SINGAPORE - The apology by an imam who allegedly made remarks against Christians and Jews is a "positive move" that ought to be taken into consideration, said Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob on Sunday (April 2).
Speaking on the sidelines of a community event in Marsiling, Madam Halimah said: "He apologised, he gathered together all the people from different faiths, and it was a great initiative on his part."
Saying he was "filled with great remorse", Imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel made the apology at the Harmony in Diversity Gallery at Maxwell Road on Friday (March 31). Present that day were Christian, Sikh, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu representatives, and also members of the Federation of Indian Muslims.
"I think the most important (thing) is, he realised what he did was a mistake," added Madam Halimah. "Probably, he didn't know, or quite understand the context of Singapore society... he also realised that what he had lifted from his hometown in India may not be so applicable here."
In making his apology last Friday, the imam also clarified that the additional supplication he read, "God help us against Jews and Christians", was not from the Quran, but an old Arabic text originating from his village in India.
On Sunday morning, he also visited the Maghain Aboth Synagogue on Waterloo Street to apologise for his remarks.
Accompanied by leaders from several faith groups, he met Rabbi Mordechai Abergel and several members of the Jewish community to convey his apologies.
Early last month, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said religious preaching that encourages violence or pits one religion against another will not be tolerated in Singapore.
The police have since completed their investigations on the matter and have submitted a report to the Attorney-General's Chambers, Mr Shanmugam said on Saturday.