SINGAPORE - The actions of a few misguided individuals cannot ruin the good name of the Malay/Muslim Community, said two ministers, in response to news that a former religious teacher and student pair are issued Restriction Orders (ROs) under the Internal Security Act.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday (Jan 16) that Murad Mohd Said, 46, was placed on an RO on Dec 5 last year while his student, 56-year-old technician Razali Abas, was arrested in September last year and placed on an RO in October.
Both Singaporeans held radical beliefs promoting violence and views detrimental to Singapore's cohesion.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said: "The issuance of restriction orders against Murad bin Mohd Said and Razali bin Abas show that the challenge of countering radicalisation continues. The swift actions of our security agencies are timely.
"However, the actions of a misguided few must not be allowed to tar the good name of our community."
In a separate Facebook post, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said Singaporeans should support the Malay/Muslim community and defend the country's multi-religious harmony.
"Murad and Razali do not represent our Muslim community, and we must continue to stand together with our Muslim friends, to protect the deep friendships and harmony between our races and religions in Singapore," she said.
Murad was a freelance religious teacher until he was struck off from the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) in May last year for his segregationist ideologies that contravened the ARS Code of Ethics, according to the MHA, which added that Razali had attended Murad's classes some time in 2012.
The ARS is managed by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), the Asatizah Recognition Board (ARB) and Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas).
Muis said in a separate statement that Murad had been engaged by Muis and ARB for his divisive views, but did not change them.
He was then struck off the ARS register and barred from conducting classes here. He did not obey this and continued spreading his views online.
As the authorities investigated Razali, they discovered Murad's teachings had influenced him. It was then that they deemed Murad's case to be serious enough for him to be placed on an RO.
Mr Masagos said: "Murad's violent and problematic views as a religious teacher, or Asatizah, carried weight among his followers, and had the potential to mislead many more, with grave consequences for our religious harmony."
He urged the Malay/Muslim community to continue to look out for each other.
"If anyone has questions or doubts, our ARS-recognised teachers and the Asatizah Youth Network are best-placed to answer their queries. If there are signs of radicalisation, we should refer these individuals early to Muis, the Religious Rehabilitation Group or the police," Mr Masagos added.
Muis said in its statement that the cases of Murad and Razali reinforce the need to remain vigilant against exclusivist and extremist teachings and the importance of the mandatory ARS to ensure Muslims receive religious guidance only from certified religious teachers.
Ustaz Pasuni Maulan, vice-chairman of the Asatizah Recognition Board, which manages the ARS with Muis, said it is actively monitoring and engaging religious teachers and Islamic religious schools to ensure the Code of Ethics is put into practice, and would not hesitate to remove from the scheme any teachers who violate the code.
"Such individuals would not be allowed to mislead the community, as these teachings are clearly incompatible with the values of the Muslim community, who are well-adjusted to Singapore's multiracial and multi-religious society," he added.