Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge for Muslim Affairs with regard to the case of the self-styled prophet exposed by The Straits Times on 9 November 2020 (a) whether he can confirm whether MUIS received a complaint or report made against the said individual in 2015 and, if so, what actions were taken then; and (b) what is the outcome of the investigation into the case after it was opened for public feedback up till 11 December 2020.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs & Minister for Social and Family Development:
- On 9 November 2020, the Straits Times reported the case of an individual who allegedly promulgated deviant teachings. The report noted that the said individual was not a certified religious teacher under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS), and that he described himself as a prophet.
- Muis first received a complaint against the said individual on 6 October 2015. Muis officers met the complainant, together with other individuals who had information on the complaint. Based on the information provided then, there was insufficient evidence for Muis to take further action against the said individual.
- Between October 2015 and October 2017, Muis continued to investigate the matter based on additional information provided by the same complainants. The matter was presented to the Fatwa Committee in November 2017.
- In early 2018, the Fatwa Committee invited relevant individuals to be interviewed by the Mufti and selected members of the Fatwa Committee. After further investigation, the Fatwa Committee ruled that some of the said individual’s religious beliefs had no basis in religious sources and traditions. Hence, Muis took the following actions:
a. Muis issued a letter to the individual, instructing him to immediately stop rendering healing services;
b. The individual was instructed by the Fatwa Committee to cease propagating ideas and practices that were not taken from credible religious sources to members of the public; and
c. The Fatwa Committee also advised the individual to seek religious knowledge from credible and qualified asatizah.
- Following the Straits Times article in November 2020, where additional information on the case was reported, Muis reopened the case for investigation. Muis sought the community’s assistance for any new information and evidence in this case. Investigations are ongoing. Muis will share its findings with the public when ready.
- In all such cases, Muis and its Fatwa Committee took appropriate measures and dealt with such cases of false/deviant teachings through the issuance of fatwa, counselling, and public education. However, Muis can only act based on strong evidences that can be furnished.
- Muis as the highest religious authority for Islam in Singapore, has and will continue to provide religious guidance and advice to the community on the dangers of deviant teachings. Muis also encourages the community to be responsible for their own religious learning and seek religious guidance only from credible sources and asatizah registered under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS).