ISLAMIC scholar and senior religious teacher Ustaz Ibrahim Kassim (pic), who played a key role in helping to rehabilitate terrorists, died yesterday. He was 88.
Ustaz Ibrahim was in the pioneer batch of volunteer Islamic scholars who formed the core of the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), which was founded in 2003 to rehabilitate Muslim extremists in Singapore.
He also helped in a big way to develop Singapore’s model of religious rehabilitation from scratch, after the 2001 arrest of Jemaah Islamiyah members here.
At the Whitley Detention Centre, he and other Islamic scholars would meet the detainees and address their misinterpretations of Islamic concepts, like jihad.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid tribute to the community leader in a condolence letter to his daughter Sakina.
Ustaz Ibrahim championed moderate Islam and worked closely with the government and the Muslim community to counter radical Islamic ideologies propagated by extremist terrorists, Lee wrote.
“He made a special effort to attend my dialogue with the Malay/Muslim leaders on the tudung issue in January, even though he was ill,” Lee added.
“I was touched that he subsequently wrote to me to support what I had said about the tudung issue.”
Lee also said he met Ustaz Ibrahim, who “was frail, but in good spirits”, at the pioneer generation tribute party in February.
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said the religious teacher made many contributions, and that he was impressed by his knowledge and humility.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, speaking yesterday at the Al-Khair Mosque in Choa Chu Kang where a prayer session was held before Ustaz Ibrahim was buried, said: “He recognised that the phenomenon (of Islamic extremism) has to be tackled, and if the religious elites do not step forward, then who else is able to?”
Ustaz Ibrahim is survived by four children, nine grandchildren and a great grandson. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network