The pioneer generation of Muslims worked very hard in developing the way Islam is practised in Singapore, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday, as he urged the younger generation to carry on the efforts of their forebears.
Sharing his thoughts on this year's Aidilfitri sermon delivered at mosques across Singapore on Hari Raya, Dr Yaacob said the message calling on young Muslims to seek out a good Islamic education and carry on the principles of their forefathers is a "timely reminder".
He said the pioneer generation strived to ensure the teachings embraced here are based on the fundamentals of Islam and the religion is practised in Singapore's context of a secular society. It has also co-existed peacefully with other religions since Singapore's independence.
"We have something good going for us in Singapore and the Mufti is reminding all our young people that we should not throw away the tradition, but embrace it and find the right sources of our knowledge, refer ourselves back to the religious teachers who can guide us."
Speaking to the media after Aidilfitri prayers with 3,500 people at the Alkaff Kampung Melayu Mosque in Bedok Reservoir Road, Dr Yaacob noted there are "seductive ideas and views" online which can mislead youngsters. This was a point raised by Mufti Fatris Bakaram who, in his sermon, asked parents to approach their children wisely and with compassion when they do the wrong things.
Dr Fatris said the world sees Islam in two ways - one which promotes peace, moderation and prosperity, and the other which spreads radicalism and extremism.
He called on Muslims here to embrace a religious outlook that promotes peace and fosters progress, and that stands for justice, love and compassion.
Also commending the work of the pioneers, Dr Fatris said: "They built mosques, conducted dakwah (religious outreach) activities as well as charity work, and laid the foundations to ensure that we are able to continue to practise Islam in an organised and productive way.
"This is the Islam that we have inherited in Singapore, and this is the Islam that we want to pass on to our children."
Dr Yaacob, who is Minister for Communications and Information, added: "We open our doors, we embrace non-Muslims, we invite them to our homes... we show a sense of compassion, we show the spirit of gotong royong, or coming together.
"So these are good traits that we have been able to display, to show how our religious life in Singapore is consistent with the modern world and consistent with the Singapore society."
This article was first published on July 18, 2015.
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