SINGAPORE - An Australian pastor whose writings about Islam raised concerns among netizens had a valid work pass to enter Singapore to deliver a sermon here, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday (March 15).
This was in response to media queries regarding Mr Colin Maxel Stringer, a guest speaker at New Creation Church (NCC) on Sunday (March 10), after netizens on online forum Reddit found writings penned by Mr Stringer related to other religions.
The MHA spokesman said Mr Stringer had been granted a miscellaneous work pass to deliver the sermon at The Star Performing Arts Centre.
"An assessment was done of his past sermons, including those he had given in Singapore (when he was granted miscellaneous work passes to speak here) previously," said the MHA spokesman.
"MHA has not received information that Mr Stringer had made any statements of concern during his sermon on 10 March 2019."
The MHA spokesman added: "The organising bodies inviting foreign religious preachers, regardless of faith, are under an obligation to advise these foreign religious preachers to avoid any actions or statements that may undermine our social cohesion and racial/religious harmony."
The Straits Times has contacted NCC for more information.
On Monday, a discussion thread on Reddit, titled "New Creation Church Guest Speaker's Divisive Views", highlighted a blog post published in 2011 by Mr Stringer as well as a newsletter published on the Col Stringer Ministries website in 2001. In them, he was critical of other religions, including Islam.
Checks by ST on Friday found that both writings had been taken down from their respective websites.
Instead, only a blog post published on Wednesday remains. It states that Mr Stringer and his wife are currently in Japan "enjoying family time" and that "in their field of work, some people try to cause strife confusion and discord. Their love and respect for all people shines through in their every day lives."
The Reddit user who highlighted the writings said: "Col Stringer has religiously divisive views. By MHA's standards, he should not have been allowed to guest speak. After all, his case is analogous to Watain's performance ban, which was based on past actions.
"Hopefully, MHA will be fair in dealing with foreign guests of all stripes, so as to avoid appearing partisan."
On March 7, the authorities cancelled Swedish black metal band Watain's concert in Singapore, citing the band's history of denigrating religions and promoting violence.