SINGAPORE - The Muslim community should continue to look for ways to mix with people of other faiths and work together in common spaces, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.
Speaking to reporters after the Eidulfitri prayers in Sultan Mosque on Friday (June 15), he talked about how younger Muslims are visiting other places of worship such as churches and temples.
"I think this is a coming of age of our community, where we are more confident of interacting with one another, without believing that this interaction will cause problems to ourselves,"said Mr Masagos, when asked about the Hari Raya Aidilfitri sermon delivered by Mufti Fatris Bakaram earlier that same morning.
Dr Fatris had noted the growing number of Muslims actively engaging in interfaith dialogues and visiting different places of worship.
He said: "We are not easily influenced by opinions which state that our children should not visit the houses of worship of other faiths because it weakens their conviction."
In his sermon - delivered to a congregation of more than 5,000 people - Singapore's highest Islamic authority added: "We aspire to develop a generation of Muslims who are well-versed and appreciative of their faith, who are confident in their belief wherever they are."
Mr Masagos also highlighted the importance of Muslims having more confidence in their faith and in themselves, as "all over the world, this is being challenged".
Some call for Muslims to isolate themselves from the vagaries of the world, and from interacting with others as it taints their purity, said Mr Masagos, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.
"We don't agree with that," he stressed. "We believe that it is because we are good Muslims, that we must contribute to the larger society."
In his sermon, read by imams in all other mosques here, Dr Fatris urged "caution in our intent to express gratitude and nurture spirituality".
All 70 mosques in Singapore conducted Eidulfitri prayers, which marks the end of Ramadan and a day of victory after a month-long of fasting.
"If our practice of spirituality causes us to distance ourselves from society and to avoid any affiliation with their affairs, then I believe such an approach signifies that we have deviated from the true goal of spirituality that our Prophet had intended," the Mufti said.
He called for a strengthening of knowledge and understanding of faith as the "most sensible course of action".
President Halimah Yacob and her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, also joined the prayer on Friday.
The President told reporters she hopes the spirit of Ramadan can continue beyond the month, and that "all of us will imbibe the spirit of looking out for each other, helping each other, not hurting each other, so that we become a truly compassionate society".
Ramadan and Hari Raya have always held special significance for her, she said, as it reminds her of her late mother.
Her mother, whom she would buy baju kurungs for, died three years ago.
Hari Raya has become even more significant for another reason - she welcomed her first grandchild on June 9, and said she will visit her granddaughter after prayers.
"What is important also for me when it comes to Ramadan and Hari Raya, is that it's an opportunity for us to get together closer, both as family members as well as part of the community," she said.