mufti to teach us that as much as these things are happening around us, (we must) be measured in our response, be patient, be loving, have a lot of compassion, and understand that religion must come with all these values, and not react violently, even when people instigate it."

He added that in Singapore, Muslims are able to react rationally and give confidence to other communities that they respect one another.

Mr Masagos said Singapore Muslims can be an exemplary minority Muslim community that is respected by others if they show resilience and patience. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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