PM Lee meets Malay-Muslim MPs to discuss hijab issue

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (above) met People's Action Party (PAP) Malay-Muslim Members of Parliament on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013, to discuss the hijab issue. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (above) met People's Action Party (PAP) Malay-Muslim Members of Parliament on Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013, to discuss the hijab issue. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met People's Action Party (PAP) Malay-Muslim Members of Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the hijab issue.

At the meeting, Mr Lee stressed that his aim was to create an environment "where Muslims and people of other faiths can practice their religions freely and peacefully", Minister for Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said in a Facebook post.

"But he also explained why we must manage and balance the diverse needs of our multi-racial and multi-religious society. Hence the need for accommodation and compromise by all parties," Dr Yaacob added.

The meeting comes amid recent calls from some groups for Muslim women in public-sector professions that require a uniform, to be allowed to wear the hijab or head scarf.

Dr Yaacob said that those at the meeting agreed on the need to continually work towards better mutual understanding of the diverse needs of different racial and religious groups. He repeated a call he made last week for constructive dialogue.

"This is the Singapore way, and has served everyone well over the years. As I mentioned before, it will take time, but we will find practical solutions if we continue to engage with goodwill," he said.

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