American Muslim preacher Yusuf Estes denied entry into Singapore: MHA

American Muslim preacher Yusuf Estes denied entry into Singapore: MHA

Yusuf Estes Wikimedia
File photo of Yusuf Estes. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Manuel25)

SINGAPORE: Singapore has denied entry to American Muslim preacher Yusuf Estes, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) confirmed on Friday (Dec 1).

The preacher was denied entry on Nov 24, and Channel NewsAsia understands he was not allowed to enter the country at Changi Airport.

This comes after two other foreign preachers, Ismail Menk and Haslin Baharim, were banned from entering Singapore in October.

The two had been engaged to preach on a religious-themed cruise departing and ending in Singapore from Nov 25 to 29.

The cruise organisers had also been "seeking views" about Estes as a possible speaker, said MHA.

However Estes has expressed views "contrary to the values of our multi-racial and multi-religious society", said MHA.

It cited examples of Estes' views, including a video in March 2012 in which Estes said it was "not part of Islam to celebrate other people’s holidays” and that it was not in the Muslim faith to wish Christians and Jews a “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” respectively. 

The ministry also pointed out that an article published on Estes' website in 2016 questioned the religious basis for Christmas.

"The article claimed that Christmas was 'from the Solstice celebration, and had been going on for hundreds of years before the time of Jesus'," said MHA. 

"Muslims were advised against 'celebrating something that even the Christians should not be doing', as this will end up in Muslims engaging in 'such offensive acts' towards Allah."

Estes has also made some claims about the falsity of other religions, added MHA, as well as expressing "intolerant views of non-Muslims".

"For example, he said that where a Muslim married a non-Muslim wife, the non-Muslim wife will become 'Shaytan' (i.e. devil) to him, and will use the children against him."

The Government "will not allow religious preachers of any faith to run down other religions or spread ill-will among the various religious communities", the ministry said.

It also gave the example of the Government's rejection of the applications by two Christian preachers to speak in Singapore, "as they had made denigrating and inflammatory comments about other religions, such as Islam and Buddhism".

Such divisive views "breed intolerance and exclusivist practices" that will "damage social harmony, and cause communities to drift apart", it added.

"They are unacceptable in the context of Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.”