SINGAPORE: The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) announced on Thursday (Jan 9) the appointment of a new Mufti, who will assume office on Mar 1.
Ustaz Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram will step down after completing his current term of appointment and Ustaz Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir will be appointed the new Mufti, a press statement from MUIS said.
Dr Naziruddin is currently the deputy Mufti.
The appointment is made by the President of Singapore in consultation with the council.
The role of Mufti is significant to the Muslim community in Singapore.
“(It) is a position that is accorded significant respect by Singaporean Muslims, including the Asatizah fraternity, as well as by the religious leaders of other communities, and from around the world,” MUIS said.
“The Mufti sets the tone for the Islamic religious leadership fraternity in Singapore, and plays a vital role in strengthening social cohesion by fostering the community’s integration in the wider multi-religious society.
“As chair of the fatwa committee, Mufti also oversees key religious rulings that guide the Muslim community in Singapore.”
Dr Fatris is stepping down after nine years as Mufti to “give new leaders the opportunity to lead the community”.
During his tenure, Dr Fatris, 49, strengthened the Office of The Mufti as well as the development of religious teachers, officers and scholars in Singapore, MUIS said.
He led the development of many religious policies, it added.
“His forethought also includes guiding the younger associate members of the fatwa committee (and) developing the Asatizah Recognition Scheme.”
He currently serves as a member of the appeal board for Syariah Court in Singapore, and is a member of the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony.
Dr Fatris will continue to serve as a senior associate member of the fatwa committee and chair the Quran steering committee, MUIS said.
As an elder, he will continue to mentor and guide the new team as well as younger members of the asatizah fraternity in Singapore, it added.
MUIS said Dr Nazirudin, 43, has “extensive experience in the Office of Mufti, and has made significant contributions in supporting Mufti to advance religious policies”.
As the deputy Mufti, he directly supports the Mufti in providing guidance for the Muslim community’s religious life.
On his appointment, Dr Nazirudin said: “I am deeply humbled to accept this responsibility, and pledge to further advance the good work of my predecessors. I consider myself blessed to have benefited from the guidance of Dr Fatris for more than 10 years.
“I will be working very closely with a strong team in the Office of the Mufti to serve the Singapore Muslim community and the wider society in achieving greater progress and social cohesion.”
Dr Nazirudin will be supported by two deputy Muftis, Ustaz Mohd Murat Md Aris and Ustaz Dr Mohammad Hannan Hassan.
Ustaz Murat will oversee religious policies and Ustaz Dr Hannan will oversee asatizah development and madrasah curriculum, MUIS said.
In a Facebook post, President Halimah Yacob said she is confident that Dr Nazirudin will continue to lead the Muslim community well in the following years.
"Dr Nazirudin’s current role as the deputy Mufti of Singapore and his many years within MUIS stands him in good stead to take on the role of Mufti," she said.
Mdm Halimah added that Dr Nazirudin has supported the Mufti well "in advancing religious policies, as well as rallying and uplifting the Muslim community".
"His work in inter-religious studies and experience speaking at numerous interfaith events will also be key in fostering greater understanding and cohesion within our diverse society," she said.
Mdm Halimah also thanked Dr Fatris "for his selfless dedication and guidance to the Muslim community".
She highlighted that Dr Fatris "strengthened the ecosystem of support for the community’s socio-religious needs and championed the development and upgrading of our religious scholars and teachers".
"I am glad that Dr Fatris will continue to contribute to important committees and mentor our younger religious leaders."