Eminent Islamic scholar meets key leaders in Singapore

Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, the president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, and the forum's vice-president Hamza Yusuf meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Singapore's Mufti Fatris Bakaram yesterday. The Shaykh is in Singapo
Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, the president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, and the forum's vice-president Hamza Yusuf meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Singapore's Mufti Fatris Bakaram yesterday. The Shaykh is in Singapore as Muis' Distinguished Visitor. ST PHOTOS: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, the president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, and the forum's vice-president Hamza Yusuf meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Singapore's Mufti Fatris Bakaram yesterday. The Shaykh is in Singapo
Shaykh Abdallah called on President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday morning. He also met Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim on Tuesday.ST PHOTOS: ARIFFIN JAMAR

One of the world's most influential Islamic scholars called on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday at the Istana.

Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, president of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies which is based in the United Arab Emirates, called on Dr Tan in the morning.

They spoke about the importance of social harmony and reaffirmed multiculturalism as a cornerstone of Singapore's multi-religious, multiracial society.

Shaykh Abdallah then met PM Lee in the afternoon, with Singapore's Mufti Fatris Bakaram also present at the meeting.

The Shaykh, who is from Mauritania and is a strong advocate for multiculturalism and inter-faith understanding, is in Singapore as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) Distinguished Visitor.

He will deliver the Muis Lecture today - the highlight of Muis' Distinguished Visitor Programme. This is the fifth time the programme has been held since it started in 2006.

PM Lee said in a Facebook post: "Inter-faith understanding is crucial to maintaining peace and harmony. We enjoy such peace and harmony but we have to keep learning from others, especially when we see so many countries experiencing religious tensions and conflicts."

The Shaykh arrived in Singapore on Monday for a five-day visit.

On Tuesday, he met Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who is also Minister for Communications and Information.

On Wednesday, at a seminar for Islamic religious leaders, he spoke about compassion and human dignity and how they were part of Islamic tradition and thought, Muis said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2017, with the headline 'Eminent Islamic scholar meets key leaders in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe