SINGAPORE – American Muslim preacher Yusuf Estes was denied entry into Singapore on Nov 24 for having expressed views the authorities say are “unacceptable” and “contrary” to the values of Singapore’s multiracial and multi-religious society.
“Such divisive views breed intolerance and exclusivist practices that will damage social harmony, and cause communities to drift apart,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a reply to The Straits Times this week.
Mr Estes and his wife Khadijah had flown in to Changi Airport from Kuala Lumpur to join over 1,000 passengers on a spiritual cruise organised by Malaysia-based Islamic Cruise, which left Singapore Cruise Centre for Aceh in Indonesia last Saturday and returned on Wednesday.
Two other foreign preachers planning to speak on the same cruise had been banned from entering the Republic in October. MHA had said Zimbabwean Ismail Menk preached “segregationist and divisive teachings” while Malaysian Haslin Baharim had described non-Muslims as “deviant”.
The ministry confirmed this week that Mr Estes was denied entry, in consultation with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. The cruise organisers had been seeking views about Mr Estes as a “possible speaker”, MHA added.
It cited how Mr Estes had, in a 2012 video, said it was “not part of Islam to celebrate others’ holidays” or wish Christians “Merry Christmas” and Jews “Happy Hanukkah”. He also questioned the religious basis for Christmas in an article last December, and advised Muslims against “celebrating something that even the Christians should not be doing”. Mr Estes, who converted from Christianity to Islam in 1991, also said the Bible had many contradictions, called it an unreliable text, and expressed “intolerant views of non-Muslims”.
MHA said: “The Government will not allow religious preachers of any faith to run down other religions or spread ill-will among the various religious communities.”
When will the U.S. start banning foreign Islamic preachers from entering the U.S. and spreading Islamic jihad ideology?