Singapore Imam to Be Deported for Sermon Against Jews and Christians

The Imam visited local Maghain Aboth Synagogue Sunday to extend his apologies for his controversial remarks before being charged.

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Imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel (L), 47, arrives with his lawyer at the State court in Singapore on April 3, 2017.
Imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel (L), 47, arrives with his lawyer at the State court in Singapore on April 3, 2017. Credit: STR/AFP

Singapore Imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel was fined 4000 Singapore dollars ($2864) on Monday and will now be deported to his native India after a video surfaced from one of his sermons in which he recited a text that included the supplication, “God help us against the Jews and the Christians.” 

The text read out during Friday prayers at Singapore's Jamae Chulia mosque in January was not a Quranic excerpt, but rather has been described as an old Arabic text that originated from the Imam's native village in India.

In an effort to make amends, the imam paid a visit to Singapore's Maghain Aboth Synagogue on Sunday morning in order to apologize to the community for any offense that he may have caused.

The community leader, Rabbi Mordechai Abergel, accepted his apology on and reportedly stressed the need to maintain Singapore's delicate harmonious co-existence, given the extent of diversity on the small island.

According to The Straits Times, Rabbi Abergel referred to a "very harmonious" relationship with the local Muslim community, characterised by strong bonds of friendship. He went on to thank Imam Nalla Mohamed for his visit saying that it "sends a message that these bonds are not affected, and we share so much more than what divides us,"

Local representatives of the Buddhist and Sikh communties were also present at the synagogue meeting. The imam also extended apologies to Christian, Taoist, Hindu and Muslim representatives, saying that he was "filled with great remorse" for the tensions caused by his remarks.

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs released a statement Monday saying that "any religious leader from any religion who makes such statements will be held accountable for their actions," and reiterated that, "under Singapore law, we cannot, regardless of his religion, allow anyone to preach or act divisively and justify that by reference to a religious text."