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Imam has shown sincere remorse, regret: Shanmugam

SINGAPORE — Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam met Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel for breakfast on Wednesday (April 5), at which he expressed appreciation for the imam’s sincerity in apologising for the offensive remarks he had made against Jews and Christians.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam sharing a hug with Iman Nalla on Wednesday morning. Photo: Ba’alwie Mosque

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam sharing a hug with Iman Nalla on Wednesday morning. Photo: Ba’alwie Mosque

SINGAPORE — Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam met Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel for breakfast on Wednesday (April 5), at which he expressed appreciation for the imam’s sincerity in apologising for the offensive remarks he had made against Jews and Christians.

Nalla, 46, an Indian national, was fined S$4,000 on Monday for committing an act which he knew was prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious groups and was likely to disturb the public tranquillity. 

He had made the controversial remarks, which he admitted were not in the Quran, after a sermon at Jamae Chulia Mosque in January. He will be repatriated.

The breakfast meeting was arranged by Imam Habib Hassan of Ba’alwie Mosque along Lewis Road. Leaders from the Federation of Indian Muslims and the Jamae Chulia Mosque were also there. 

In a video and photos provided by Ba’alwie Mosque, Nalla was seen in tears as he conversed with Mr Shanmugam. The two men were also pictured hugging each other.

Commenting on their meeting, Mr Shanmugam said: “I accepted Imam Hassan’s invitation to meet Imam (Nalla) and have breakfast with him. I thought it would be good to meet and tell the Imam that I appreciated the sincerity with which he had shown his remorse. 

“Imam Nalla had shown remorse and regret for what he did. He also met the leaders of other faiths, including the rabbi, at the synagogue, to apologise for his actions. That showed real sincerity and courage.”

Last Friday, before he was charged, Nalla had apologised to 30 religious leaders of the Christian, Sikh, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu faiths, as well as members of the Federation of Indian Muslims at a meeting he had requested.

Two days later, he visited Rabbi Mordechai Abergel to extend his apology as the latter was not able to attend the Friday session.

In a statement and farewell message on Wednesday, Nalla said: “Singaporeans treasure the diversity and the harmony of her people, and I have no right nor justification to even attempt to shake or agitate them. That was the very reason why I fully understood and accepted the decision to prosecute me so as to maintain law and order.

“This is a priceless lesson to me.”

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