SINGAPORE: Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Saturday (Mar 9) that he couldn’t see how black metal band Watain could have been allowed to perform in Singapore due to the band’s anti-Christian song lyrics.
“I saw the lyrics – it’s four-letter words on Jesus Christ, on Christianity, on religion, abusing the cross – everything that is so far out that I can’t see how we could have agreed to it,” said Mr Shanmugam.
The Swedish black metal band was scheduled to perform in Singapore on Thursday evening, but the concert was cancelled that same afternoon by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), following "security concerns" raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
READ: 'Like a stab in the back': Anger, disappointment after Swedish metal band Watain's concert cancelled
“The Christian preachers, when they talk to me, say ‘you are very, very strict when it comes to anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic messages’,” said Mr Shanmugam, who was speaking at the Dadah Itu Haram Appreciation Lunch.
He cited examples of a Danish cartoon and the Satanic Verses book by Salman Rushdie that were banned in Singapore.
“They said: 'What these people are saying is far worse, it is a hundred times worse about Christianity – how come you would allow that?'"
Mr Shanmugam added: “They said: 'You treat the Muslim community differently than the Christian community.' I looked at it and I thought that there is some truth to what they say, I won’t say that it is completely true but it is an approach."
He said that many of these bands come from Christian countries and “so their societies are different”.
“We ban this but that doesn’t mean we ban every single one that talks about Christianity,” Mr Shanmugam added.
‘TREAT OTHERS THE SAME WAY YOU EXPECT TO BE TREATED’
Mr Shanmugam also highlighted a photo going viral on social media of “mainly young Malay men showing the one-finger sign with Watain”.
“It was a post by the Watain band, criticising the Singapore Government, telling us to ‘go fly kite’,” he said.
“The picture is of primarily Malay young men – I think they went to the concert, got angry, they are all showing the one-finger sign.
“In a multi-racial society, they don’t understand that the concert is anti-Christian, it criticises Jesus and Christianity and churches and they talk about burning churches and so on,” said Mr Shanmugam.
“You have a group of Malay young men, showing the one-finger sign, supporting the group. Next time you will have the Christians doing the same thing.”
Mr Shanmugam added: “I think we have to educate our young people about the importance of this ... that you treat others the same way that you are expected to be treated.
“If we had a concert like this about Islam, there is no way we would have allowed it.
"If a group of Chinese went and showed the finger sign and said that we should allow it – how would you all have felt? It is the same.”
The Christian community might not realise that the men in the photo are “a small group of Malays”, said Mr Shanmugam.
“They may think, is this what Muslims think of us?”
“So now we have to send the message that this is not what the Muslim community thinks. These are black metal group supporters, they are not the mainstream community," said Mr Shanmugam.