Tougher steps needed to prevent another imam incident

Slapping a fine on imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel and repatriating him may, to some, mark the end of a potentially incendiary case (Imam fined $4k over offensive remarks, will be repatriated; yesterday). But it may be unwise to come to that conclusion.

Some may question if the imam's apology is adequate. A fine amounting to a slap on the wrist, then making him leave the country may not deter the likes of him from entering Singapore. I suggest the authorities conduct a thorough screening of foreign representatives of religious groups before they are allowed into the country.

Newly arrived ones should be put through a mandatory period of training to understand the context in which they will function. This is important if these individuals are here to lead a place of worship .

Religious leaders can be influential and they need to be monitored. Representatives of all faiths must be mindful of the potentially fragile and sensitive undercurrents here.

We must take steps to prevent the danger of having our harmonious co-existence in this multi-religious and multiracial nation destroyed by insensitive foreigners stoking the flames of intolerance.

Michael Loh Toon Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'Tougher steps needed to prevent another imam incident'. Print Edition | Subscribe