Two new members join panel overseeing Islamic teachers

Ustaz Ziyaudeen Ahmed Sirajuddeen (left) and Ustaz Mokson Mahori.
Ustaz Ziyaudeen Ahmed Sirajuddeen (left) and Ustaz Mokson Mahori.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Two new members have been appointed to the Asatizah Recognition Board, which oversees a scheme to endorse qualified Islamic teachers in Singapore.

The move to beef up the board comes after the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) was made mandatory at the start of this year.

Board chairman Ali Mohamed said the board, which approves applications under the scheme, now has a heavier responsibility.

"All systems must be strengthened. The process of verifying each application needs to be detailed, and any complaints from the public must be investigated carefully and fairly," he said at yesterday's appointment ceremony.

Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) chief executive Abdul Razak Maricar said the new appointments will ensure the board's diversity.

The duo bring with them unique experiences and can reach out to different segments of society.

The two new members are Ustaz Mokson Mahori, the vice-principal of Madrasah Aljunied, and Ustaz Ziyaudeen Ahmed Sirajuddeen, a mosque religious officer at Darul Makmur Mosque.

Mr Mokson, 64, has been with Madrasah Aljunied for about three decades, and is well-acquainted with Singapore's madrasah system.

Mr Ziyaudeen, who also solemnises marriages for the Indian Muslim community, is the board's youngest member at 34.

Speaking at the appointment ceremony, Mr Abdul Razak said: "This sends an important signal - to both religious teachers and the wider Muslim community - on how the diversity of religious views is no obstacle to working together for the good of society.

"It's crucial that the board continues to be seen as being neutral, fair and transparent in all its deliberations to ensure the confidence and support of the general public."

The 12 members on the board, which was formed in 2005, comprise veteran religious teachers from different backgrounds, who have studied in countries ranging from Egypt to nearby Malaysia and who are experts in diverse fields, from Islamic law to strategic studies.

The ceremony was attended by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, Mufti Fatris Bakaram as well as his predecessor Shaikh Syed Isa Semait.

In all, about 2,500 - or more than 80 per cent - of those providing Islamic instruction, including reading the Quran, have been certified under the ARS.

Ustaz Ali said applications and requests for information are still coming in.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'Two new members join panel overseeing Islamic teachers'. Print Edition | Subscribe