Singapore expels Indian Islamic teacher for divisive remarks

Singapore's interior ministry on Monday ordered the repatriation of an Indian Islamic teacher for an exhortation against Jews and Christians, saying there was no room for such remarks in a multi-religious society.

Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel, 47, was ordered to be sent home after he pleaded guilty at a district court to a charge of promoting enmity between different religious groups and was fined Sg$4,000 ($2,860).

"Nalla has paid the fine. He will be repatriated," the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.

The imam, or Muslim religious teacher, had recited a supplication in Arabic during a prayer session at a mosque in January, which translated as "Grant us help against the Jews and Christians", court documents showed.

A video of his remarks was uploaded by another person on Facebook in February, triggering a police investigation and the filing of charges.

"Recent events abroad have highlighted how the build-up of anger and resentment among different religious groups can lead to social friction and violence," the ministry said.

"The government has the responsibility to act quickly and firmly to repudiate divisive speech, even if the course of action is sometimes difficult."

Singapore is a mainly ethnic Chinese society with large Malay Muslim and Indian populations.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur said Singapore "cannot allow any person or group to sow discord or promote enmity among the different religious or racial groups when we have worked so hard as a society to achieve religious and racial harmony".

But the judge also said she imposed only a fine considering the "strong sense of remorse" shown by Nalla, who has apologised to different religious leaders and even visited a Jewish rabbi to offer his personal regrets.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said in a statement that Nalla's supplication "is not from the Quran and does not constitute part of the divine message".