SINGAPORE - The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) will be organising a series of seminars to forge stronger ties with Muslim minority communities around the world, announced Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.
Speaking on Friday (May 21) during his annual Hari Raya get-together, held virtually, Mr Masagos said these seminars will lead up to an international conference that will engage Muslim communities that have made impactful contributions to their nation and wider society.
Tentatively planned for next year, this International Conference on Communities of Success will be organised by Muis.
The series of seminars will start on June 15, the first of which will highlight how Muslim minority communities have adapted their socio-religious life amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The first of these seminars will highlight how Muslim communities have adapted our socio-religious life amidst the Covid-19 pandemic," said Mr Masagos.
"This programme will provide our asatizah (religious teachers) with the opportunities to share their knowledge and views with the international community, about their roles in strengthening religious guidance on contemporary issues faced by Muslim minorities around the world."
In a factsheet, Muis said that about 300 participants, including both local and international religious scholars and leaders, will be invited to attend the half-day seminar on June 15.
"The second seminar will discuss models of peaceful coexistence and equal and impactful contribution of Muslims to the wider society in Islamic history that are exemplary for majority and minority Muslim communities living in contemporary societies," said Muis.
During his speech, Mr Masagos stressed the importance of asatizah being well equipped to provide sound and relevant religious guidance for the community, especially in times of uncertainty.
He said ongoing efforts to nurture and develop competent and future-ready asatizah here are going well.
Such programmes include Muis' Asatizah Workforce Development Plan, which works to enhance career pathways and opportunities for asatizah once they have entered the workforce, as well as the Religious Leadership and Talent Development Programme (RLTD), which seeks to develop Singapore's next generation of religious teachers.
Muis said that under the RLTD, two fireside chats were held with religious and community religious leaders in an informal setting to help high-potential asatizah talent build connections and relationships, as well as gain new perspectives on contemporary socio-religious issues.
In the past few months, 18 individuals with high potential from madrasahs, mosques, Muis and beyond have participated in these informal sessions, and Muis said feedback from the participants has been positive thus far.
The council added that other upcoming initiatives under RLTD include mentoring, where asatizah talent can look forward to being paired with leaders from within the religious sector and other sectors. This will be piloted from the third quarter of this year.
Muis is also planning an annual leadership executive programme next year to provide more opportunities for some asatizah to engage with leaders, political office-holders, policymakers and academics, to deepen their understanding and appreciation of community issues and to co-create solutions.
Said Mr Masagos: "Our asatizah... must be well equipped so that they can provide sound religious guidance in uncertain times, and help build a body of knowledge which lets us face future challenges confidently, as a community of success.