This incident involving Imam Nalla of Jamae Chulia mosque has been a trying one for the community. Imam Nalla has realised that he is in the wrong and that his words have caused tension and disquiet. His apology over the weekend was a meaningful gesture to reconcile with friends from other faiths. I thank our non-Muslim friends for accepting the apology. Their willingness to forgive reflects the Singapore way, where we uphold mutual respect and harmony for our common good.
Earlier, I mentioned that there cannot be double standards when we deal with issues that touch on race and religious harmony. Our laws preserve the freedom to practise one’s faith, and protect all communities, regardless of race or religion, from being denigrated. The authorities have done the right thing by applying the law firmly and fairly, as this is in the best interest of all communities.
As Muslims, we are called to radiate rahmah (compassion) and spread peace. Words matter and words that cause mistrust and apprehension among the various communities have no place in Singapore. Similarly, a case such as this should always be directed to the relevant authorities as and when they arise. It would be irresponsible and reckless to sensationalise such issues on social media.
This has been a difficult episode. But it is also a timely reminder of how words uttered insensitively can undermine our social cohesion. Let us learn and reflect from this episode, unite as one people and focus on the future we hope to build as a society. Wherever we are, including spaces like our places of worship, we must safeguard the values we hold and cherish as Singaporeans – mutual respect, unity and social harmony. The unity of our nation depends on this.
Source: Yaacob Ibrahim