Extremist preacher barred from teaching Islam in Singapore; nine of his books banned

The Ministry of Communications and Information has banned nine books by Singaporean Rasul Dahri for containing "extremist religious views which include denigrating remarks of other religious groups".
The Ministry of Communications and Information has banned nine books by Singaporean Rasul Dahri for containing "extremist religious views which include denigrating remarks of other religious groups".PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An extremist preacher has been barred from teaching Islam in Singapore, and nine publications he authored have been banned.

Singaporean Rasul Dahri made statements in videos and books that were "exclusivist in nature and dangerous in that they promote enmity, strife and potentially violence not only towards Muslims but also other religious communities and the state," the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said in a statement on Tuesday (June 20).

The action against Mr Rasul comes amid calls by religious and political leaders for Singaporeans to be wary of extremist teachings and ideology after recent arrests of Singaporeans for terrorism-related offences.

Muis denounced Mr Rasul's teachings saying they are "totally unsuited for Singapore's multi-cultural society and may lead to extremism in religious thought and practice".

It urged Muslims to beware of "problematic teachings", adding that they do not in any way represent the views of Muslims in Singapore.

Mr Rasul, who is said to have taught the Singapore leader of terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah, opposes democracy and advocates for the establishment of an Islamic state.

Muis said he claims democracy, one of the fundamental governing principles of Singapore, is not part of Islam.

He also advocated for Islamic extremism, calling on Muslims to establish an Islamic state through armed struggle, or jihad, and Islamic call, or da'wah, and denigrated Jews by "labelling them as people who accept terrorism as part of their culture".

In addition, said Muis, Mr Rasul "also persistently denounced established religious rituals practised by Muslim scholars worldwide and declared those who practise it as deviating from his own mistaken view of what is 'the real Islam'".

It added that this was why his application to be a religious leader here, under the mandatory Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS), was rejected.

Nine of his books that are banned contain extremist religious views that denigrate other religious.

The Ministry of Communications and Information said Mr Rasul's books are prohibited under the Undesirable Publications Act.

This means it is an offence to distribute and own the books, and people who have copies must hand them over to the police. Those found guilty can be fined, imprisoned or both.

Malaysia's National Fatwa Council and the Pahang Islamic Religious Department had also banned seven of Mr Rasul's books in the past.

Malay-language daily Berita Harian reported that he was arrested in Malaysia last year for the third time.

He was said to be active in the Klang Valley and Johor for several years, and Mas Selamat Kastari, who headed the Singapore cell of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network, was reported to have attended his classes in Johor between 1987 and 1989.

Minister for Information and Communications Yaacob Ibrahim said in a statement that Mr Rasul has, through his radical teachings, betrayed the values of multi-culturalism and multi-racialism that are key to Singapore society.

"We will not allow his radical teachings and his extremist ideology to take root in Singapore. We will do whatever we can, with security agencies as well as community organisations such as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore to safeguard our community against extremism," said Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli warned that such extreme and exclusive and views would "inevitably sow divisions and disharmony in our country".

He added that the recent arrests of radicalised individuals in Singapore drive home the importance of the Muslim community watching out for each other.

"We cannot allow strident or extreme teachings of Islam to take root here. To my Muslim brothers and sisters, I must emphasise the importance of seeking Islamic knowledge from the right sources and have confidence in the guidance by our Mufti and Muis," he said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday said two Singaporean auxiliary police officers have been arrested for terrorism-related offences under the Internal Security Act (ISA). A week ago a 22-year-old infant care assistant became the first Singaporean woman to be detained for radicalism.

Muis reminded Muslims in Singapore to seek religious education from accredited teachers.

Since the start of this year, all Islamic teachers who want to teach in Singapore must be endorsed by the ARS. Those who fail to get accredited and still teach may face penalties.

Muis encouraged people who encounter individuals teaching and preaching ideas like Mr Rasul's to report them to Muis at 6359 1199 or the Asatizah Recognition Board at 6604 8568.

The list of banned books by Mr Rasul are:

1. Setiap Bid'ah Menyesatkan

Publisher: Perniagaan Jahabersa, Taman Kempas, Johor Bahru, 1997

2. Hukum Mengenai Rokok & Mencukur Janggut

Publisher: Perniagaan Jahabersa, Taman Kempas, Johor Bahru, 1997

3. Salah Faham Dr. Harun Din Dalam Persoalan: Bid'ah & Percanggahannya (Edisi Baru)

Publisher: Perniagaan Jahabersa, Taman Kempas, Johor Bahru, 1998

4. Siri 1: Bahaya Tariqat Sufi / Tasawuf Terhadap Masyarakat

Publisher: Perniagaan Jahabersa, Taman Kempas, Johor Bahru, 1998

5. Siri 2: Imam Syafie (Rahimahullah) Mengharamkan Kenduri Arwah, Tahlilan, Yasinan dan Selamatan

Publisher: Perniagaan Jahabersa, Taman Kempas, Johor Bahru, 2001

6. Siri 5: Kebatilan dan Kemungkaran Berzanji & Perayaan Maulid Nabi (Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wa-Sallam)

Publisher: Perniagaan Jahabersa, Taman Kempas, Johor Bahru, 2001

7. Siri 7: Amalan-amalan Bid'ah Pada Bulan Sya'ban

Publisher: Perniagaan Jahabersa, Taman Kempas, Johor Bahru, 2002

8. Tauhid Hakimiyah & Khawarij: Punca Demonstrasi, Pemberontakan, Pecah-belah dan Pengkafiran

Publisher: Syarikat Ummul Qura Enterprise, Majidi Baru, Johor Bahru, 2012

9. Demokrasi, Pilihanraya & Mengundi: Satu Kajian Menurut Al-Quran & AsSunnah

Publisher: Syarikat Ummul Qura Enterprise, Majidi Baru, Johor Bahru, 2013