I am relieved the case of the Imam’s controversial remarks has been settled with the minimum pain to all involved, but it does leave a bad taste in the mouth that will linger on.
There are still a number of unanswered questions such as the agenda of the whistle-blower and his accomplice. His diatribes – past and present – against the Malay Muslims and the religious authority – have shown that his motives are less than pristine.
What the Imam said was beyond any doubt wrong and he should not have uttered it, not in Singapore, and not under the present ‘’fear of terrorists’’ climate, here and elsewhere.
But I don’t think he meant to incite violence against Jews or Christians member. It probably stems from an indulgence in religious rhetoric that has become habitual among some unenlightened preachers.
My regret is that the whole episode could have been avoided by a more pro-active and constructive approach on the part of the powers-to-be.
Like the Bible and the Torah and other holy texts from the Abrahamic faith, the Quran too has passages that to some extent incite the faithful to violence against unbelievers, hypocrites, homosexuals, gays and so on.
While there were reasons for such verses at the time of the revelation, they have lost their meaning in the present world, and should not be uttered by anyone in public, least of all by an Imam in a mosque.
I do hope that there will be the appropriate follow-up measures.
I also like to take this opportunity to remind all that there are fake news on Islam and Muslims that are circulated at regular intervals with immunity on social media.
And what’s most unfortunate is that these people know that these stories have been made up to incite hatred against Muslims and belittle Islam, and yet they have no compulsion in spreading such news.
They too deserve to get a warning.
Source: Ismail Kassim