SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Monday (Mar 26) it stands ready to take "firm action" should there be evidence that a Christian preacher from the United States had made statements to undermine religious harmony in Singapore.
MHA's comments came after an article posted on online publication Rice Media described a speech made by Christian preacher Lou Engle at Singapore Expo earlier this month as threatening "a Christian-Muslim divide" in Singapore.
"MHA is aware of the allegations that Engle had made certain statements, particularly in respect of Islam, during the Kingdom Invasion Conference 2018," the ministry told Channel NewsAsia in response to queries.
"MHA is looking into the matter," it added.
The online article was written by Mr Benjamin Lim, contributing editor of Rice Media, who had attended the mass evangelism conference organised by the local Cornerstone Community Church.
During Mr Engle's sermon to a 2,000-strong crowd, the Christian preacher spoke of “pushing back a new modern Muslim movement”, wrote Mr Lim.
ENGLE TOLD NOT TO UNDERMINE RELIGIOUS HARMONY: MHA
In response to queries, MHA said that Mr Engle was granted a Miscellaneous Work Pass to speak at the conference and that he had been told to "keep clear of controversial subjects and not undermine social, racial and religious harmony in Singapore".
“If there is evidence that Mr Engle had made statements that could undermine religious harmony in Singapore or had mixed religion and politics, we will take firm action," the ministry said.
“MHA will not tolerate any person undermining Singapore’s social, racial and religious harmony,” it added.
Meanwhile, Cornerstone Community Church told Channel NewsAsia it has lodged a police report about the Rice Media article.
"Cornerstone Community Church is committed to providing its fullest assistance and cooperation in respect of the pending investigations," it said in response to queries, adding that it has "no political agenda".
YouTube videos show Mr Engle also spoke at Kingdom Invasion conferences in Singapore in 2016 and 2017.
In September last year, two Christian preachers were barred from speaking in Singapore, with MHA noting they had made “denigrating and inflammatory comments of other religions” and that “the Government will not allow religious preachers of any faith to run down other religions”.
The next month, two foreign Muslim preachers were also prevented from entering Singapore.
In early March this year, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam stressed in Parliament how foreign preachers - across all religions - who are known to spread ill-will towards other religions will not be allowed to speak in Singapore.