Singapore’s Official Religious Watchdog Asleep At The Switch But Thanks To An Alert Citizen Mr. Terence Nunis

(Posted March 5, 2017, on the Facebook wall of ‘A Muslim Convert Once More’, timeline Feb. 24)

In the early months of 2017, MUIS, Singapore’s official religious monitor of the Islamic faith, was asleep at the wheel. It dropped its guard and overlooked a potentially troublemaking firebrand of an imam citing non-Quranic fiery verses in his sermon — verses that could well redound to discord among Muslims, Jews and Christians locally.

Thankfully, a perceptive member within the flock exposed the imam in a video on his Facebook. Hats off to Mr. Nunis (aka A Muslim Convert Once More) whose timely action could well in fact be a stitch in time that saves nine. An official investigation is now underway.

The religious tranquility that has resonated down the decades since the nation’s Independence in multi-creed Singapore, could be attributed to the proactive role of government, acting as referee to ensure not just fair play for all faiths but more importantly against any purportedly naughty foul plays.

The most recent example of religious foul play that got nipped in the bud was that of Amos Yee. But going back a little further to 2010, one would recall the controversy generated by Senior Pastor Rony Tan of the Lighthouse Church. Accordingly, Pastor Tan uttered mocking remarks about the Buddhist faith, in effect derogating it as pseudo-religion. That was enough to warrant ISD to step in to interview him which resulted in his subsequent issuance of a public apology for his faux pas.

Faith practitioners much like competitors in sports, are naturally prejudiced against their opposite numbers. Occasionally, some overzealous ones would get carried away and even resort to foul play, all in the name of winning for the team. It is all the more reason then, religious organizaion cannot simply be left to its own devices especially in a multi-religious society like Singapore, lest we live to rue it someday like London, Paris and Brussels for instance, where radicalization has run amok. 

Per Mr. Nunis’ Facebook revelation, the currently suspended imam, who is a foreign visiting cleric at Masjid Jamae on South Bridge Road, made incendiary remarks (in Arabic tongue no less) against so-called infidels (Jews and Christians) on 2 different occasions, the first going back almost 2 months on Jan. 6.

Regrettably, all the while, MUIS the Government religious watchdog, was asleep at the wheel. But thanks to the responsive action of an enlightened, alert fellow citizen like Mr. Munis, the nation could rest a tad easier; the status quo of religious harmony here at home wasn’t compromised despite the remissness of MUIS.


March 8, 2017  Hazelchocs Love Chocs It’s still under investigation. Our MUIS leaders are not asleep. Terence got a warning letter from the 👮.

Lester Kok Hi Hazelchocs, I beg yr pardon, did you mean the presently suspended imam received a warning and is currently being investigated by MUIS/police authority but not Terence himself? Terence did only the very right thing to expose such potential firebrand and bring such character to heel before he lets his belligerent imagination run away with him. Again, I take my hat off to Mr. Terence Nunis. Evidently, MUIS was slow to tumble to the imam’s fiery exhortations which should never be allowed in multi-religious Singapore.
A Muslim Convert Once More Terence Nunis did not get a warning. He is the complainant. The investigation is still ongoing.
Hazelchocs Love Chocs  Hi. Oops.. apparently a public fb post was addressed to Mr Shanmugam claiming Mr Terence got a warning. My bad, my apologies for that. It’s still under investigation.
Lester Kok  Hi Hazelchocs, is sweet of you to acknowledge the ‘oops’ … Mr. Nunis would appreciate that.
A Muslim Convert Once More  I understand that there is a lot being said at the moment. And we all understand that much of what is being said, comes from a place of emotion, and not facts, for all sides.

This is Terence Nunis here. That was from my father, a man who was vehemently opposed to my conversion to Islam, and it took years for him to even accept it. In his attempt to help his son, his inadvertently putting it on my Wall only exacerbated the situation. He got facts wrong, just like most people. He is an old man, with his own conditions, taking care of his wife of more than forty years, my mother, who is dying of Stage IV cancer, and is not expected to live out the year.
When I converted to Islam, as far as he understood then, is that he lost a son. And now, with all the blatant untruths being happily passed around by the fashionably outraged, he thought he was going to lose his son again. I had to contact family and friends privately and tell them to let it go, and not defend me.As it is, after more than a decade of telling my parents that Islam is a wonderful religion, and hoping my mother would consider it in her last days, they saw racism and insults, people putting other converts in danger, dragging in the wider Eurasian and Christian community.Some members of the Muslim community want to argue that my reporting an untoward act makes the Muslims “look bad”. Their disgraceful behaviour, however, has done more to besmirch the reputation of the Muslims than any outright act of terrorism. As far as they see it, we have Muslims misbehaving, being excessively emotional, judgemental and even racist. Converts to Islam all over the world can see the anti-convert comments, damaging the reputation of Muslims in Singapore.In all that, two salient facts were either misreported or lost: that MUIS were informed and did nothing for more than six weeks before this act was repeated, and the offensive two lines are neither from the Qur’an nor the ahadits. So, even the simple task of reporting the truth is neglected.
Hazelchocs Love Chocs  Thks for replying. Hope your family and especially your mum stay strong in overcoming HIS tests. In Sya Allah.

Appreciate the pertinent background information you added to the thread. Briefly, a couple of follow-up comments:

1. Sorry to learn of yr mom’s terminal condition; hope you all will get to spend some quality moments together while time permits.

2. Personal inter-faith conversion has often proved to be a very thorny and touchy family matter; I’ve heard and read about what deep, enduring familial friction it brought. Trust yr dad will eventually, despite after such a long while, begin to reconcile with yr spiritual status quo through the appreciation of yr continued growth and positive contribution to your adopted faith .

3. In any religious setting, there are always extreme elements interspersed across the spectrum. It is heartening to note though, Southeast Asia has not turned out to be a hotbed of fundamentalism. Where Islam is concerned, in the world’s most populous Islamic nation in this region, there is encouraging evidence of moderation and tolerance — Ahok will likely be returned as the Christian mayor in the capital Jakarta this April notwithstanding the devious machinations of radical forces at work against his faith. And while the state of race/religion/politics in Malaysia can be tenuous, the fundamentalist outliers in that nation are by and large kept in check. As for the tiny red dot, the successful maintenance of harmonious co-existence among the various religions here is a feather in the government’s cap.                                                                                                 

4. The current controversy issuing from the video should be resolved in yr favor barring any hitherto untold story. Despite the displeasure (to be expected naturally) of some fellow worshippers consequent on yr revelation, overall, the community at large clearly rallies behind what you did for good reason. Not that it really matters here, but I’m still a little unclear as to whether it was yr dad or you who posted the above video coupled with the commentary … what is this ‘it’ when you wrote about ‘his inadvertently putting it on my Wall’?

5. I passingly read yr critical comment on Wahhabism which you analogized it to being a hijack (my paraphrase) of the Vatican by Westboro Baptist Church. And if I may hazard to opine here, Muslims have reasons to begrudge Christians their Protestant movement of the 16th century courtesy of a Catholic renegade; the resultant Lutheran Reformation did profoundly help shape the growth and expansion of the Christian franchises the world over, reaping today the fruits of the largest faith following for its brand. Islam like most other major religions is based on the written text; all written words are subject to tendentious interpretations bar none. It’s always a regrettable phenomenon when a religion is held hostage by orthodox elements within. Wahhabism and Salafism are 2 examples of what may be termed reactionary strains within the faith that have arrested its growth as a universal religion; such fundamentalism has had not only ossified many an Islamic custom and institution for the worse but also has had radicalized its base towards violence globally. Alas, the state of Islam in the 21st century leaves much to be desired, ever beckoning and encoring the return of the likes of Atatürk to the world stage — IMHO.

A Muslim Convert Once More Those are pertinent points.

Thank you very much for your kind words and consideration for my parents. I appreciate that.
The video could not have been recorded by my father. He is not a Muslim and did not attend the prayers. It was recorded by a Muslim. Also, he would not know how to record it.All pertinent information and more has been Porto the authorities. I know you will understand that I cannot comment in depth on it. Nevertheless, I have faith in the system. And I have faith in our secular government.Wahhabism is less an analogy of Protestantism as a whole, and more that of a reactionary, literalist interpretation of the religion with elements of bigotry, misogyny and hate. It is the underlying ideology of every major Islamist terror group. It is not so much that they have ossified the religion as that they have taken it in the direction of engaging in perpetual war against “disbelievers”. You and I are “disbelievers”.


 Lester Kok Hi Terrence, I would appreciate yr take on jizya, if you have a minute. How knowledgeable are you on that subject? … details of which I find lacking on the Net, e.g., whether it exists today merely as a historical term. Does any Muslim country presently impose such a tax? If so, do you view its imposition a corruption of the Koranic scripture on the order of say bigotry and misogyny that you have previously mentioned? As well, if you will, elaborate on the Zakat practice here locally and elsewhere, how is that administered? Thanks in advance.
 A Muslim Convert Once More Jizyah is a form of tax found in the caliphates and their successor states. It applied to non-Muslim males of military age and fitness. In lieu of serving in the military, they paid a poll tax so that they were exempted. Those who served in the military and police were not required to pay it.

There was no set rate for jizyah, although historically, it was almost always lower than zakat. This meant that the non-Muslims paid less taxes than if they were under the Byzantines of Persians.

With regards zakat, there are two kinds of zakat: zakat al-fithrah, and zakat al-mal. The former is collected only at the end of Ramadhan, just before the prayer for ‘Iyd al-Fithr, or known locally as Aidilfitri. This zakat, charity tax, is to ensure the poor and destitute had food at the end of the fasting month. The price is equivalent to one staple meal.

Zakat al-mal, the zakat on wealth, is from the savings and excess. One fortieth of this tithe is taken, as long as the excess was above a specific amount known as the nisab, and there for at least a year, the period known as the hawl.

The tithe is distributed to the poor, the destitute, the stranded travellers, used for the emancipation of those in bondage, the ones who collect and distribute the zakat, the debtors, the seekers of truth, and those traveling in the way of God.

In Singapore, zakat may be paid to MUIS or its designated collectors, or one may give directly to those in need.

Lester Kok Thanks Terrence for yr helpful information. I posed the question to get a better sense of the historical appeal of the religion to those outside the faith, in particular, the Caliphate’s treatment of kafirs via taxation. I have also wondered, historically as a religion whether Islam with its simplicity of appeal was ever a golden mean between the exclusivity of Judaism and the onerousness of Catholicism. Of course Protestantism came along and liberated the religion breathing into it a new lease on life. But tension and competition among the 3 monotheistic religions had always been in evidence. Sadly though such religious rivalry has morphed from past state-sanctioned warfares into individual terrorist operations by radicalised lone wolves. Recent such attacks waged by homegrown Islamic extremists in Berlin, Nice, Brussels, Paris, and in American cities, further highlight the corruption and susceptibility of mind to religious abuse … much to my chagrin I would hasten to say yestereday’s Westminster attack is as likely as not just another of those hideous related reminders. It is a sad commentary on the present-day state of Islamic fanatical militancy courtesy of wilful misread of the Quran by a handful.

A Muslim Convert Once More As a former Catholic theologian, I was never impressed with Protestantism. The way I look at it, people like Luther and Calvin took something nuanced and made it simplistic. The only good that really came out of the Reformative was the Counter-Reformation.

I take theology seriously, and I have sat in Bible study groups by Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists and others. These people interpret the Bible according to their whims and fancies, calling it being “moved by the spirit”; I prefer a scientific approach. That is why I read it in Koine Greek, Latin and Hebrew. There has to be a historical context to everything.

In the same vein, I have a very dim. Jew of Muslim Reformation and its bastard child, Wahhabism. I am extremely hostile to the Wahhabi sect. It is not a coincidence that every major terrorist group and every attack is perpetrated by this heretical sect. We eliminate Wahhabism, by destroying, banning its literature and proscribing its preachers, and we have addressed more than 90% of “Muslim” terrorism.


April 8, 2017

Lester Kok Mr. Nunis, may I share with you what I posted on my blog shown below. My Take On The Terrence Nunis-Mosque Video Controversy


A Muslim Convert Once More
A Muslim Convert Once More Just to point out, my name, “Terence”, has one “r”, and I am a convert to Islam, not a revert. The term “revert” is actually derogatory. I was not made to delete the post. It is actually still there in a different format, without the drama. Aside from that, I appreciate the sentiments in your post.
Lester Kok
Lester Kok Thanks for the correction.
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