SINGAPORE: Four foreign publications that contain "undesirable and harmful teachings" have been prohibited in Singapore, announced the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) on Monday (Oct 30).
Published between 2011 and 2016, the materials contain ideas that can "cause social distancing, distrust, hatred and even violence among people of different faiths and religious views", said MCI.
"Such teachings and ideologies are detrimental to the peace and harmony of multi-cultural, multi-religious Singapore.
"The Singapore Government has zero tolerance for individuals or publications which aim to encourage hostility or violence among different religious groups, and has therefore decided to prohibit these publications," added MCI in a media release.
"DANGEROUS" VIEWS THAT PROMOTE "ENMITY, STRIFE": MUIS
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) said that the authors of the four publications presented a binary view of the world – Islam vs the rest of the world as well as Muslims vs non-Muslims.
"The publications advocate problematic religious positions that are extremely exclusivist in nature as well as dangerous because they clearly promote enmity, strife and potentially violence between Muslims and non-Muslims, and attack the modern, democratic nation-state," said MUIS in a media statement on Monday.
"They project a simplistic, inward-looking and skewed understanding of Islam."
MUIS stressed that the contents of the books are contrary to the ethos of the Singaporean Muslim identity, and are “diametrically opposed to the progressive and inclusive religious outlook of the Singapore Muslim community”.
Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, meanwhile, warned that the threat of extremism is real and should not be taken lightly.
"The Government strongly condemns the use of such publications to espouse destructive ideologies and promote enmity between communities. We will not hesitate to take firm actions where necessary," said Dr Yaacob, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.
He added that the Government needs the support of everyone to safeguard Singapore against extremism by staying alert to radical individuals and teachings, and by reporting them to the authorities.
The prohibition of the four publications will take effect on Tuesday (Oct 31).
This means it will be an offence to distribute or to possess any of the publications. Those convicted of the offence could be fined and jailed.
Members of the public who have these materials should hand them to the police, said MCI.
The four banned publications are:
1. Original title: At-Tauhid Li ash-Shaff al-Awwal al-‘Ali, authored by Syaikh Dr. Shalih bin Fauzan bin Abdullah al-Fauzan.
Indonesian translation: Kitab Tauhid 1, translated by Agus Hasan Bashori, Lc. Published by Darul Haq, Jakarta, 2015
2. Original title: Aqidatut Tauhid Kitabut Tauhid lis-Shaff Al-Awwal – Ats-Tsalis Al-Aly, authored by Dr. Shalih bin Fauzan al-Fauzan dan tim Ahli Tauhid.
Indonesian translation: Siri Buku Aqidah Kitab Tauhid, translated by Syahirul Alim Al-Adib, Lc. Published by Ummul Qura, Jakarta Timur, 2016
3. Original title: Al-Wajiz Fi Fiqhis Sunnah Wal Kitabil ‘Aziz, authored by ‘Abdul ‘Azhim bin Badawi al-Khalafi.
Indonesian translation: Al-Wajiz, translated by Ma’ruf Abdul Jalil. Published by Pustaka as-Sunnah, Jakarta, 2011
4. Bimbingan Islam Untuk Hidup Muslim Petunjuk Praktis Menjadi Muslim Seutuhnya Dari Lahir Sampai Mati Berdasarkan Al-Qur’an dan Sunnah Rasulullah, authored by Dr. Ahmad Matta, MA; Dr. Abas Mansur Tamam, MA; Ahmad Syahirul Alim, Lc., M.Pd.I. Published by Maghfirah Pustaka, Jakarta Timur, 2016