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MUIS issues religious advice to Singapore Muslim community following news of 377A repeal

“As Muslims, we should treat everyone with full dignity and respect,” says the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS).

MUIS issues religious advice to Singapore Muslim community following news of 377A repeal

Exterior of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) building. (Photo: Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura)

SINGAPORE: The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) on Monday (Aug 22) issued religious advice to the Singapore Muslim community after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Section 377A of the Penal Code will be repealed.

Mr Lee made the announcement in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday. The repeal of 377A will in effect revoke a colonial-era law that criminalises sex between men.

The Government will also amend the Constitution to protect the definition of marriage – currently recognised by law as taking place between one man and one woman – from being challenged constitutionally in the courts, Mr Lee said.

In its media release, MUIS said Islamic law places importance on human dignity, respect and peaceful relations. 

"These values are crucial as we navigate complex socio-religious issues today. As Muslims, we should treat everyone with full dignity and respect. Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientations, must feel safe in our society and institutions.

"As such, Muslims should uphold the best of character, charity and compassion, in dealing with others, even with whom we disagree," it said, adding that it rejects any form of bullying or harassment.

MUIS said the best way to preserve the religious practices and way of life of the Muslim community in Singapore was to actively educate Muslims with values and principles. All members of the community, particularly the young, should also be engaged and empowered to navigate current issues.

"We need to strike the right balance in ensuring we continue to hold on tight to our religion yet remain compassionate in our dealings towards others," it added. 

Regarding those who profess the Muslim faith but face their own struggles with privately reconciling this with their sexuality, MUIS said such individuals deserve respect and should not be condemned or vilified. 

The council also said that it recognises a need to develop and enhance the capabilities of religious teachers and counsellors. In particular, how the values and teachings of Islam could be "sensitively imparted" to such individuals while keeping their dignity intact and respecting their confidentiality. 


MUIS welcomed efforts to strengthen the institution of marriage between male and female in Singapore.

This is in accordance with the teachings of Islam which emphasises the building of families through marriage between males and females as the basic foundation of society. Islam also forbids all other forms of sexual relationships and unions.

"We have also called on the Government to consider our position as it deliberates on laws that are appropriate for Singapore in preserving and strengthening the institution of marriage," said the council.

MUIS added that some individuals within the Muslim community may profess the Islamic faith but self-identify on matters of sexuality and gender in other ways. There have also been attempts to reinterpret religious texts to find a religious basis for their choices.

The council noted that these developments pose a challenge to the traditional Muslim position on family, marriage, and sexuality, and that the Muslim community is concerned over the long-term impact of these developments on its religious values and practices, particularly when Islamic guidelines on sexuality are openly contested. 

"Differences in worldviews and values are to be expected. In Islam, we are taught not to judge or condemn individuals even though they had committed clearly harmful or wrong actions. Our role is to merely offer advice and wise counsel based on the teachings of our faith," it added. 

As the religious authority, MUIS said it will continue to support all efforts to strengthen Islamic values in all religious instruction and curricula for the community.

"This is undoubtedly a great test of our empathy, respect, compassion and principledness in dealing with the teachings of our faith in a complex and more open world. 

"It requires a delicate balance and constant engagement with wisdom and compassion, so that we can co-exist peacefully amidst differences in worldviews and orientations," MUIS said. 


Any form of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) advocacy should respect the values that the Muslim community holds dear in practising its faith, MUIS said.

"The Muslim community has the right to preserve its religious and family values especially when these are directly challenged or disputed."

The public sphere must remain safe for the mainstream and faith communities to educate members of their own communities in accordance with their belief systems and values.

"If our religious values and beliefs are challenged openly and aggressively, this will inevitably transform the public space into one that is confrontational and divisive. 

"We must work towards preventing any differences in orientation and worldview from turning into clashes and conflicts which will weaken our society."

In a separate statement on Monday, the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) said that it was concerned about the Government’s decision to repeal Section 377A, as well as the long-term impact the repeal could have on society. 

The association noted that it supports the Government’s decision to protect the legal definition of marriage by amending the Constitution, and welcomed the Government's assurance to protect the family institution in Singapore.

AMP also urged the Muslim community to remain calm and maintain civility when discussing this issue.


Speaking to CNA on Sunday, Mufti of Singapore Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir said the repeal of 377A is a very complex social issue and a “tough balancing act” for everyone, including the Government and religious groups.

“But even as we hold on to different values, aspirations and orientations, I don't think we should let hate and contempt for differences to win,” he said.

“It's important that, even for religious groups like the Muslim community, our religious values and teachings continue to guide us in all that we do even as the laws change, but our religious values remain the same," he added.

“We hope that those who disagree with our views on homosexuality and marriage can understand why religious groups like the Muslim community will want to preserve and strengthen the institution of marriage, and we are glad that the government has given an indication to do so."

Editor's note: The headline and opening paragraph of this article have been amended to better reflect the wide-ranging points made in the MUIS statement.

Source: CNA/fh(zl)


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