Religious leaders confident tudung issue will be given appropriate attention

hijab on mannequinIllustration: Hijabs on display at a market. The term comes from the Arabic word for ‘veil’ or ‘screen’


(CNA) – Singapore’s highest Islamic authority Mufti said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong understands that the tudung is an important issue for Muslims.

The Prime Minister held his first dialogue session on Saturday with the Malay-Muslim community on the issue.

During the dialogue session, Singapore’s Mufti Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram said the Prime Minister understood the natural desire and aspiration of a Muslim, which is to be allowed to practice his or her religious obligations as much as possible.

The Mufti also apologised for abusive language by netizens on the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in the public service.

“I sincerely apologise on behalf of some of the Malay community who might get carried away by their emotions in expressing their thoughts. They might not understand how difficult it is to solve the issue. I regret that their usage of language is inappropriate,” said Dr Mohamed.

Some religious leaders said they hope to see change and are confident the Prime Minister will give this issue the most appropriate attention.

“PM Lee shared examples when some participants picture us as ‘sparring partners’, but PM Lee in all honesty said we are not a sparring partner but a dancing partner,” said Haji Mohamad Hasbi Hassan, president of Pergas.

The dialogue session gave Malay-Muslim leaders and those in the community the opportunity to have a frank exchange about the tudung issue.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who participated in the two-hour discussion, said the changes cannot be sudden.