Guidelines for Muslims

GUIDELINES on how Muslim Singaporeans can lead their lives as moderate followers of Islam have been proposed by Pergas, the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association. 

The list, based on the definition of a moderate Muslim, was endorsed on Sunday by most of the 150 members at the end of a two-day convention on moderation in Islam.  

The definition evolved by Pergas, which criticised the Government over the tudung issue, brings it in line with the views of Muis, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. 

A moderate Muslim, in the eyes of Muis president Alami Musa, who opened the meeting, has the self-confidence to stick to Islamic principles and values while coping with current problems. 

That person with an Islamic identity is progressive and able to meet the demands of a modern and competitive state which has people of different races and religions. 

Muslim moderates are also willing to learn about other cultures and welcome a diversity of views which do not go against Islamic principles and values, said Alami. 

Like him, Pergas president Mohamad Hasbi Hassan urged Muslim Singaporeans to be united. He also made it clear that non-Muslims, especially Western scholars and writers criticising Islam, should not set the Islamic agenda. 

The Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, said Pergas vice-president Murat Aris, sparked a series of negative reports on Islam and fanned “Islamphobia”. 

Dialogues to promote a better understanding of the religion, he noted, are one way for the association to reach out to Muslims and other Singaporeans. 

Referring to the impact of negative stereotyping, he said: “Some Muslims here may succumb and be apologetic . . . others may react emotionally and respond by entertaining interpretations of Islam by radical Muslim groups trying to plant seeds of hatred in others. Both approaches, we feel, are not constructive.” 

Details of the proposed guidelines and a resolution passed on Sunday will be published in a booklet. 

The information in the booklet will serve as the basis for Pergas to have dialogues with Muslim and non-Muslim organisations to strengthen mutual understanding. –The Straits Times/Asia News Network 

For another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network, click here.

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