SINGAPORE: The Indian imam in Singapore, who was expelled and fined for making divisive remarks against Christians and Jews during his Friday sermon at a mosque, has shown remorse and regret, Singapore's Law Minister said today.
K Shanmugam, who is also the Home Affairs Minister, called on the Imam, Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel, who was accompanied by members of the Federation of Indian Muslims and Jamae Chulia Mosque at Ba'alwie Mosque.
The Minister said Nalla had shown regret for his remarks and commended him for apologising to other faith leaders. "He also met the leaders of other faiths, including the Rabbi at the synagogue to apologise for his actions. That showed real sincerity and courage. I thought it would be good to meet and tell the Imam that I appreciated the sincerity with which he had shown his remorse," Shanmugam said of his decision to accept the invitation for the meeting.
The Channel News Asia showed Shanmugam embracing the Imam and handshaking with him in the presence of community leaders. Action "had to be taken against the Imam" but, referencing an earlier statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), "action against him was taken with some regret", he said.
The Imam had last week apologised in front of Christian, Sikh, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu representatives as well as members of the Federation of Indian Muslims, saying that he was "filled with great remorse" for the inconvenience, tension and trauma caused by his remarks.
MHA has said the Imam will be repatriated to his home country India. On Monday, Singapore ordered the expulsion of Nalla after he was handed a nearly USD 3,000 fine by a court here for making divisive remarks against Christians and Jews during his Friday sermon at a mosque.
Nalla pleaded guilty to a charge of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race at the State Courts.