The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) has reminded the community to seek religious instruction and guidance from local religious teachers, who are registered under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS), and are guided by the Code of Ethics of the ARS.
The organisation further urged the community to continue playing its part to refer family members and friends who need guidance after the arrest of Mohamed Faishal bin Mohd Razali, a self-radicalised Singaporean, who was recently detained under Singapore's Internal Security Act.
"While the Singapore Muslim community rejects the ideology of exclusivism and extremism, we need families, friends and the wider community to remain vigilant and seek help from relevant authorities and agencies when in doubt," Muis said in a statement.
Muis Senior Director, Religious Policy and Development, Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, said: “Exclusivist and extremist teachings, including propaganda videos by known terror groups that attempt to extol the virtues of violence by conflating it with jihad, are available online. That is why we must continue to protect our community by building in them religious and spiritual resilience through the correct and contextual appreciation of Islam and its teachings. This is the role that our accredited asatizah (religious teachers) play in guiding Muslims in their socioreligious life so that each Muslim embraces the compassionate and peaceful spirit of Islam and is well-equipped to immediately reject any form of extremist ideology.
“Families and friends must be vigilant, show support and help connect their loved ones to avenues where questions about religion and Islam will be answered by credible and trained asatizah.”
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) is working through the Asatizah Youth Network (AYN) to combat extremist ideologies that propagate online. As announced in the 2018 Committee of Supply (COS) debate earlier this year, Muis will grow AYN membership over the next five years, conduct drop-in sessions for youths at Masjid Al-Falah and continue training asatizah in digital media engagements and youth counselling.
A member of the AYN, Executive Imam and Head of Islamic Learning at Masjid Muhajirin, Ustaz Mohammad Khalid Rafi, said: “Religion has been exploited to justify violence and destruction with no regard to the sanctity of life. Islam calls for the pursuit of peace and that should be our priority as Muslims. Let us not be misguided by disinformation promoted by such propaganda of hate.
Drop-in sessions are available at Masjid Al-Falah, where individuals can ask about exclusivism and armed conflict. Trained asatizah offer counselling and will enhance their online presence to offer support and guidance to Singapore youth on social media. Book consultation sessions at Masjid Al-Falah at +65 6235 3172.
The Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) is also ready to help and can be contacted at 1800-7747747 as well as via the RRG Mobile App.
The community can also approach Muis at +65 6359 1199.