Two foreign preachers scheduled for an Islamic cruise banned from entering Singapore

Two foreign preachers scheduled for an Islamic cruise banned from entering Singapore”

Malaysia's Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Tuesday (Oct 31) that the country will not stop two Islamic preachers from speaking in public, following Singapore's move to bar the two men from entering the Republic.

The decision to block Ismail Menk, identified by local media as a Zimbabwean and Haslin bin Baharim as a Malaysian, is the latest move by the Singaporean authorities to put a curb on individuals from spreading divisive views.

Menk had asserted that it is blasphemous and "the biggest sin" for Muslims to wish non-Muslims "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Deepavali".

Mr Menk and Mr Haslin are among several religious leaders engaged by Malaysian company Pelayaran Islamik to speak at a religious-themed cruise departing Singapore on Nov 25 and returning on Nov 29, according to its website.

The decision was taken in consultation with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), Singapore Tourism Board and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. "Singaporeans too, need to play their part, to unequivocally reject and guard against divisive doctrines and preachers who propagate such doctrines, regardless of the faith they represent".

Presumably, the cruise will go on as scheduled, but without the two prohibited preachers.

The company has been promoting the cruise since June on Facebook.

A spokesman for AQ Travel & Tours, one of three tour agencies in Singapore listed on Pelayaran Islamik's website, said it was thecompany's first tour in Singapore, and it would be conducted in English.

Singapore has banned two Muslim foreign preachers from entering the city-state because their views bred intolerance and were a risk to its social harmony, the government said on Monday.

Zahid said during their time in Malaysia, they did not flout any of the country's laws or or spoke anything that can cause conflict and disharmony in the multi-cultural and multi-racial community.

It added: "The Government has a responsibility to safeguard social cohesion and religious harmony in Singapore".

Both men do not possess the necessary accreditation to preach by Singapore's Asatizah Recognition Scheme, said Muis.

Such teachings are "detrimental to our society and way of life, and will undermine the fundamentals of Singapores peace and progress", the ministry added. The scheme requires all Islamic religious teachers to register before they can teach here.

These include those with ideas that are "deeply problematic and very unsuited" to multi-religious Singapore, it said.

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