National church council pledges support for Muslim community

The detention of Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari under the Internal Security Act for radicalism should not cause the Muslim community to be viewed in a negative light, the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) said on Monday.

Neither should the event be used to stoke the flames of Islamophobia in Singapore, added the council, which represents more than 250 churches here.

The Ministry of Home Affairs announced on Monday that Izzah, a 22-year-old infant care assistant, had been detained earlier this month. She was deeply radicalised and supported the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's use of violence, said the ministry.

In response, the NCCS sent a letter to Mufti Fatris Bakaram and Haji Abdul Razak Maricar, the chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

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The Christian group also posted the letter on its website.

"The actions of a misguided few must never be seen as representing that of the majority of Muslims here," the council said in its letter, which was signed by its president Rennis Ponniah and general secretary Ngoei Foong Nghian.

The council noted that the Muslim community has contributed significantly to Singapore's progress, and has done much to strengthen its multiracial and multi-religious community.

"The National Council of Churches will continue to support and pray for the Muslim community during this difficult time," said the NCCS.

The council also urged Singaporeans to continue working together to ensure that nothing jeopardises the country's inter-religious harmony and peace.

"Let us continue also to work together to ensure the safety and security of everyone who lives and works here by being vigilant and by being committed to the common good," it added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'National church council pledges support for Muslim community'. Print Edition | Subscribe