Singapore bans Mufti Menk from entering country

Accused of promoting religious discord, renowned Islamic preacher has been barred from attending cruise.

    Mufti Ismail Menk is a leading Muslim preacher with millions of followers across his social media platforms [Mohamed Azhar/Creative Commons]
    Mufti Ismail Menk is a leading Muslim preacher with millions of followers across his social media platforms [Mohamed Azhar/Creative Commons]

    Singapore has banned Mufti Ismail Menk, a renowned Islamic preacher, from entering the city-state, with the government contending that his views promote religious discord.

    Menk, a Zimbabwean preacher with more than two million followers on Twitter, and Haslin bin Baharim, a Malaysian scholar, were barred from entering Singapore to give lectures on a religious-themed cruise scheduled for late November.

    Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement that its decision to reject Menk's application for a short-term work pass stemmed from his "segregationist and divisive teachings", while Baharim promoted "disharmony between Muslims and non-Muslims".

    The ministry claimed that Menk said Muslims were not allowed to greet people of other faiths on their religious festivals.

    It also accused Baharim of holding views that promote friction between Muslims and non-Muslims, whom he allegedly described as "deviant."

    "[Their views] are unacceptable in the context of Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious society," the ministry said. "They will not be allowed to get around the ban by preaching instead on cruise ships which operate to and from Singapore."

    In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Menk said he had faced "no issues coming into Singapore as a tourist ... but will not be joining the cruise now for reasons not within my control".

    "To imply that I was using the cruise 'to get around the ban by preaching instead on cruise ships which operate to and from Singapore' is erroneous," he said. "I have never been on a cruise before, let alone give lectures on board. This was purely for a humanitarian mission to Banda Aceh."

    According to Islamic Cruise, which organised the voyage, Menk was scheduled to give a series of talks on the five-day cruise, including one titled "Navigating Towards Paradise", with proceeds from the event to be distributed to underprivileged people in Banda Aceh.

    Over the past few years, Singapore has faced increasing criticism for tightening restrictions on political liberties such as free speech.

    A 17-year-old blogger was sentenced to six weeks in jail last year after he "wounded the religious feelings" of Muslims and Christians.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?