First woman appointed head of interfaith hub Harmony Centre

Ustazah Liyana Rosli Asmara has been with the centre for four years and was its former manager. PHOTO: ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The Harmony Centre will get its first woman leader next month, when Ustazah Liyana Rosli Asmara takes over the interfaith hub at An-Nahdhah Mosque in Bishan.

She will be taking over from Ustaz Mohamed Ali Atan as head of the Harmony Centre, which was first launched in 2006 as an initiative by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).

At a virtual interfaith Hari Raya celebration on Wednesday (June 17), Ustazah Liyana symbolically took over from Ustaz Ali in front of representatives from various faith communities, including the Young Sikh Association, Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Singapore Buddhist Federation.

Ustazah Liyana has been with the centre for almost eight years, and its manager for the past four years. She will be the fifth head of the centre.

The former educator said she was grateful for the opportunity to lead the centre, which promotes greater understanding and engagement between different faiths.

"I hope to continue the good work done by the Harmony Centre with faith communities, as we work to address the ever-changing needs of our communities to strengthen inter-religious relations," she said.

She added: "I hope to also expand the platform to encourage more women to play a more critical role in interfaith understanding and shaping the religious life of our community."

Mr Esa Masood, the chief executive of Muis, said her appointment came at an opportune moment.

He said the centre had been re-examining its role with regards to social cohesion in Singapore, adding that online activities to promote interfaith dialogue would be the way to go moving forward.

"The online space will be our new frontier... we must actively win the hearts and minds of our communities and bring them together in mutual understanding," he said.

When Ustaz Ali steps down next month, he will join Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir and Deputy Mufti Mohamed Hannan Hassan on a new panel spearheaded by Muis and made up of Muslim leaders.

The panel will provide advice and promote greater interfaith engagement, acting as representatives of the Muslim community for social cohesion.

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