Sunday, 19 July 2015

Carry on work of pioneers, Yaacob urges Muslims

Pioneer generation strived to develop the way that Islam is practised here, says minister
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 18 Jul 2015

The pioneer generation of Muslims worked very hard in developing the way Islam is practised in Singapore, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday, as he urged the younger generation to carry on the efforts of their forebears.

Sharing his thoughts on this year's Aidilfitri sermon delivered at mosques across Singapore on Hari Raya, Dr Yaacob said the message calling on young Muslims to seek out a good Islamic education and carry on the principles of their forefathers is a "timely reminder".

He said the pioneer generation strived to ensure the teachings embraced here are based on the fundamentals of Islam and the religion is practised in Singapore's context of a secular society. It has also co-existed peacefully with other religions since Singapore's independence.

"We have something good going for us in Singapore and the Mufti is reminding all our young people that we should not throw away the tradition, but embrace it and find the right sources of our knowledge, refer ourselves back to the religious teachers who can guide us."

Speaking to the media after Aidilfitri prayers with 3,500 people at the Alkaff Kampung Melayu Mosque in Bedok Reservoir Road, Dr Yaacob noted there are "seductive ideas and views" online which can mislead youngsters. This was a point raised by Mufti Fatris Bakaram who, in his sermon, asked parents to approach their children wisely and with compassion when they do the wrong things.

Dr Fatris said the world sees Islam in two ways - one which promotes peace, moderation and prosperity, and the other which spreads radicalism and extremism.

He called on Muslims here to embrace a religious outlook that promotes peace and fosters progress, and that stands for justice, love and compassion.

Also commending the work of the pioneers, Dr Fatris said: "They built mosques, conducted dakwah (religious outreach) activities as well as charity work, and laid the foundations to ensure that we are able to continue to practise Islam in an organised and productive way.

"This is the Islam that we have inherited in Singapore, and this is the Islam that we want to pass on to our children."

Dr Yaacob, who is Minister for Communications and Information, added: "We open our doors, we embrace non-Muslims, we invite them to our homes... we show a sense of compassion, we show the spirit of gotong royong, or coming together.

"So these are good traits that we have been able to display, to show how our religious life in Singapore is consistent with the modern world and consistent with the Singapore society."

It's been quite some time since I visited Alkaff Kg Melayu Mosque. Performed the Hari Raya Aidilfitri prayers yesterday...
Posted by Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday, July 17, 2015

This Ramadan has been especially meaningful for me. I was very touched by the efforts of many of us – young and old from...
Posted by Yaacob Ibrahim on Thursday, July 16, 2015

Muslims 'can be confident of brighter future'
By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Straits Times, 17 Jul 2015

The end of Ramadan this year comes as Singapore marks an important milestone, and the Muslim community has every reason to be confident of a brighter future, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim.

In his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message to Muslims yesterday, he noted that the community had progressed alongside the country and contributed to the nation in the past 50 years.

"We have come a long way since Singapore's independence," he said. "Perils abounded in that turbulent era, but together, we overcame our challenges."

Dr Yaacob, who is Minister for Communications and Information, noted that Singapore as well as his community have built strong institutions founded on the values of integrity, meritocracy, equality of opportunities and multiculturalism.

"Our leaders continue to work hard to ensure that we remain a fair and inclusive society, by empowering Singaporeans and supporting their aspirations."

Over the month of Ramadan, Muslims showed greater spiritual devotion and stronger community spirit - in many cases breaking their dawn-to-dusk fast with neighbours and friends of various faiths.

Dr Yaacob also said that though trials lie ahead as Singapore moves past its 50th year, "there is every reason to be sure of a brighter future, as long as we stand together as one united Singapore".

"During Ramadan, our mosques, organisations and homes were open to all, reflecting the quiet confidence of our community, that we are thankful for what we have, and that we share what we have with everyone else.

"This is the spirit that will carry our community forward into the future, confident that we can navigate the uncertainties together, assured that the future is ours to make, and happy that Singapore remains the best home for our families and community."

People from all walks of life - from imams, cabbies and philanthropists to students and housewives - had chipped in to make this Ramadan special, the minister said.

He was also heartened to see many groups, especially the young, stepping up to help those in need, and in particular, the SG50 Kita committee which organised a Service to the Nation Week during Ramadan. The committee, which coordinates the community's SG50 celebrations, brought together mosques, community groups and volunteers to reach out to others through activities such as sprucing up the homes of needy families.

In sending his and his fellow MPs' greetings for the occasion, Dr Yaacob also urged all Singaporeans to come together "to chart an even better future".

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