Muslim preacher Haslin Baharim has denied spreading divisive messages and is requesting to meet Singaporean authorities over the republic’s move to bar him from entering the country.
The preacher said allegations his talks were a threat to social harmony and bred intolerance towards non-Muslims were untrue.
“The reason for the ban was shocking. I don’t know who their sources are to say my sermons are a threat to harmony and non-Muslims,” Haslin told The Malaysian Insight today.
Haslin and grand mufti of Zimbabwe Ismail Menk, were singled out by Singapore’s Home Affairs ministry in a statement yesterday as threatening the country’s social harmony with their divisive messages.
“Such divisive views breed intolerance and exclusivist practices that will damage social harmony and cause communities to drift apart,” the statement said.
“They are unacceptable in the context of Singapore’s multiracial and multi-religious society.”
Haslin, 48, said he has travelled often to Singapore to give sermons and preach.
“When I was contacted by the religious authorities about the ban, I was shocked. I understand if they don’t want to let me preach, but why must they ban me from entering Singapore?
“I am being treated similar to Zakir Naik,” he said.
Naik is a controversial Muslim preacher from India who is wanted in his home country over money-laundering and terrorism-related charges.
Haslin claims in all of his sermons in Singapore, he had never spoken on sensitive issues as he was aware of the guidelines issued by the country’s religious council.
“We were informed and given guidelines on what can be touched on in our sermons. I adhered to all the guidelines.
“Perhaps they saw a video of my sermon in Malaysia where I may have spoken on race and religion, but even then, I was speaking on Islamic syariah law.”
Haslin said he was willing to apologise to Singapore authorities if it was proven he had caused the people to be divided, adding the allegations were “serious and tarnished my name”.
“That’s why I want to meet them and give an explanation.
“I have never met them. I have never questioned their laws, I just want to see the evidence, so I can also explain if it’s a misunderstanding,” he said.
The two preachers were scheduled to speak on board an Islamic-themed cruise from November 25 to 26.