An Indian imam was fined and deported from Singapore after he was found guilty of inciting Muslims against Jews and Christians.
Imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel, the Chief Imam of Chinatown’s Jamae Chulia mosque, was fined Singaporean dollars 4000 (approximately Rs.1.85 lakh) for his remarks during a Friday sermon at a mosque sometime on January 6.
The imam was captured on video in which he is seen reciting a prayer in Arabic: “God help us defeat Jews and Christians”. The video went viral in February.
The Singaporean Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told the media that the imam has apologized and paid the fine. The imam accepted that what he said was not from the Quran.
“Any religious leader from any religion who makes such statements will be held accountable for their actions. Under Singapore law, we cannot, regardless of his religion, allow anyone to preach or act divisively and justify that by reference to a religious text.”
The 46-year-old imam, who is from Tamil Nadu, submitted a written apology to Rabbi Moderchai Abergel at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue on Sunday morning.
Before his meeting with the Rabbi, Nalla had met Christian, Sikh, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu representatives, and members of the Federation of Indian Muslims, to apologize.
— Channel NewsAsia (@ChannelNewsAsia) March 31, 2017
And it is this apology that is actually very disturbing for India.
He is heard saying:
“I had recited the additional supplication in Arabic, which was taken from an old text that originated from my village in India.”
Nalla’s admission hints that such hateful words are normal in India and it is, perhaps, used by some Muslims against the Jews and Christians.
Hate speeches are very common in India and are used with impunity by everyone from religious leaders to politicians. But a call to “defeat” the members of other faiths during a religious prayer is very dangerous, especially when such calls are being made regularly across the world, including from mosques in the United Kingdom.
That such words are Arabic in origin and are being taught to a section of the Muslim community is worrisome. The reason is that Saudi Arabia, and most other Arabic nations, follow the most conservative Islamic school of thought called Wahhabism. And Wahhabism, also known as Salafism, is what gives birth to terrorists. Almost every Muslim terrorist in the world is a Salafi.
The Singaporean government also reportedly warned a Muslim Singaporean who supported the imam’s comment and another who uploaded it on Facebook.
The imam’s lawyer claimed that his client has learned a lesson and is grateful that he was not sentenced to prison. But many on social media were not pleased with either the apology or the fact that imams in other countries continue to spew venom in the name of religion.
In fact, Singaporeans demanded that he be deported to India.
Singapore takes law and its multi-cultural and multi-religious ethos very seriously. In 2009 the country sentenced a Christian couple to prison for spreading negative information about Islam.
The tiny island nation lives in a region where radicalism is on the rise. Neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia are already falling prey to the Salafi fundamentalist version of Islam. Islamic State has been targeting both the countries as well as Philippines.