Muslim leaders' Christmas greetings call for religious unity

Recent events like the truck attack on the Christmas market in Berlin underscore the need for the different faiths in Singapore to stand together, the country's highest Islamic authority said in a letter to his counterparts in other religions.

Mufti Mohamed Fatris Bakaram also wished Christians a merry Christmas on behalf of the Muslim community, and a happy, peaceful and prosperous year ahead.

Dr Fatris' letter was sent to Roman Catholic Archbishop William Goh and Anglican Bishop Rennis Ponniah yesterday.

It was also signed by Haji Abdul Razak Maricar, chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).

Muis and the Mufti customarily send such letters to their counterparts during festive periods.

In the letter, the two Muslim leaders said they were grateful for the peace, prosperity and strong bond of friendship among the religious communities in Singapore, especially the Christian community.

Citing recent terror attacks abroad, they added: "These are troubled times for many communities around the world."

Dr Fatris and Mr Abdul Razak condemned Monday's attack in Berlin, saying that it was an inhumane act. Twelve people were killed.

They also called on local religious leaders to work together, to deepen their mutual understanding and build a culture of cooperation.

Religious leaders can, for instance, work together to highlight the positive role that religion can play in building a more cohesive and prosperous Singapore, Dr Fatris and Mr Abdul Razak said.

They said that the Muslim community in Singapore is committed to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other religious communities.

"This will be our best response to the tide of extremism which is against the core spirit of our religions," said the two leaders.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2016, with the headline 'Muslim leaders' Christmas greetings call for religious unity'. Print Edition | Subscribe