This will perhaps be one of my shortest entries to date but I think it’s an important one at that.
Just the other day when I attended a talk by Dr Marancci at National University of Singapore in conjunction with the Islamic Awareness Week, he had quoted several politicians who had sidelined Islam as somewhat an obstacle towards progression.
Amongst all the politicians, it also included Singapore’s very own, MM Lee. Together with him being quoted were President Sarkozy of France, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Such discontent expressed by the European politicians clearly indicated that there was a major discourse in religious understanding in how these politicians have interpreted Islam as a religion.
The same could perhaps be said of what has happened in Singapore to MM Lee. His knowledge and understanding of Islam clearly minimal and for him to be bold enough to speak of such sensitivities of ‘seditious’ content and probably get away with it is not something that we should all look up to.
It will set a precedence for religious discourse in Singapore and affect the stability of the region and possibly internationally.
Clearly what we need everywhere around the world is an open and publicly accessible platform where religious scholars are allowed to be engaged in critical discussion.
Discussion of religious faiths is important to help individuals or groups of the society have better understanding of another. It is also a platform whereby doubts can be cleared without prejudice in a fair and just manner.
The reason it’s critically important for us in Singapore to have it is because with globalization, diversity in opinions grow and more enclaves will begin to grow out of it as well and thus, such a platform will help to put everyone on an almost equal level of understanding.
Here’s a piece of what I’d love to see happening in Singapore.
Prof Tariq Ramadan who has been in Singapore twice to my knowledge engaging in a debate/ discussion on Islam.