SINGAPORE: There will be several initiatives this year to help Muslims fulfil their religious obligations during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, including a "live" takbir broadcast on social media platforms - a first for Singapore.
Traditionally on the eve of Hari Raya, Muslims will gather at mosques after the breaking of fast, for communal prayer calls known as takbir. However, this will not be possible this year as mosques are closed as part of COVID-19 "circuit breaker" measures.
The online takbir will be broadcast on the eve via YouTube Live on SalamSG TV, Facebook Live on the page of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), as well as on the Facebook pages of mosques.
On the morning of Hari Raya, the takbir and the Mufti's special sermon will also be broadcast on these online platforms.
They will not be televised, as Singapore's free-to-air television code "does not allow for religious content in order to maintain a secular public broadcast service in our multi-religious society", said the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) on Thursday (May 21).
READ: Muslims should avoid Hari Raya visits due to COVID-19 restrictions, religious activities to move online: MUIS
MCI said it had received feedback requesting that the takbir and special sermon be made more widely accessible, including on free-to-air television.
"The Government has been working with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) to support the Muslim community’s religious needs through other channels," said MCI.
This year, Warna 94.2FM will broadcast the takbir and Mufti’s sermon “live” for the benefit of those who are unable to access the content through the Internet.
MCI noted that the radio station has also added 10 minutes to its existing one hour of daily religious programming since the closure of mosques. This will continue until the mosques fully reopen. SalamSG TV will also continue to provide relevant content online.
READ: COVID-19: Haj plans for Singapore pilgrims deferred to protect their health and safety, says MUIS
To bring the nation together to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri with the Muslim community, MCI said it is collaborating with Mediacorp on special Hari Raya eve programmes that will be shown on Channel 5 and Suria on Saturday.
On Channel 5, the 30-minute programme which starts at 9.30pm will include messages from President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as well as various performances.
Suria's annual Hari Raya programme will be a two hour music and variety show starting at 8.15pm. It will feature local singers such as Taufik Batisah, Wann and Hanafie Warren, performing from their own homes.
The Suria programme will re-telecast on Sunday at 11am.