On 16 May, an Indonesian preacher was denied entry into Singapore.
The preacher, Abdul Somad Batubara, and six of his travel companions were stopped at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal before being made to turn back to Batam.
But this is not the last we will see of him as on Saturday (21 May), Somad made it clear on video that he will not give up trying to visit Singapore as he considered the country as Malay land, similar to Riau where he is from.
Alleged Intention of Visit was to Reconnect Family with Ancestors
According to CNA, Somad said that people in Riau see Singapore as part of their land as Singapore was part of the Temasek Malay Kingdom in the past.
It was also known as Kingdom of Singapura, established from 1299 until its fall in 1398.
“To say that I’m tired of going to Singapore is the same as saying I’m tired of going to Minangkabau. This is because Singapore is a Malay land. My grandmother has brothers, children, and grandchildren who live in Singapore,” said Somad.
Somad said that the trip was to have his wife and children get to know their ancestors.
Rejected Entry due to Known Extremist Teachings
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the grounds of denying Somad entry is due to his preaching of “extremist and segregationist” teachings that is unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.
He also justified the suicide bombings that occurred in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict as he believed they were considered “martyrdom” operations.
Furthermore, Somad had also made comments that criticised other religions by describing the Christian crucifix as the dwelling place of an “infidel jinn (demon)”.
Protest Occurring at Singapore Embassies
However, denying Somad entry has triggered a slew of protests outside of Singapore.
Protestors have gathered at the Singapore embassy in Jakarta and the Singapore consulate-general in Medan on Friday, rallying against Singapore’s decision to deny Somad’s entry.
These protestors who are members of the Islamic Sharia Ideology Defenders (Perisai) demanded that the Singapore embassy provide clarification over the incident and apologise openly.
The group also called for Singapore’s ambassador to Indonesia to be asked to leave the country.
In Medan, protestors gathered at a mosque and marched towards the Singapore consulate-general, demanding Singapore be held accountable over the “deportation” of Somad.
Some carried posters and banners with messages writing “boycott Singapore products” and “expel Singapore ambassador”.
A representative from the same group had reportedly said that Singapore’s actions had hurt the feelings of Muslims and affected Indonesia’s sovereignty.
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