SINGAPORE — Indonesian preacher Abdul Somad Batubara and his six travel companions were denied entry into Singapore on Monday (16 May), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday.
The seven had arrived at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Somad was interviewed, after which the group was denied entry into Singapore and placed on a ferry back to Batam on the same day, MHA said, in response to queries from Yahoo News Singapore.
“Somad has been known to preach extremist and segregationist teachings, which are unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society,” MHA added.
The preacher had preached that suicide bombings are “martyrdom” operations that are legitimate in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, according to MHA. He has also denigrated members of other faiths, such as Christians, by describing the Christian crucifix as the dwelling place of an “infidel jinn (spirit/demon)”. Somad has also publicly referred to non-Muslims as “kafirs” (infidels).
MHA said a visitor’s entry into Singapore is neither automatic nor a right, with each case assessed on its own merits.
“While Somad had attempted to enter Singapore ostensibly for a social visit, the Singapore government takes a serious view of any persons who advocate violence and/or espouse extremist and segregationist teachings.”
The statement comes after the Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore Suryopratomo confirmed earlier in the day that Somad was not given permission to enter the city-state.
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