Muslim, Christian, LGBT, Humanist, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu sagas in Singapore from 2001 to June 2016

“The government has to remain secular. The government authority comes from the people. The laws are passed by Parliament elected by the people. They do not come from a sacred book. The government has to be neutral, fair. We are not against religion. We uphold sound moral values. We hold the ring so that all groups can practise their faiths freely without colliding with one another in Singapore. And that is the way Singapore has to be.”

– quoted from PM Lee Hsien Loong (2009)

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“As our society develops and becomes more diverse, from time to time religious issues will overlap with social and moral questions..For example, LGBT issues, or dealing with income inequality..religious groups will have their views – and yet they are not just religious issues, because they are also subjects of public or social policy. Also they are contentious issues, where achieving consensus will be elusive..In such an environment..the Government must take a watchful, prudent and hands-on approach. The Government also to be neutral, secular, and pragmatic.”

– quoted from PM Lee Hsien Loong (2015)

[4 interesting reads]

[Timeline of Muslim, Christian, LGBT, Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu sagas in Singapore from 2001 to June 2016]

*Disclaimer* This list is definitely not exhaustive in nature. Feel free to comment or add on if we have missed out on any important sagas.                                                                                                                   

  • Free Community Church (*Unsure which year it started) affirms that all individuals, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, are individuals of sacred worth created in God’s image.
  • 377A (wide time span)

PAP MPs for the repeal of Section 377A

PAP MPs against the repeal of Section 377A

Reform Party politicians’ views on homosexuality

Workers’ Party politicians’ views on homosexuality

Singapore Democratic Party politicians’ views on homosexuality

  • LGBT sagas / matters (2001 – 2012)

The arrests at One Seven and Section 20 (Yawning Bread, Nov 2001)

A sermon from MUIS on homosexuality (Yawning Bread, Aug 2003)

police arrest four men in singapore sauna (Fridae, 28 Apr 2005)

Political apoplexy and police priorities (Yawning Bread, Aug 2006)

Shame on the Police (MrWangsaysso, 18 Aug 2007)

Homophobia Part 2: Under attack from the police (TOC, 3 May 2008)

The Pink Dot Movement (Founded in 2009)

JC students in trouble over toilet video which was filmed secretly, and circulated among friends (Sammy Forum, 8 Aug 2010)

Youtube Page: Homosexuality in Singapore

(2012) Impact of Homophobia and Transphobia on LGBTQ Individuals in Singapore Survey Summary Report May 2012. Oogachaga.

Gay parents in Singapore (fridae.asia, 26 Dec 2012)

  • FB Pages of various religious councils / organisations / statutory boards set up in Singapore

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore set up in 1909.

The Hindu Advisory Board (HAB) and Sikh Advisory Board (SAB) play an advisory role to the Government on matters concerning the religion, customs and general welfare of their respective Hindu and Sikh communities. They were set up in 1917 and 1915 respectively to counsel the colonial government on matters pertaining to the Hindu and Sikh community locally. 

Singapore Buddhist Federation set up in 1949.

Administration of Muslim Law Act 1966 (AMLA) came into operation on 1 July 1968. It provides for a centralised system of administration covering all aspects of Muslim life in Singapore. AMLA also governs the Syariah Court (Islamic Court), as well as the Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) since 1978.4

The Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS, or Islamic Religious Council of Singapore) was constituted under AMLA, and established as a statutory board in 1968 in response to a growing need to centralise the administration of religious practices such as the paying of tithe (zakat) and the yearly pilgrimage (hajj). Through its activities, MUIS also aims to facilitate a broader and deeper understanding of Islam. 

The Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) is a statutory body set up under the Hindu Endowments Act in 1968.

Officially opened in 27 November 1977, and since August 2005, Darul Arqam Singapore has been appointed as the One-Stop Centre for Converts (OSCC) by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS). It continues to carry out education and outreach on Islamic knowledge to Singaporeans who are keen to learn, as well as helping to facilitate and support new converts.

Taoist Federation was founded on 1990.

Sikh Sewaks Singapore (FB Page) – Building knowledgeable, confident and capable youth through Sikh values since 1979.

The Sikh Welfare Council (SIWEC) (FB Page) formulates overall community policies in respect of Sikh Welfare services in Singapore

Young Sikh Association (Singapore)Young Sikh Association (Singapore) was founded in August 2003 to fulfill the aspirations of young Singaporeans.

  • Azan Call sagas (Past, and 2011)
  • Jemaah Islamiyah threat in Singapore (2001- present)

Jemaah Islamiyah’s bomb plot against diplomatic missions in Singapore, 2001/2002 (Infopedia)

Singapore Government Press Statement On ISA Arrests, 11 January 2002 (MHA)

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO MEDIA QUERIES  ON THE ISA ARRESTS (NAS, 18 Jan 2002)

Singapore Government Statement on Further Arrests Under the Internal Security Act, 16 Sep 02 (MHA)

FULL EPISODE (Part 1) – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW With An Ex-JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH by DAUD YUSOF (Malay, with no English subtitles) 2009

FULL EPISODE (Part 2) – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW With An Ex-JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH by DAUD YUSOF (Malay, with no English subtitles) 2009

‘JI men planned to attack Singapore’(AsiaOne, 9 May 2012)

Two senior JI members detained under ISA (AsiaOne, 11 Oct 2012)

The hidden journey of a Singapore JI detainee (ST, 7 Apr 2013): He is among the 64 people detained under the Internal Security Act since January 2002 for their involvement in terror-related activities. Of these 64, more than two-thirds have been released after they were assessed to have been rehabilitated and not pose a security threat.

Terror’s evolving threat to Singapore (AsiaOne, 28 Apr 2015)
  • Abort or not to abort, changes to abortion laws? (1970 – present)
TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY ACT (CHAPTER 324)
Conscientious Objection to Abortion in Singapore: Is the scope of conscience protection too narrow? (ions.blogspot.sg, Dec 20 2016)
Abortion Act is implemented (HistorySG, 29 Mar 1970)
AWARE questions on Abortion 
Time again to review abortion laws (TODAY, 6 Apr 2013)
Choose Life SG FB page was created on 17 Nov 2013. It is”for all who believe that the unborn deserve the right to live and are dedicated to rebuilding a culture of life in Singapore.”
MOH proposes pre-abortion counselling be made mandatory (CNA, 17 Feb 2014)
Parliament: No plans to lower the abortion limit of 24 weeks, says Amy Khor (ST, 8 Oct 2014)
  • Catholic-Muslim relations / bonding in Singapore (2002 – present)

Fellowship, cheer abound in Muslim-Christian celebration (CatholicNews, 6 Jan 2002)

Muslim-Catholic relations in Singapore unaffected: Singapore Muslim leader (CatholicNews, Oct 2006)

Muslim invites Catholic nuns and friends from other religions to break Ramadan fast (CatholicNews, 28 Sept 2008)

Catholics fast with Muslim students on campus (CatholicNews, 27 Sept 2009)

Catholics visit MUIS, learn about Islamic practices (CatholicNews, 13 July 2012)

Archbishop’s message for Hari Raya Aidilfitri (CatholicNews, 26 Aug 2012)

Catholics join Muslims in breaking fast at mosque (CatholicNews, 11 Apr 2013)

Catholics visit mosque, learn about Islam from imam (CatholicNews, 1 June 2014)

Catholic, Muslim students work together to help underprivileged (CatholicNews, 27 July 2014)

Youths visit mosque to understand Muslim beliefs (CatholicNews, 5 Apr 2015)

Mufti of Singapore condemns Lahore attack in letter to Archbishop (CNA, 30 Mar 2016)

  • Laws or community groups to maintain religious harmony in Singapore

Introduced in 1948, The Sedition Act is a Singapore statute which prohibits seditious acts and speech; and the printing, publication, sale, distribution, reproduction and importation of seditious publications. 

The Presidential Council for Minority Rights has its origins in 1970 when it was established as the Presidential Council under the Constitution. In 1973, the Council was renamed to its present name. The Council examines all legislation to ensure that they are not disadvantageous to any racial or religious community as compared to other such communities. Its report on such legislation is presented to Parliament. In addition, the Council also considers matters affecting any racial or religious community that are referred to it by Parliament or the Government.

The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act was passed by Parliament in November 1990 with the aim of maintaining religious harmony and ensuring that religion is not exploited for any political or subversive purpose in Singapore. 

SM Goh Chok Tong unveiled a draft Code on Religious Harmony on 14 Oct 2002 and invited views from the religious groups and community leaders. The document was intended to outline the principles that will help to further strengthen inter-religious confidence in Singapore.

The Declaration on Religious Harmony was developed in 2003 in consultation with the main religious groups in Singapore..affirms the values that have helped to maintain religious harmony in Singapore; and serves as a reminder of the need for continued efforts to develop stronger bonds across religions in Singapore.

Presidential Council for Religious Harmony (PCRH) (2011 – present)Set up under the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA), the Chairman and members are appointed by the President of the Republic of Singapore. The Council gives its advice to the Minister for Home Affairs on matters affecting the maintenance of religious harmony in Singapore which are referred to it by the Minister or by Parliament, and considers and makes recommendations to the President on restraining orders issued under the Act.

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The Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCCs) (formed in 3 March 2002 – present ): Are local-level inter-faith platforms found in every constituency. Leaders from  religious, ethnic and community groups come together to build friendship and trust. IRCC also holds inter-faith and inter-ethnic themed activities, and trained to respond quickly to racial and religious tensions by remaining calm and resilient on the ground during crises. 

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Harmony Centre (2006 – present): is one of the key initiatives of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore’s (MUIS) to bring about a greater understanding of Islam and Muslims amongst the multi-racial and multi-relig.ious society of Singapore.

  • Tudong ban in public schools saga (2002 – 2003)

“..igniting the support of Malaysian opposition groups and lashing at the government policy in foreign media as well as expressing the intent to test the constitutionality of the policy in court, was able to mobilise 3,300 Singaporeans to endorse a petition opposing the government’s “no-tudung” policy….fails to consider the possibility that the strategy employed reflects an attempt to politicise the issue, a motive which is not shared by the vast majority of Muslims here..the majority of Singaporean Muslims, even those who believe that the Tudung is a religious obligation, did not defy school rules all this while.”

– Hui Yew Foong (Encountering Islam The Politics of Religious Identities in Southeast Asia, 2012)

In 2002, four Primary One Malay/Muslim students wore the tudung to school along with their uniforms. This was against the Ministry of Education’s no-headscarf rule for public schools. (Infopedia, 2013)

In 2003, a primary five girl wore a tudung to school at the start of the new school year. She was asked to comply with the school’s no-headscarf rule or face suspension. (Infopedia, 2013)

“Sikh boys can wear turbans under a decree dating from Singapore’s days as a British colony.” (Singapore Window, 14 Feb 2012)

Should Singapore allow religious dress in schools? (BBC News, 11 Feb 2002)

TUDUNG CONNOT BE COMPARED TO TURBAN (SDP, 5 Mar 2002)

Singapore – The tudung affair (Singapore Window, 27 Mar 2002)

Little Hijabis: To Wear Or Not To Wear? (Musliminah, 4 Nov 2013)

In 2002, Chee Soon Juan was fined for speaking up on Tudung Issue (TOC, 5 May 2016)

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Image credit: Facebook page of RRG
  • Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) (2003 – present): In 2003, the Singapore Government founded the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) to provide religious counselling for detainees and their families linked to JI. There are only six countries with structured rehabilitation programmes for terror detainees. The others are Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Oman, said terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna in 2015.

Useful FAQs on misinterpretation of Quran verses (“Understand” category)

CO06004 | Community-Based Initiatives Against JI By Singapore’s Muslim Community (RSIS, 16 Jan 2006)

Religious Rehabilitation Group ‘invaluable’ in maintaining harmony: PM Lee (TODAY, 20 Aug 2014)

Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the International Conference on Terrorist Rehabilitation and Community Resilience (PMO)

CO15118 | Religious Rehabilitation Group: Female Volunteers Ten Years On (RSiS, 15 May 2015)

SINGAPORE Religious rehabilitation, social integration key to counter-terrorism efforts: Experts (CNA, 16 Apr 2015)

New helpline, manual to help counter ISIS threat in Singapore (ST, 9 Jun 2015)

DPM Teo launches Religious Rehabilitation Group Helpline at RRG Iftar (MHA, 29 Jun 2015)

Helpline to prevent religious radicalisation launched (CNA, 29 Jun 2015)

MFA Press Release: Speech by SMS (Defence and Foreign Affairs) Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman at the UniSIM Centre for Applied Research Panel on Counterterrorism – ISIS and Its Impact on Southeast Asian Politics, 11 May 2016

The 12th Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) Retreat – Speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law (MHA, 31 May 2016)

Religious Rehabilitation Group launches mobile application to combat radicalisation (ST, 31 May 2016)

Religious Rehabilitation Group helps safeguard Muslim community: Shanmugam (TODAY, 1 Jun 2016)

Religious doubts? Use app for private chat with counsellors (ST, 1 Jun 2016)

In December 2005, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), in collaboration with the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas), launched the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS). The scheme’s key objective is to oversee the professional conduct of all asatizah in performing their roles as religious teachers, scholars, propagators and advisors on Islam.

  • NKF/Ren Ci saga (2004-2009)

The NKF: Controversially ahead of its time? (noctalis, 19 Apr 2004)

NKF financial scandal 2005 (Infopedia, 2013)

Ex-NKF chairman Richard Yong sentenced to 15 months’ jail (AsiaOne, 18 Sept 2007)

Ren Ci under probe for financial discrepancies (AsiaOne, 8 Nov 2007)

Ex-NKF director Matilda Chua appeals against conviction (AsiaOne, 11 Dec 2007)

10 Charges against Ming Yi (AsiaOne, 16 July 2008)

Ming Yi and ex-aide found guilty (AsiaOne, 8 Oct 2009)

Ren Ci brings back charity show to close deficit (AsiaOne, 29 Dec 2009)

A 50-year flashback: Scandal rocks nation (AsiaOne, 11 Aug 2015)

  • Religious speech / print sagas (2005-2016)

Just 17, hate blogger charged – He claimed he wanted to blow up Muslim holy sites and wrote that “the Malays must be eliminated before it is too late”. (Today Weekend, 17 Sept 2005)

Singapore Christian couple convicted for anti-Muslim booklets (AsiaOne, 29 May 2009)

ISD calls up pastor for insensitive comments (AsiaOne, 9 Feb 2010)

NUS student group says ‘sorry’ for poster’s ‘disrespectful and insensitive’ remarks (YahooNews, 17 Feb 2012)

Mothership.sg list of Amos Yee articles (2015-2016)

‘Unoffended’ Christian citizen posts bail for Amos Yee (TODAY, 21 Apr 2015)

Blogger Amos Yee arrested again (ST, 13 May 2016)

  • Inter-faith relations in Singapore (ever-present)
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Image credit: FB page of IRO

Inter-religious Organization (IRO) Singapore: had its beginnings as the Inter-Religious Organisation of Singapore and Johor Bahru which was officially launched on 18 March 1949. It was renamed the Inter-Religious Organisation of Singapore in 1961. When Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui, a well known Muslim missionary, visited Singapore in 1949, an inter-faith reception for him sparked the idea for an inter-faith organisation. 

Singapore religious leaders remember first interfaith prayer gathering at Assisi (CatholicNews, Nov 2006)

Inter-faith dialogue builds relationships, says PM Lee (CatholicNews, Jan 2007)

Interfaith forum on HIV/AIDs (CatholicNews, 15 Dec 2011)

Members of various faiths break fast with Muslim friends (CatholicNews, 12 Aug 2012)

Young and passionate about inter-faith work (ST, 3 Jan 2014)

Interfaith gathering held at Church of St Ignatius (CatholicNews, 26 Jan 2014)

Catholics learn about Bahá’í faith through inter religious visit (CatholicNews, 26 Jan 2014)

Various religions play sports in Harmony Games (CatholicNews, 18 May 2014)

Christmas joy shared at interfaith gathering (CatholicNews, 11 Jan 2015)

Joy, camaraderie at interfaith Christmas gathering (CatholicNews, 10 Jan 2016)

Religious heads work to build trust, maintain harmony (ST, 2o Jan 2016)

Religious leaders call for more inter-faith dialogues (ST, 21 Jan 2016)

Religious groups need ‘frequent and frank’ discussions: Maliki (CNA, 18 Jun 2016)

  • Religious concerns over opening of Casino in Singapore (2004 – 2012)

Catholic Church against Casino in Singapore (SingaporeWindow, 7 Sept 2004)

National Council of Churches of Singapore Official Statement (Casinos)                                           

Managing the Sin in Singapore’s Casinos (LKYSPP, 2014)                                                                                 

Dicing with vice (economist, 21 Apr 2005)

STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG ON INTEGRATED RESORT  (18 Apr 2015)                                                                                                              

SPEECH BY MINISTER-IN-CHARGE OF MUSLIM AFFAIRS, DR YAACOB IBRAHIM, ON INTEGRATED RESORT (18 APR 2005)

  • DBS-LGBT-AWARE saga (2008)

LGBTs protest Singapore bank’s charity drive for anti-gay Focus on the Family (fridge, 28 Nov 2008)

Educating DBS (YawningBread, 6 Dec 2008)

DBS ad back with name of ‘anti-gay’ charity (26 Dec 2008)

Aware chief falls foul of employer DBS (17 Apr 2009)

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Image credit: AWARE’s FB page
  • AWARE Saga (2009)

Chronology of AWARE Saga (AWARE, 7 May 2009)

The AWARE Saga (SGLGBTmedia, 2014)

Straits Times: Why we covered Aware saga the way we did (ngejay, 31 May 2009)

AWARE new President Ms Josie Lau first interview – Part 1

AWARE new President Ms Josie Lau first interview – Part 2

The AWARE saga

*Appearing between 5:52 – 6:42 of the (BELOW) video is the lady whom I believe partly inspired the enunciation and jaw idiosyncrasies of Barberalla’s character (portrayed by Michelle Chia) in The Noose. My guess is that Chua En Lai (also from The Noose) might have shown Michelle the video, since he made an appearance in the interview video just before the lady.                 

Observe how the lady between 5:52 – 6:42 speaks:

How Barbarella speaks:

AWARE Extraordinary General Meeting Part 2

Talking point: Aware saga (Part 1)

Talking point: Aware saga (Part 2)

PM Lee’s National Day Rally Speech 2009 (mfa.gov.sg): “..what worried us was that this was an attempt by a religiously motivated group who shared a strong religious fervour to enter civil space, take over an NGO it disapproved of and impose its agenda.” – Mr Lee Hsien Loong

  • McDonald removal of pig toy for muslim sensitivity deemed unnecessary (2010)

McDonalds Singapore remove pig from the Chinese zodiac (DKSG, 12 Jan 2010)

McDonald’s to bring pig toy in April (22 Jan 2010, AsiaOne)

  • Obedient Wife Club coming to Singapore saga (2011)

Obedient Wives’ Club setting up branch in Singapore (AsiaOne, 13 Jun 2011)

No to Obedient Wives Club (AWARE, 14 Jun 2011)

Obedient Wives Club ‘demeans women’: Muis (Yahoo, 18 Jun 2011)

Plans for Singapore branch of club to go ahead (xinkaishi, 26 Jun 2011)

Your wives are a place of sowing of seed (everythingalsocomplain.com, 2 Jul 2011)

The Sex Manual of The Obedient Wives’ Club. (Musliminah, 20 Oct 2011)

  • Muslim sagas in Singapore (2011 – 2015)

DPM Teo: There will be still be Malays in the SAF (AsiaOne, 8 Jul 2010)

Malay-Muslim marriage customs (Musliminah, 4 Aug 2011)

 Women working in mosques. (Musliminah, 13 Oct 2011)

Is any policy of exempting graduates from madrasahs from serving National Service? (MINDEF, 21 Nov 2011)

Will Kampong Glam Turn into Kampong Glum? (SGAsiaCity, 19 Jan 2012)

The Malay Muslim Male Privilege Checklist. (Musliminah, 29 May 2012)

On Muslim law modified by Malay customs. (Musliminah, 30 Aug 2012)

Muslim association disputes online report that claims its marriage courses advocate violent and sexist behaviour..(AsiaOne, 8 Nov 2012)

Islamic scholars and religious teachers disappointed by the Health Promotion Board’s FAQ on sexuality (AsiaOne, 14 Feb 2014)

A Tiny Cut: Male and Female Circumcision in Singapore (Musliminah, 9 Mar 2013)

AWARE Makes a Stand Against Female Circumcision in Islam (Rilek1corner, 19 May 2014)

Chinese-Muslim Woman Rejected for Admin Work Job Because She “Can’t Eat Pork” (RedwireTimes, 1 Jul 2015)

Isetan apologises over treatment of promoter in tudung (TNP, 15 Jul  2014)

Initiation of Singapore Muslims for an Independent MUIS (Facebook Page) (Sept 2014)

MINDEF/SAF’s position on discriminatory practices in the SAF (18 Aug 2015)

Netizen accuses RSN sailors of making derogatory comments about Muslim boyfriend (ST, 19 Aug 2015)

Malays deployed in the SAF as sailors: Ng Eng Hen (ST, 16 Feb 2015)

Is it true that Mufti Menk was banned in Singapore? (Thoughtsofrealsingaporeans, 4 Dec 2015)

No work pass, hence no-show by Muslim cleric (TMG, 7 Dec 2015)

  • Lady Gaga’s music is offensive? (2011-2015)

Viewpoints: Lady Gaga’s latest album ‘offensive to Christianity’ (Catholic News, 19 June 2011)

Update on Lady Gaga Saga (National Council of Churches of Singapore, 30 Nov 2012)

Lady Gaga or Amos Yee – who truly offended Christians? (TOC, 8 July 2015)

  • Chapel party @ CHIJMES (2012)

‘Chapel party’ at Chijmes called off (AsiaOne, 3 Apr 2012)

Police investigate CHIJMES ‘Chapel Party’ (AsiaOne, 5 Apr 2012)

Archbishop’s message on CHIJMES Chapel party issue (CatholicNews, 22 Apr 2012)

  • Archbishop Chia anti-ISA Letter withdrawal saga (2012)
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EthosBooks

“Some of the ex-detainees (of Marxist Conspiracy) from the Catholic Church groups recounted together with their families and friends, their thoughts from those tumultuous years in a book (*above picture).”

Feel free to click these 2 links – HERE and HERE to read up a brief summary of what Operation Spectrum/Marxist Conspiracy is about. HERE is a list of TOC articles on the Marxist Conspiracy, alongside the below mainstream media sources – for a balanced account of the matter.

Social realities, Catholic response (CatholicNews, 17 Aug 2008)

Group seeking to use church for political aims: Govt (AsiaOne, 21 Sept 2012)

Bishop chides Au over blog post (AsiaOne, 22 Sept 2012)

Who told Au about letter? (AsiaOne, 23 Sept 2012)

DPM Teo: Politics and religion cannot mix (AsiaOne, 16 Oct 2012)

Archbishop’s actions ‘consistent with his position on harmony’ (AsiaOne, 18 Oct 2012)

Archdiocese holds memorial Mass for Lee Kuan Yew (CatholicNews, 19 Apr 2015)

Moving forward after the 1987 ‘Marxist conspiracy’ (CatholicNews, 4 Oct 2015)

  • Pluralism, Tolerance, and Secularism (2009 – present)

Q&A with DPM on Aware saga (AsiaOne, 14 May 2009)

The ST Interview with Mufti Dr Fatris Bakaram: ‘Seeing the beauty of other faiths beyond the mosque’ (ST, 31 Aug 2011)

FCBC and sacking of pregnant female employee who committed adultery (ST, 20 Aug 2013)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Written Interview With Berita Harian on the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) (PMO)

We don’t have a religious agenda: Honour (Singapore) (TODAY, 16 Aug 2014)

Call for secularism to prevail in Singapore (TOC, 9 Jan 2015)

Parliament: Edusave Awards will not be extended to private schools, including madrasahs (ST, 13 Apr 2015): It would not be appropriate to extend the awards to private schools, because they recognise “secular academic and non-academic achievements in the context of Ministry of Education-funded schools”

Singapore must be place where every religious belief has own space: PM Lee (CNA, 22 Aug 2015)

Singapore’s religious harmony a legacy to be treasured: PM Lee (CNA, 22 Aug 2015)

Section 298 contradicts Singapore’s secularism, says Muslim group (TOC, 15 Dec 2015)

Religion should remain a personal affair (TODAY, 30 Dec 2015)

Racial, religious harmony a result of deliberate choices: DPM Teo (CNA, 17 Jan 2016)

S’pore stable because religions treated equally, says expert (ST, 21 Jan 2016)

Foreign preachers intolerant of other religious faiths will be barred: K Shanmugam (CNA, 28 Jan 2016)

Relating to religious believers and non-believers (CatholicNews, 7 Feb 2016)

Religion must be practised based on local context: Masagos (CNA, 11 Feb 2016)

Agreeing to disagree in matters of religion (ST, 26 Feb 2016)

Youth in Singapore shunning religion (ST, 21 Mar 2016)

Negotiating Singapore’s new pluralism (ST, 19 Apr 2016)

Yaacob: Muslims’ give-and-take approach in multi-racial Singapore is a tradition to cherish (ST, 28 Apr 2016)

Racial, religious harmony in Singapore a result of give-and-take: PM Lee (TODAY, 17 May 2016)

Singapore’s politics must remain above race and religion: Shanmugam (CNA, 18 Jun 2016)

  • Hijab ban in certain frontline jobs (2011 – present)

Tudung girls: Unveiling Muslim women’s identity in Singapore (ResearchGate, Jan 2011)

Indecent exposure. (Musliminah, 29 Aug 2011)

Wondering why I no longer wear hijab? (1 Feb 2013)

Spotlight on tudung ban and racial harmony (4 Sept 2013)

Muslims in Singapore need to accommodate too: Zulkifli (Yahoo, 11 Sept 2013)

Spotlight on Tudong Ban and Racial Harmony (LKYSPP, 12 Sept 2013)

The hijab issue & social media: Defending dignity by stepping on it? By Fatris Bakaram (FB, 30 Oct 2013)

Yaacob Ibrahim: My thoughts on the Hijab issue (FB, 21 Oct 2013)

Allowing hijab problematic for some jobs: Yaacob (TODAY, 1 Nov 2013)

Be constructive, not abusive on tudung issue (AsiaOne, 3 Nov 2013)

Little Hijabis: To Wear Or Not To Wear? (Musliminah, 4 Nov 2013)

Workers’ Party calls for public dialogue on hijab issue (ST, 6 nov 2013)

Hardware, Heartware and Headwear (miyagi, 6 Nov 2013)

Hijab issue: Govt must ‘balance community requirements’ (TODAY, 6 Nov 2013)

PM Lee meets MPs over headscarf issue (AsiaOne, 8 Nov 2013)

PERGAS’s reponse to the tudung issue for female muslims at the workplace (TOC, 9 Nov 2013)

Tudung or Not Tudung?: Hijabis in Singaporean Workplaces (Musliminah, 10 Nov 2013)

 “AWARE supports the right of every woman to choose what she wears.  Women must enjoy equal access to work regardless of their sartorial choices. It is important that women do not face discrimination when their dress indicates their belonging to a particular religion or is associated with a particular ethnic group, especially when that ethnic group is a minority that feels marginalised. . – AWARE

At the same time, the meaning and importance of the headscarf or any symbol of faith must be decided by every woman for herself, as a matter of individual religious conviction.A Muslim woman who does not wear a headscarf should not be attacked as less of a true member of her faith or community than one who does..Some wear headscarves, some do not, and some have changed their minds on the issue more than once.  We celebrate their right to change their minds.  Whatever their decisions about their bodies and dress, they deserve respect and inclusion from all.” – AWARE

Hijab in the Workplace: Why the controversy? (muzlimbuzz.sg, 13 Nov 2013)

Senior Minister of State criticises Workers’ Party on Hijab Issue (TOC, 14 Nov 2013)

Initiation of I want Hijab – Singapore (Facebook Page) (15 Nov 2013)

Govt’s stance on tudung issue evolving, says PM Lee (TODAY, 25 Jan 2014)

Initiation of World Hijab Day Singapore FB Page (2014)

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Initiation of Beyond The Hijab FB Page  (2014): is a space for us to share stories about our experiences as Muslim women. We want you to speak your mind, and tell us about the issues you care about, the challenges you face spiritually or in your daily lives, and what your religion means to you. We want to create a sense of sisterhood and community, in a world that is becoming increasingly hard to navigate alone.

“Camel hump” hijab-shaming reveals more than meets the eye (Musliminah, 17 Nov 2014)

Initiation of Embrace Hijab (Facebook Page) (June 2015)

Initiation of Change.org petition: Hijabs to be allowed in the Singapore Workforce, specifically in the uniformed occupations and front-line positions (July 2015) : 

“However, please don’t start judging all Muslim women who do not wear the hijab (for whatever personal reasons) with the same yardstick. It is their choice and we should all have basic courtesy and respect for individual’s choices.this petition is..about: Giving one a free choice to dress in a manner that best represent their identity, be it for fashion statement or religious obligation.” – quoted from the Hijab petition

*The film – Judged (below) shared by the above petition hopes to spark discussions about discrimination that occurs within the Muslim community and what can be done about them.

 

 

Hijab Hijinks Singapore (CEMSG, 7 Oct 2015): 

“..the hijab itself needs to be devalued as a religious icon and the freedom of expression also extends to women who choose to wear the hijab, as forcing them not to wear the hijab is equally as oppressive as forcing them to wear it.”

“As a woman who wears the tudung, I hope that all women can pursue their career choice and I hope this can be reviewed and flexibility be given where possible so that they can choose their own careers. However, when we ask for something from the Government, I hope that we as a community can be mature and discuss with respect. We know there are implications on whatever decisions that we wish for in terms of a plural society.” – MP Rahayu Mahzam (ST, 29 Jan 2016)

Damanhuri Bin Abas on Tudung issue (FB, 16 Feb 2016)

  • LGBT matters (2013 – 2014)

Singapore Gay Magazine Finds a Safe Space (The Wall Street Journal, 1 Apr 2013)

Liberal attitudes on gay lifestyles not prevalent here (TODAY, 26 Aug 2013)

Singaporeans split over gay, censorship, social support issues: OSC survey (Yahoo News, 26 Aug 2013)

Law prof launches book on gay movement in S’pore (TODAY, 15 May 2014)

No Rainbow at A-mei’s gig due to ‘pro-LGBT message’ (ST, 10 July 2014)

  • Adam Lambert performance faces backlash (2013 and 2015)

Church feels the heat over gay singer’s gig (ST, 6 Mar 2013)

Adam Lambert’s concert gets MDA’s Advisory 16 rating (ST, 7 March 2013)

Anti-Adam Lambert petition in Singapore gains 20,000 signatures (TODAY, 30 Nov 2015)

Initiation of Anti-Lambert petition

Initiation of Counter anti-Lambert petition

  • Humanist Society news release (2013 – present)
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Image credit: Humanist Society’s FB page

 

Humanist Society Inter-faith efforts (Humanist Society)

Open Letter To Father William Goh, Coadjutor Archbishop Of Singapore (Humanist Society, 4 Mar 2013)

CREATIONISM IN NTU (PART II) (Humanist Society, 13 May 2014)

Morality should be shaped by all in S’pore (TODAY, 21 Jun 2014)

Communism failed due to flawed economic ideology (TODAY, 28 July 2015)

Religious values behind principles of secular democracy (TODAY, 29 Jul 2015)

St: Vitriol From ‘Offended’ Individuals A Concern (Humanist Society, 18 Dec 2015)

Statement: On The Secular World And Immorality (Humanist Society, 2 March 2016)

OPEN LETTER TO LAWRENCE KHONG (Humanist Society, 1 Apr 2016)

Atheists deserve a place in interfaith dialogue (ST, 3 Apr 2016)

Time to engage the non-religious in dialogue (ST, 15 Mar 2015)

On creationism: MOE’s reply to a concerned parent (Humanist Society, 8 Apr 2016)

LOVE SINGAPORE’S TROUBLING WEAR WHITE MESSAGE (Humanist Society, 24 May 2016)

“TERRORISM HAS NO RELIGION”: DISCARD THIS DIVISIVE SLOGAN (Humanist Society, 25 Jul 2016)

  • 377A (2013 – present)

SGWiki LGBT article list

Detailed wiki article on Section 377A

Campaign to raise funds for gay couple’s Section 377A constitutional challenge (Homosexuality in Singapore, 25 Apr 2013)

377A enacted when social norms were different: Gay couple’s lawyer (TODAY, 16 July 2014)

Section 377A meant to curb male prostitution, not consensual sex  (TOC, 18 July 2014)

Court of Appeal rules that Section 377A that criminalises sex between men is constitutional (ST, 29 Oct 2014)

Blogger Alex Au found guilty of court contempt for one of two articles (ST, 22 Jan 2015)

Aiseyman! Is SDP’s Damanhuri Abas pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT?! (aiseyman, 3 Sept 2015)

Yale-NUS rejects call on envoy to quit post (ST, 7 Feb 2016): Yale-NUS student Nicholas Carverhill had called on Prof Chan to either reject the Government’s stance on Section 377A of the Penal Code, or give up her seat on the college’s governing board.

Damanhuri Bin Abas responding to comparison of 377A and Tudung issue (FB, 16 Feb 2016)

 Catholic Church Abuse allegations (2013 – 2014)

Catholic Church to probe Singapore-born author’s sex abuse claims (ST, 10 Jul 2013)

Vincent Wijeysingha accuses Catholic priest of attempted molest at age 15 (AsiaOne, 24 June 2014)

Vincent Wijeysingha hits out at Catholic Church statement on LGBT issues (TODAY, 24 June 2014)

Vincent Wijeysingha rejects Catholic Church request to lodge complaint over molest allegation (Yahoo, 6 July 2014)

  • Self-Radicalization and Youths (2013 – present)

Self-radicalised S’porean detained under ISA (TODAY, 13 Sept 2013)

Arrest and Detention of Self-Radicalised Singaporeans under the Internal Security Act (MHA, 27 May 2015)

2 Singaporean youths radicalised by ISIS arrested, one of them detained for planning terror attacks (ST, 27 May 2015)

Combating self-radicalisation: What are the signs, What can family members and friends do (ST, 29 May 2015)

Report cases of radicalism promptly, counsellors urge (TODAY, 29 May 2015)

Self-radicalised Singaporeans who were previously detained (ST, 29 May 2015)

Schools on alert for students at risk of self-radicalisation (AsiaOne, 30 May 2015)

Radicalisation and its threats to a small nation (ST, 25 Apr 2016)

  • Muslim NUS professor’s comments on Lesbians (2014)

NUS prof’s comments on lesbians spark protests from past and present students (ST, 28 Feb 2014)

NUS prof acknowledges ‘poor judgement’ in FB ‘lesbianism’ posts (Yahoo, 1 Mar 2014)

  • City Harvest Church saga (2014 – present)

CHC Confession (Facebook Page)

City Harvest Church Saga (Straits Times Coverage)

Mothership.sg Coverage:

City Harvest Church Saga

Kong Hee’s Saga

Sun Ho’s Saga

Sun Ho sings on new City Harvest album, Draw Me, which has topped Singapore iTunes charts (ST, 14 Jun 2016)

  • Pink Dot versus Wear White (2014)

Pink Sot SG started in 2009.

We are against Pinkdot in Singapore (FB Page)

Initiation of Wear White (Facebook Page) (June 2014): It was first started by an Islamic religious teacher who launched an online campaign asking Muslims to wear white to protest against homosexuality and defend traditional family values. This was soon followed by a Christian pastor – Lawrence Khong from Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC). Both movements are still in existence in 2016.

Pink Dot rally organisers open to ‘constructive discussion’ (TODAY, 24 Jun 2014)

Muslim Community response to Pink Dot:

Singapore Islamic Scholars & Religious Teachers Association – Pergas (20 Jun 2014) – Pergas’ Irsyad on attending an event that supports transgression eg event which supports the movement or lifestyle of the LGBT

Muslims should not attend LGBT-related events: Islamic group (TODAY, 21 Jun 2014)

MUIS urges mosques not to take confrontational stand on LGBT lifestyles (TODAY, 21 Jun 2014)

Mosques told not to get caught in LGBT crossfire (AsiaOne, 23 Jun 2014)

Catholic Community response to LGBT issue:

Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter on the Catholic Church’s Position on Sexuality (9 Mar 2014)

Be inclusive: Catholic Archbishop (AsiaOne, 16 May 2014)

Catholic Church discourages LGBT relationships but decries discrimination (ST, 22 Jun 2014)

Archbishop apologises for “insensitivity” in earlier statement on LGBT issues (AsiaOne, 3 Jul 2014)

Pastoral Letter To Catholics With Same-sex Orientation (Catholic News, 13 Jul 2014)

Catholic News (Local Catholic paper) list of articles on the Homosexuality issue over the years

Christian Community reaction to LGBT issue:

National council of churches issues statement on Pink Dot controversy (TODAY, 25 Jun 2014)

Gay lifestyle against Bible, says Council of Churches (ST,, 26 Jun 2014)

Record turnout for Singapore gay rally amid religious protests (TODAY, 28 Jun 2014)

Thousands of Singaporean Christians wear white to protest Pink Dot gay rally (Yahoo News, 29 Jun 2014)

Politicians response to LGBT issue:

Be big-hearted, avoid dividing society: Dr Yaacob (ST, 21 Jun 2014)

Tharman vs Yaacob: Both issued platitudes about the online campaign to wear white, but who said it better? (Mothership.sg, 22 June 2014)

NMP Janice Koh: ‘It’s a matter of time before 377A is repealed’ (Mothership.sg, 29 Jun 2014)

  • Famfest / Red Dot Family Movement saga (2014)

FamFest Singapore (FB Page) is a movement by TOUCH Family Services for the nurturing, preservation and promotion of the right Family values. 

Group’s bid to stage pro-family event at Padang rejected (TODAY, 7 May 2014)

Red Dot family day at Padang cancelled, SingTel fined $6 million (Mothership, 7 May 2014)

Refusal to allow pro-family event at Padang puzzling: Lawrence Khong (TODAY, 10 May 2014)

  • Pro-love books censorship (2014)

NLB removes two children’s titles after complaint that they are not “pro-family” (ST, 8 Jul 2014)

NLB pulls two children’s books that ‘don’t promote family values’ (TODAY, 9 Jul 2014)

Singaporeans United for Family FB page had collected signatures to support the NLB’s action submitted an open letter to the Ministry of Communications and Information, Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Education. According to the group, the letter is backed by 26,000 signatures. It declined to reveal the identities of these supporters, and would not name the person who had written the online letter. (2014)

Single mother’s FB letter to Minister for Information, Communication, and the Arts (11 Jul 2014)

NLB defends move to remove books (ST, 11 Jul 2014)

More than 26,000 signatures collected for open letter supporting NLB’s ban of books (Yahoo, 14 Jul 2014)

Police, NLB helped facilitate Let’s Read Together event that attracted 450 people (Mothership, 14 Jul 2014)

NLB ‘saddened by’ reaction over its removal of three books with homosexuality themes, says chief executive (ST, 13 Jul 2014)

NLB provokes mixed response by moving controversial children’s books to adult section (ST, 18 Jul 2014)

NLB saga: Two removed children’s books will go into adult section at library (ST, 18 Jul, 2014)

Government’s response to matter: Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim had instructed the National Library Board to place two controversial children’s books in its adult section, instead of pulping them: “The decision on what books children can or cannot read remains with their parents. Parents who wish to borrow these books to read with their children will have the option to do so.”

Thumbs up to government for taking a secular stance (by not agreeing to NLB’s pulping), and giving tactful consideration to both communities  🙂

Archie comic barred from sale in Singapore due to same-sex marriage depiction (ST, 16 Jul 2014)

No ban on X-Men comic due to ‘balanced treatment of gay marriage’ (TODAY, 30 Jul 2014)

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Image credit: Singapore Muslims for Secular Democracy FB page

SMFSD articles:

Call for secularism to prevail in Singapore (TOC, 9 Jan 2015)

Section 298 contradicts Singapore’s secularism, says Muslim group (TOC, 15 Dec 2015)

  • Apostasy in Islam (Singaporeans Muslims)

The Taboo of Apostasy (from Islam) (RizzyKhao, 7 Sept 2015)

Testimony of Former Muslims from Singapore (Wikipedia)

Is Singapore a Secular Country or only Secular if you’re not Muslim? (aiesman, 1 Apr 2016)

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  • CEMSG | Council of Ex Muslims Singapore (2015 – present): A non-profit organization existing to provide support, resources, legal aid, refuge, and outreach for former Muslims, Muslims who are leaving Islam, and non-Muslims struggling with situations pertain with Islamic laws and culture in Singapore.

CEMSG articles:

Ex-Muslims in Singapore invited to share reasons which stopped them from renouncing their religion (29 June 2016)

Open Letter to: MUIS (13 July 2016)

Other CEMSG: articles / testimonies

  • LGBT Youth issues and support (2015)

LGBT youth at higher risk of suicide, more support needed (TODAY, 29 Apr 2015)

Psychosocial support for LGBT youth from a few groups (TODAY, 30 Apr 2015)

We should identify issues of LGBT youths cautiously (TODAY, 30 Apr 2015)

Varsity support for LGBT youth in S’pore (TODAY, 4 May 2015)

Varsity students to launch independent LGBT network (TODAY, 8 May 2015)

  • LGBT discrimination, hate speech, protection saga (2015-present) TODAYOnline

Legal, societal discrimination leaves LGBT people vulnerable to abuse (19 Jan 2015)

Different opinions over LGBT do not mean discrimination (1 May 2015)

Logic and empathy should guide LGBT discourse (19 May 2015)

End the slurs on LGBT people and their allies (22 June 2015)

Anti-discrimination laws may not help curb LGBT stigma (28 Jan 2016)

Encourage diversity of views — not stifle them (17 June 2016)

Hateful behaviour against LGBTs similar to radicalization (21 June 2016)

Verbal abuse of LGBT citizens must stop (22 June 2016)

Towards a better S’pore for all, including LGBT people (23 June 2016)

Beware of labelling emotive comments as hate speech (24 June 2016)

LGBT dialogue must be grounded in lived daily realities (27 June 2016)

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Image credit: Paris Chia Photography
  • Thaipusam saga (2015-present)

Shanmugam addresses questions over ban on playing music at Thaipusam (ST, 6 Feb 2015)

Hindus have privilege not given to other faiths, says Shanmugam (TODAY, 7 Feb 2015)

Thaipusam instrument ban legitimate: High Court (ST, 20 Sept 2015)

Singapore government to allow live music at Thaipusam street procession (ST, 2 Dec 2015)

Green light for live music at Thaipusam (ST, 3 Dec 2015)

Thaipusam participants to withdraw appeal to apex court (ST, 25 Dec 2015)

Live music at Thaipusam after 42 years (ST, 18 Jan 2016) 

  • Jewish Community in Singapore (2015 – 2016)

Ynetnews Jewish Scene – Singapore, a tiny heaven for Jews (Ynetnews, 20 Apr 2015)

Radio presenter’s journey to Judaism (ST, 8 Oct 2015)

A month to remember for Jewish community in Singapore (Pictures) (ST, 8 Oct 2015)

Jewish contributions to Singapore (ST, 8 Oct 2015)

Old synagogues buzzing with life (ST, 11 Aug 2016)

  • LGBT sagas (2015 – present)

IKEA Saga (CNA, 22 Apr 2015): IKEA had decided to continue promoting a magic show by Pastor Lawrence Khong from FCBC, who has publicly spoken out against homosexuality in the past, despite public objections since it put up an advertisement on the event.

Other songs banned in singapore (TNP, 26 May 2015)

Conservative S’pore ‘not ready for same-sex marriage’ (TODAY, 5 June 2015)

MDA took 2 months to decide they are not going to rate this Pink Dot promo video meant for cinema screens (Mothership.sg, 13 Jun 2015)

Pastor Lawrence Khong: ‘We will wear white until the pink is gone’ (Mothership.sg, 14 Jun 2015)

HRW Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Singapore (23 Jun 2015): Singapore authorities continue to refuse to allow Pink Dot to register as a formal organization or foundation in the country. 

Jolin Tsai’s same-sex marriage music video and song banned on TV and radio, MDA clarifies (ST, 26 May 2015)

Universal Periodic Review & The LGBTIQ Community in Singapore. OOGACHAGA. PINK DOT SG.

Social workers ‘feel ill-equipped to deal with LGBT clients’ (ST, 11 Feb 2016)

Singapore cuts Obama’s LGBT comments on Ellen (ST, 25 Feb 2016)

Response to Leow Yangfa’s plea to support Pink Dot (TOC, 16 May 2016)

‘Traditional values’ wear white campaign returning on Pink Dot weekend (TodayOnline, 23 May 2016)

6 episodes done up by wear white FB page – responding to arguments made by pro-LGBT Muslims (28 May – 3 June 2016)

  • 1st Transgender shelter in Singapore  (2015 – present)

 

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Image credit: T Project FB page

Old shophouse attic transformed into shelter for homeless transgender people (ST, 17 May 2015)

The T Project runs a shelter for homeless transgenders, many of whom have been kicked out of their homes by their families, rejected by some strangers and refused jobs by others (TNP, 8 May 2016)

Singapore transgender activist fights to keep shelter for homeless trans women (gaystarnews, 25 May 2016)

Thank you for your support and donation to The T Project since we started our fundraising drive to set up a new shelter. We are very pleased to announce that we have exceeded our fundraising target. (24 June 2016)

  • Anti- Korban VS Anti-Hungry Ghost Festival petition (2015)

Petition Battle: Inconsiderate ban on Korban VS intolerant ban on Hungry Ghost Festival (Coconut.sg, 25 Sept 2015)

A Reply to Nicole L’s Korban Petition (Muslimbuxx.sg, 29 Sept 2015)

Message from Nicole L, the petition creator (FB, 27 Sept 2015)

Ban Hungry Ghost Festival petition (2015)

“The Court of Appeal has held that it is not illegal for a Singapore citizen to be a Jehovah’s Witness, a proscribed group. He is, however, not exempted from being called up to serve his national service. In another case, the same court held that a citizen working in an educational institution is not exempted from singing the National Anthem or reciting the National Pledge on account of his religious beliefs. In other words, in Singapore, a citizen’s right to religious freedom is subordinated to the public good.” – (ST, 21 Feb 2015)

In 1972 the Singapore government de-registered and banned the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses on the grounds that its members refuse to perform military service (which is obligatory for all male citizens), salute the flag, or swear oaths of allegiance to the state.

In February 1995, Singapore police raided private homes where group members were holding religious meetings, in an operation codenamed “Operation Hope”. In 1996, eighteen Jehovah’s Witnesses were convicted for unlawfully meeting in a Singapore apartment. In 1998, two Jehovah’s Witnesses were charged in a Singapore court for possessing and distributing banned religious publications.

In 1998, a Jehovah’s Witness lost a lawsuit against a government school for wrongful dismissal for refusing to sing the national anthem or salute the flag. 

In 2000, public secondary schools indefinitely suspended at least fifteen Jehovah’s Witness students for refusing to sing the national anthem or participate in the flag ceremony. In April 2001, one public school teacher, also a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, resigned after being threatened with dismissal for refusing to participate in singing the national anthem.

As of 2015, there are 19 members of Jehovah’s Witnesses incarcerated for refusal to carry out mandatory military service. There is no alternative civilian service for Jehovah’s.

Refusal to serve and conscientious objection

Those who are liable to serve national service as a national duty to the country but refuse are charged under the Enlistment Act. If convicted, they face up to both three years’ imprisonment and a fine of S$10,000. Some NS pre-enlistees are court-martialled for their failure to enlist or refusal to be conscripted. Most of them were Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are usually sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by default at the SAF detention barrack facility, and are separated from other conscription offenders.The government does not consider conscientious objection to be a legal reason for refusal of national service. – (Wikipedia)

“To clarify, JWs are first given one year of detention, after which they are sent for a second court-martial and given the option of serving NS. If and when they continue to refuse to serve, they’ll be sentenced to another two years of detention. At least that’s how it was back in the early 2000s when I was an MP in SAFDB.” – Reddit answer by Ketsugi (2014)

“JWs serve 3 years in Detention Barracks. Treated very differently from the “regular” inmates. In the days before SFI, they were the gardeners, cooks and cleaners for the DB camp. Dunno if they still are cooks now. Given some freedom to roam around within a certain area in the day. If I remember correctly, they do get nap time and stuff. They sorta have a de facto leader among them, appointed by the MPs. Kinda like thier IC. Does the cook duty roster etc.” – Reddit answer by Jontst78 (May 2007)

“For NS, you have to serve army in the DB. You wear a different attire from the other detainees. You get to have a degree of freedom and autonomy but all within the DB grounds. You also handle a lot of support work like helping to garden and the like. Perhaps the hardest is the longer term of service about 2+ years of pretty much staying within the complex.” – Quora answer by Daryl Tew (2016)

  • Government and Civic unity, and fight against Religious Terrorism /  Extremism (2014 -2016)

Minister warns of “absolutists” in Malay-Muslim community (TOC, 28 Jun 2015)

“Totally irresponsible” to support IS, says Yaacob Ibrahim (TOC, 4 Sept 2014)

Racial, religious harmony is “always work in progress”: PM Lee (CNA, 4 Oct 2015)

Collective effort needed to counter terrorist ideology: Halimah Yacob (CNA, 21 Dec 2015)

Singapore’s social cohesion must not be allowed to fracture: DPM Teo (CNA, 24 Dec 2015)

Religious leaders condemn terror acts (ST, 30 Nov 2015)

Singaporeans must reject violence, deepen mutual understanding (CNA, 16 Jan 2016)

Religion, terrorism and threats to Singapore, the region (CNA, 20 Jan 2016)

Government looking at new steps to protect social harmony: Shanmugam (CNA, 20 Jan 2016)

Doing harm in name of religion ‘not unique to any one faith’ (ST, 20 Jan 2016)

Muslim leaders concerned about extreme leanings (ST, 20 Jan 2016)

Parliament: Muslims, non-Muslims must take constructive steps against extremism, says Maliki (ST, 26 Jan 2016)

Rebut radical ideas, Yaacob urges grads of top Muslim university (ST, 29 Jan 2016)

Singapore to step up its strategy to counter terrorism as threat of attack rises: Shanmugam (ST, 18 Mar 2016)

Home Team to roll out new security and community measures to fight terrorism (ST, 18 Mar 2016)

Attack on Singapore a matter of when, not if, says Shanmugam (TODAY, 23 Mar 2016)

Parliament: Muslim community stepping up efforts to counter extremist influences online (ST, 14 Apr 2016)

New counter-terrorism teams to be rolled out by June (CNA, 29 Apr 2016)

Religious teachers trained to counter extremism (ST, May 10 2016)

6 Bangladeshi workers detained last month under ISA charged with financing terrorism (ST, 27 May 2016)

Important to strengthen social cohesion: Yaacob (ST, 7 July 2016)

Religious leaders ‘must build trust among faiths’ (ST, 19 Jun 2016)

Religious terrorism is most serious threat today: K Shanmugam (ST, 25 Jun 2016)

Plot to attack Marina Bay with rocket from Batam foiled (ST, 6 Aug 2016)

The Straits Times – Singapore was aware of terror cell: Shanmugan (ST, 6 Aug 2016)

2 Singaporeans planning to join ISIS detained, 2 others on Restriction Orders: MHA (ST, 19 Aug 2016)

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“The public domain is something that we need to share together, and today’s equivalent of the marketplace of the past would be the mall, the media, the Internet. Being able to enter that public domain without donning the armour of an exclusive identity is the challenge we face now; to be able to see the public domain not as a threatening domain to be dominated and conquered, but as a shared space where our particularities and vulnerabilities are sometimes exposed, along with others.”

– Farish A Noor (Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU)                  

  • Tackling Islamphobia / Anti-Islam sentiments (2015 – 2016)

Some Muslims in Singapore worried over anti-Islam backlash (CNA, 21 nov 2015)

Muslim community must work with Govt to keep Singapore safe: Religious leaders, academics (CNA, 19 Jan 2016)

Collective effort needed to safeguard racial, religious harmony in Singapore: Shanmugam (ST, 19 Jan 2016)

Constructive dialogue needed for mutual understanding: Archbishop William Goh (CNA, 21 Jan 2016)

Shanmugam warns against Islamophobia (CNA, 23 Jan 2016)

Singaporeans must not see all Muslims as terrorists: Shanmugam (ST, 23 Jan 2016)

Islamophobia poses ‘significant risk’ to Singapore: Shanmugam (CNA, 30 Mar 2016)

Singaporeans have obligation to reach out to Muslims, prevent Islamophobia: Shanmugam (ST, 30 March 2016)

Islamic teachers call for inter-faith dialogues to counter Islamophobia (ST, 31 May 2016)

MPs raise need to strengthen community ties (ST, 14 Apr 2016)

  • Woman cannot sexually penetrate minor under Singapore law (2015-2016)

Woman with two wives pleads guilty to sex with underaged girl (TNP, 8 Dec 2015)

Woman pleads guilty, but law says only men can be guilty of rape (AsiaOne, 13 Apr 2016)

Sex abuse: Greater clarity urged in law (ST, 17 Apr 2016)

Prosecution appeals against ruling that cleared woman of sexual penetration of a minor (ST, 18 Apr 2016)

Sexual assault: Appeal against acquittal over gender (ST, 19 Apr 2016)

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  • Sikh Community in Singapore

MM praises Sikh community (Stomp, 9 Jul 2010)

Man carrying dagger on MRT was observing religious practice, says Sikh association (Stomp, 8 nov 2010)

New chief for Singapore Army (AsiaOne, 4 Mar 2011)

Book project to highlight Sikhs’ contributions to S’pore (AsiaOne, 30 Jan 2015)

Visual markers of Sikh heritage (ST, 26 Mar 2015)

PM Lee Hsien Loong pays tribute to the Sikh community (CNA, 28 Nov 2015)

Story of Sikhs here ‘the story of S’pore’: PM (ST, 29 Nov 2015)

Preserving the Sikh heritage in print (ST, 11 Jan 2016)

Silent contributor, former MP Inderjit Singh honoured by Sikh community (AsiaOne, 29 Apr 2016)

Take the app trail and get to know Sikh hero and heritage (ST, 12 Jun 2016)

  • Catholic Church’s concern towards Madonna’s concert performance (2016)

Madonna not allowed to perform religiously sensitive songs such as Holy Water at her concert here (ST, 7 Jan 2016)

Madonna’s Concert: What about it? (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, 20 Feb 2016)

Church tells Catholics planning to see Madonna to ‘act according to their informed conscience’ (ST, 23 Feb 2016)

More churches express concern over Madonna show (TODAY, 23 Feb 2016)

Church leaders air concerns on Madonna concert to Shanmugam (CNA, 23 Feb 2016)

Catholic Church ‘not imposing its views on others’ (ST, 24 Feb 2016)

  • Muslim-related matters/sagas (2016)

A sentiment among some younger Muslims that sending greetings to friends on other religious festivals or reciting the National Pledge and serving National Service are at odds with their faith… Some people also feel that the democratic elected governance here is “incompatible with Islam” and Singapore should be part of a caliphate (TODAY, 20 Jan 2016)

MUIS ‘oversees all Muslim matters, courts not in position to interfere’ (TODAY, 3 Feb 2016)

Muslims urged to pick religious schools overseas with care (ST, 17 March 2016)

Q: Do you need to serve National Service? What % of Madrasah students are exempted from NS? If you had a choice, would you want to serve NS? 

A: Yes. Most of us that go to ITE, poly or JC do. For the ones who continue on the more religious path, we are not exempted per say but just curiously not called up. Some of my seniors had to serve at the age of 24 while others were not called up their whole lives. I personally would want to serve if they called me up at 18, right after I graduated, but if it was any later than that then I would rather they leave me alone to fend for my family and myself. (reddit.com, April 2016)

Halal ship kitchens difficult but SAF offers food options (ST, 8 Apr 2016)

Does religion trump race? Yes, at least in Singapore. (23 April 2016)

Association of Muslim Professionals calls for body to address discriminatory practices (ST, 4 May 2016)

Alleged attacks on madrasah girls: Man had psychiatric illness (ST, 26 Apr 2016)

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Image credit: Ask an Atheist – SG FB page
  • Creationism versus Evolution saga (2016)

Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) sermon on “The Deception of Darwinism” & “No God, No Good or Bad” (FCBC Facebook Page, 29 Mar 2016)

Humanist Society’s letter to Lawrence Khong on his talk “The Deception of Darwinism & “No God, No Good or Bad”. (Humanist Society, 1 Apr 2016)

On creationism: MOE’s reply to a concerned parent (Humanist Society, 8 Apr 2016)

  • Same-sex third party (2016)

When the third party that causes a marriage break-up is a same-sex partner (ST, 15 May 2016)

Break-ups and same-sex third party: Divorce best navigated with support (ST, 22 May 2016) 

  • Pink Dot Foreign Sponsorship saga (2016)

MHA Statement on Foreign Sponsorships for Pink Dot 2016 (MHA, 7 Jun 2016): ” ..will take steps to make it clear that foreign entities should not fund, support or influence such events held at the Speakers’ Corner. In the context of LGBT issues, this will apply both to events that advocate the LGBT cause such as the Pink Dot, as well as events whose purpose is to oppose the LGBT cause.”

Foreign entities should not fund, support events like Pink Dot: MHA (CNA, 7 Jun 2016)

Grey areas in rule against ‘foreign sponsorship’ of Pink Dot (ST, 19 Jun 2016)

Will ‘follow-the-money’ formula work in changed landscape? (ST, 19 Jun 2016)

Clarity needed on ‘interference by foreign entities’ (AWARE, 20 June 2016)

Company sponsorships help LGBT groups provide support (TODAY, 24 Jun 2016)

Both sides of LGBT debate guilty of undue zeal on issue (TODAY, 24 Jun 2016)

Religious ideas, pro-LGBT ideals both stem from the West (TODAY, 28 Jun 2016)

  • HIV and Homosexuality (2016)

New HIV/Aids cases among gays highest in seven years (ST, 3 Jun 2016)

232 new HIV/Aids cases among homosexuals last year, a 27.5 per cent increase from 2014 and the highest number going back to 2009.(ST, 3 Jun 2016)

Voluntary HIV screening rate in Singapore “extremely worrying”: Action for Aids (CNA, 9 Jun 2016)

  • Same-sex kiss in Les Miserables (2016)

Les Miserables in Singapore: MDA to ‘take action’ over same-sex kiss (Yahoo, 11 Jun 2016)

That same-sex kiss in Les Misérables: did audience-goers really just watch the play? (Gwyneth Teo, 12 Jun 2016)

  • “Open fire” comment (2016)

Singaporean man threatens to ‘open fire’ in online comments on LGBT rally (AsiaOne, 13 Jun 2016)

Singaporean man advocates violence against LGBT community in Facebook post (Mothership.sg, 13 Jun 2016)

Bryan Lim’s comments caused anxiety in LGBT community (TODAY, 29 Jun 2016)

Man charged for threatening to ‘open fire’ on LGBT community in Singapore (CNA,  30 Jun 2016)

  • Lawrence Khong comments on Orlando shooting faces backlash (2016)

My heart was deeply grieved by the ruthless terrorist killing in Orlando. (FB, 14 Jun 2016)

I see that there has been much discussion on what I posted yesterday regarding the Orlando shooting. (FB, 15 Jun 2016)

Open letter to Pastor Lawrence Khong of FCBC (TOC, 15 Jun 2016)

  • Government will protect all regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation (2016)

Government will protect people regardless of race, religion or sexuality: Shanmugam (ST, 14 Jun 2016)

TODAY Online – Govt ‘will protect all, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation’ (gov.sg, 15 June 2016)

Zero tolerance for hate speech, says Shanmugam (ST, 19 June 2016)

  • Complaint about pork roast during Ramadan shows Kampung spirit of Singaporeans (2016)

Rilek1Corner (Netizen reactions)

All Singapore Stuff (Netizen reactions)

Invidiual who posted the comment (23 June 2016)

Complaint about pork roast during Ramadan draws out responses showing what S’pore is all about (Mothership.sg, 30 June 2016)

  • MUIS comment on terrorist attacks faces criticism from netizens

The Fight Against Radical Islam in Singapore (TOC, 5 July 2016)

Open Letter to: MUIS (CEMSG, 13 July 2016)

“TERRORISM HAS NO RELIGION”: DISCARD THIS DIVISIVE SLOGAN (Humanist Society, 25 Jul 2016)

  •  Responses of Singaporeans, government, opposition party members, and religious leaders on Muslim radicals (2016)

Mufti: S’pore Muslims should reject hateful teachings, isolationism (Today, 6 July 2016)

Harmony between different races, religions fundamental principle for Singapore: PM Lee (ST, 21 July 2016)

‘Reject views at odds with S’pore society’ (ST, 29 July 2016)

Singaporean Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff, 44, detained under ISA for promoting violence and ISIS, radicalising others (ST, 29 July 2016)

Those who preach extremism more dangerous than those who commit violence: Shanmugam (ST, 29 July 2016)

Singaporean detained for glorifying ISIS, inciting violence (ST, 30 July 2016)

Ministers, community leaders warn of terrorist ideology spreading online (ST, 30 July 2016)

Khan Osman Sulaiman’s post (*Malay-muslim candidate from Reform Party) (30 July 2016)

Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib (FB, 30 July 2016) 

Yaacob Ibrahim’s post

Masagos Zulkifli’s post

Amrin Amin’s post

Yaacob Ibrahim: ‘Senseless acts of terror’ are against Islam and do not represent Muslims (ST, 5 Jul 2016)

  • Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff family alleges falsehood by government and mainstream media, and question is raised on misuse of ISA (2016)

Family of ISA detainee issues statement to rebut allegations by MHA (TOC, 2 Aug 2016)

Clear evidence that detainee backed ISIS violence: Ministry (ST, 3 Aug 2016)

Statement by ISA detainee’s family misleading: MHA (TODAY, 2 Aug 2016)

ISA detainee’s family rebuts reasons behind arrest (TODAY, 2 Aug 2016)

Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib’s post

Rashid Hamid: Charge Zulfikar Shariff  Court, If Not, Singapore Same Like North Korea (R1C, 3 Aug 2016)

Soh Lung Teo’s post

Soh Lung Teo’s post

  • Bring back module on religious studies in public schools? (past – present)

Civics and moral education was introduced on 23 February 1991 to replace religious knowledge lessons in schools.

Best not to bring religious classes in schools (AsiaOne, 18 Sept 2009)

MOE to consider introducing module on race and religious issues: Heng (CNA, 8 Jul 2015)

Straits Times:

Religious literacy can add to common good (ST, 1 Mar 2016)

Religious studies can help foster good values (7 mar 2016)

Leave religious studies out of secular schools (19 Mar 2016)

Study of religions not the same as religious studies (23 Mar 2016)

Educate students about various religions, but don’t proselytise (23 Mar 2016)

Include atheism, freethinking in discourse on religions (28 Mar 2016)

NDR 2013: Edusave extended to include madrasah students (ST, 18 Aug 2013)

Muis gives awards for the first time to needy madrasah students who ace exams (ST, 30 Jan 2014)

Academic performance of madrasah students has improved: Yaacob (ST, 28 Feb 2015)

Exam fees waived for religious subjects for madrasah students (CNA, 18 Apr 2015)

Government to help madrasahs improve quality of education (ST, 1 Aug 2015)

No plans to increase Primary 1 intake of madrasahs: Yaacob (CNA, 19 Aug 2015)

NDR 2015: Govt to help strengthen teaching of secular subjects in madrasahs (CNA, 23 Aug 2015)

Positive response to enhanced Government support to madrasahs (CNA, 25 Aug 2015)

  • Islamic further education / religious teachers evolving landscape (2016)

Online Islamic portal launched for community to get religious knowledge from recognised sources (ST, 30 May 2016)

Religious teachers trained to counter extremism (ST, 10 May 2016)

Yaacob asks MUIS to study feasibility of setting up Islamic college in Singapore (TODAY, 15 Jul 2016)

Singapore to consider having an Islamic college: Dr Yaacob (TODAY, 15 Jul 2016)

All Islamic religious teachers to come under recognition scheme (ST, 2 Aug 2016):                          

The 10 year old Asatizah Recognition Scheme (begin in 2005), which recognises Islamic teachers who meet minimum standards to teach the religion here, will expand to reach out to all asatizah. Currently, about 80 per cent of asatizah here are under the scheme, which has certified about 1,700 religious teachers. Those who are not on the scheme include older teachers, who may not have had structured religious education, and informally trained younger teachers.

Muslim leaders call for all Islamic teachers to be registered (ST, 21 Aug 2016):

Muslim leaders here have called for a scheme that endorses religious teachers to be made stricter. They want all asatizah to be registered with the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS), started in 2005 to help Muslim Singaporeans assess and recognise qualified religious teachers.

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“In a multiracial country, there is political profit in dividing people, playing on race, religion, stoking up fears. (It’s) really unacceptable and I think morally reprehensible..You burn the Quran or any other holy book, you go to jail. No two ways about it. The government will not allow it here and for us to continue to succeed, I think we have to take that approach – protect everyone, don’t allow racial and religiously inflammatory remarks.”

quoted from Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam

Thank you for reading Offbeat Perspective’s article 🙂 

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PM Lee’s image credit: CNA

Farish A Noor image credit: CNA

Minister Shanmugam image credit: CNA

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One thought on “Muslim, Christian, LGBT, Humanist, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu sagas in Singapore from 2001 to June 2016

  1. Law and Home Affairs Minister Shanmugam has unequivocally and correctly said that the duty of the government is to protect all the people. I agree with him 100%.

    However, these are merely words and not reality. The punishments of our citizens for dissent is politics and to ensure and consolidate the political hegemony of the government. It is to serve the PAP’s interests at the expense of the citizens’ legitimate rights. This is wrong, unconscionable and totally unacceptable!

    I will not and never believe the government. In truth I condemn them. Words must be matched up with the appropriate deeds or actions. In Singapore, the government simply talk and will not honestly and openly admit their mistakes even though it is blindingly obvious!

    And, yes, They Are Above The Law!

    Like

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