Islamic group to get $250k from Muis

Islamic group to get $250k from Muis
(From left) Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information and Communication and Minister in-charge of Muslim Affairs; Dr Mohd Maliki Osman, Minister of State for Defence and National Development; Madam Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament; and Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower, browsing at the reference materials which were prepared at the Religious Rehabilitation Group's (RRG) Religious Counselling Centre (RCC) at Khadijah mosque on 25 November 2014.

A group of Islamic religious teachers, whose mission is to counter radical ideology in Singapore, will be given $50,000 yearly for the running of their resource and counselling centre.

The grant from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) is for five years, starting next year.

The money is to help the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) pay the centre's utility bills, employ at least one full-time worker, and update information panels around the centre, among other things, said the group's vice-chairman, Mr Mohamed Ali, yesterday.

He was speaking to reporters after a closed-door dialogue held at the centre among RRG members, Muis officers and four Malay/Muslim MPs.

The RRG was formed in 2003 to counsel Jemaah Islamiah (JI) detainees in Singapore.

Since then, it has widened its scope, organising talks on extremism in schools here, and distributing information on Islamic teachings online.

The group opened the centre at Khadijah Mosque in Geylang Road in July this year and it is run by volunteers.

Open to the public, the centre has training and workshop facilities, counselling rooms, and a reference room with books on Islamic teachings and methods to encourage those influenced by extremist ideology to adopt more moderate views.

It also has a gallery of panels showcasing the RRG's work over the years.

The RRG currently receives donations from the community, and its activities are supported by Khadijah Mosque.

Muis chief executive Abdul Razak Maricar said the centre is part of the good work done by the RRG and needs to be supported by the community.

Another concern of the RRG is leadership renewal, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who attended the dialogue.

The group needs to draw in young religious leaders to keep it going in the years ahead, he added.

The other MPs at the dialogue were Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi and Minister of State for National Development and Defence Mohamad Maliki Osman.

Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, said the group is looking at expanding its role, "going beyond terrorism and looking at how they can promote religious and social harmony in Singapore".

He added: "This is going to be a long battle... You cannot continue to focus on just the threat of terrorism, but (should) also look at its impact on Singapore society."


This article was first published on November 26, 2014.
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