Applications by 2 Christian preachers to speak in Singapore rejected, both had denigrated other faiths

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies forum on Friday (Sept 8). He had cited the case of two foreign Christian preachers who were barred from entering Singapore due to their Islamophobic teachings. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Two foreign Christian preachers have had their applications to speak in Singapore rejected due to their offensive comments towards other religions, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Friday (Sept 8).

The Manpower Ministry, in consultation with MHA, rejected the bids for short-term work passes that are required for them to preach in Singapore.

"Both preachers had made denigrating and inflammatory comments of other religions," the MHA said in a statement, issued after Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam cited the denials at a forum earlier in the day.

"They were very Islamophobic in their statements outside of Singapore, and we decided we will ban them," Mr Shanmugam had said.

One of the preachers had described Allah as "a false god" and called for prayers for those "held captive in the darkness of Islam". This preacher also referred to Buddhists by a Hebrew word that meant "lost, lifeless, confused and spiritually barren" people, the MHA statement noted.

The other preacher had referred to "the evils of Islam" and "the malevolent nature of Islam and Mohammed".

He also said that Islam is "not a religion of peace" and that it is "an incredibly confused religion", interested in "world domination" and "a religion based on… adhering to uncompromising and cruel laws often focused on warfare and virtual slavery".

The MHA said: "Such teachings are unacceptable in Singapore's multiracial, multi-religious society, and the Government will not allow religious preachers of any faith to run down other religions or spread ill-will among the religions.

"This is to safeguard the social harmony and cohesion that have been painstakingly built up since Singapore's independence," it added.

Mr Shanmugam also disclosed during the forum that the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act was being reviewed.

MHA said it "is reviewing the need to enhance our legislative provisions to safeguard racial and religious harmony in Singapore. We will give details when the review is completed."

The two preachers had applied for Miscellaneous Work Passes (MWP). These are for foreigners on work assignments shorter than 60 days - including seminar speakers, religious workers or journalists.

A foreigner who wishes to deliver a talk in Singapore that is related to religion, race or politics is required to obtain an MWP, the statement said. The granting of an MWP is "a privilege accorded to a foreigner and not an entitlement", it added.

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