Indonesian preacher Abdul Somad Batubara, known for 'extremist and segregationist' teachings, denied entry into Singapore: MHA
SINGAPORE: An Indonesian preacher who arrived in Singapore on Monday (May 16) was denied entry and sent back to Batam on the same day, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday night.
Six people who travelled with Abdul Somad Batubara were also not allowed to enter Singapore. All of them, who had arrived at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, were placed on a ferry back to Batam.
Somad has been known to preach "extremist and segregationist" teachings, which are "unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society", the ministry said in a statement.
"For example, Somad has preached that suicide bombings are legitimate in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and are considered 'martyrdom' operations.
"He has also made comments denigrating members of other faith communities, such as Christians, by describing the Christian crucifix as the dwelling place of an 'infidel jinn (spirit/demon)'," said MHA.
Somad has also publicly referred to non-Muslims as “kafirs”, or infidels, added MHA.
The ministry said that each case is assessed on its own merits.
"While Somad had attempted to enter Singapore ostensibly for a social visit, the Singapore Government takes a serious view of any persons who advocate violence and/or espouse extremist and segregationist teachings," said MHA.
Last week, authorities in Singapore banned the release of a Hindi-language film for similar reasons, saying that representations in The Kashmir Files "have the potential to cause enmity between different communities, and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in our multiracial and multi-religious society".
The film was refused classification for its "provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the on-going conflict in Kashmir,” said the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in a joint statement with Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).