Singapore barred the entry of Indonesian preacher Abdul Somad Batubara on May 16, 2022.
Along with six people who were travelling with him, the preacher was denied entry at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and sent back to Batam.
Following the denial of entry, threats were made against Singapore which included mentions of 9/11, said Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on May 23.
Minister Shanmugam told reporters that one example of a threat was posted on Instagram, calling Singapore and “Islamophobic country” and even threatened to attack Singapore “like 9/11 in New York 2001”.
The comment, which has since been removed, read: “Dear you the leaders of Singapore, the Islamophobic countries, we are waiting 2x 24 hours to apologize to the Indonesian people and Muslims… If you ignore our warning, then we will not hesitate to expel the ambassador of your country. We will send Islamic defender troops… to attack your country like 9/11 in New York 2001. And we will also expel Singaporeans who pretend to transit and live in Indonesia.”
“Parallels are being drawn with 9/11, parallels are being drawn with Singaporeans being led by non-Islamic leaders and that Singapore should be attacked, Singaporean interests should be attacked,” he told reporters.
Why was he denied entry?
According to a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Somad has been known to preach extremist and segregationist teachings, which are unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.
It added that he has preached that suicide bombings are legitimate in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and are considered “martyrdom” operations. He has also made comments denigrating members of other faith communities, such as Christians, by describing the Christian crucifix as the dwelling place of an “infidel jinn (spirit/demon)”. In addition, Somad has publicly referred to non-Muslims as “kafirs” (infidels).
Such teachings obviously have no space in multi-religious and multi-racial Singapore.
Over at the comments section at The Straits Times and CNA’s Facebook posts on this story, netizens reacted to the threats with comments ranging from incredulity to the patriotic.
Is it an open house now?
Are we right or are we right?
To defend our land.
Multiculturalism is key for Singapore and our founding fathers have made it a point to uphold this, forever reminding Singaporeans of this in our Pledge.
The Government will always be on the alert on potential threats that aim to jeopardise our social fabric. In fact, such denial of entry is nothing new.
Minister Shanmugam cited examples of American preacher Lou Engle, who made anti-Muslim comments. He’s banned from preaching in Singapore.
“We will not allow persons like Somad any opportunity to build up a local following, or engage in activities that threaten our security and communal harmony,” he told reporters.
Minister Shanmugam also took time to thank the Indonesia government’s handling of this affair.
“(The Indonesian government) accepts that it is for Singapore to decide who can come into Singapore, it’s absolutely right just like it is for Indonesia to decide who can go into Indonesia,” he said.
Cover photo credit: CNA’s Facebook page.