Indonesian preacher banned from Singapore says he won’t give up trying to visit

SINGAPORE: An Indonesian preacher who was refused entry to Singapore on Monday May 16 said he would not give up trying to visit Singapore, describing the country as a Malay land similar to Riau from where he is native.

In a YouTube video on Wednesday, Abdul Somad Batubara said the people of Riau consider Singapore part of their land because Singapore is part of the Malay Kingdom of Temasek.

“Saying I’m sick of going to Singapore is like saying I’m sick of going to Minangkabau. It’s because Singapore is Malaysian land. My grandmother has brothers, children and grandchildren who live in Singapore,” he said. added.

Somad said that in visiting Singapore recently, his intention was to let his wife and children learn about their ancestors.

Somad and six people who were traveling with him arrived at the Tanah Merah ferry terminal on Monday and were placed on a ferry back to Batam the same day.

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said he was known to preach “extremist and segregationist” teachings, which are “unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society”.

“For example, Somad preached that suicide bombings are legitimate in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are considered ‘martyrdom’ operations,” the MHA added.

“He also made comments disparaging members of other religious communities, such as Christians, describing the Christian crucifix as the abode of an ‘infidel jinn (spirit/demon)’.”

Demonstrators gathered at the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta and the Singapore Consulate General in Medan on Friday to protest Singapore’s decision to deny Somad entry.

The protesters in Jakarta, who are members of the Defenders of Islamic Shariah Ideology (Perisai), demanded that the Singapore Embassy provide clarification on the incident and openly apologize.

The group also called for Singapore’s ambassador to Indonesia to be asked to leave the country.

In Medan, protesters gathered at a mosque and marched towards the Singapore Consulate General, demanding that Singapore be held responsible for Somad’s “deportation”.

Some carried posters and banners with messages such as ‘boycott Singapore products’ and ‘expel the Singaporean ambassador’.

A representative of the group reportedly said Singapore’s decision hurt Muslim feelings and affected Indonesia’s sovereignty.

In response to questions from the CNA, a senior official from Indonesia’s National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) said on Wednesday that Singapore had taken the decision because it was clear that exclusive and intolerant lectures, attitudes and opinions are the basic ingredients of radicalism.

“I see this as an important lesson for Indonesia to also take precautions upstream by prohibiting radical views, understandings and ideologies that can lead to acts of terror and violence,” Brigadier General Ahmad said. Nurwahid, who is the director in charge of terrorism prevention at the BNPT. .

He added: “The government, including BNPT, respects all policies taken by other countries. There is no attempt to intervene regarding the rejection of the arrival of preacher Abdul Somad and his entourage.

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