22 January 2016
Mosques here frequented by foreign workers face challenges in reaching out to them to provide proper religious guidance due to the language barrier and a lack of resources, among other factors.
A check with four mosques in the Little India and Bugis area found that, for example, there are no religious classes catered to Bangladeshi and Indian workers who are regularly seen at the sermons. While the mosques welcome all to join its existing classes for the public, there are few foreigners on their books as the programmes are not publicised among migrant workers, the mosque leaders and administrators told TODAY.
They added that the mosques do not have the means to effectively engage the foreign workers, beyond conducting sermons in the workers’ native languages sometimes.
… Terrorism experts TODAY spoke to said that, in light of the arrests of the Bangladeshi workers, there is a need to step up efforts to reach out to foreign workers here to provide proper religious guidance. “Otherwise, the workers may seek guidance from foreign sources that may turn out to be extremist,” said Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna, head of policy studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).
He suggested that the Bangladesh High Commission in Singapore join hands with MUIS to identify and bring in respected and accredited preachers. “Alternatively, local preachers accredited by MUIS and possessing the necessary language ability need to be found,” he added.
Professor Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at RSIS, said mosques should team up with institutions with an expertise in working with the youth, such as the Religious Rehabilitation Group, to develop programmes to “engage vulnerable foreign workers to ensure they do not go down the path of radicalisation”.
GPO / ICPVTR / RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 25/01/2016