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05/20/2022 Singapore (International Christian Concern) – An Indonesian Muslim cleric was denied entry into Singapore because of his “extremist and segregationist teachings” that target other religions, including Christianity.   

Abdul Somad Batubara, who boasts a large online following in Indonesia, was stopped and refused entry at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on May 16 after arriving from Batam in Indonesia’s Riau Islands with his family. He and his traveling companions were sent back to Batam the same day. 

 In a short video posted on his YouTube channel on May 17, he said his visit was for a holiday, not for religious purposes.  “They gave me no explanation for refusing me entry before we were sent back on the last ferry that day,” he said. He was once denied entry into Timor Leste in 2018 over a terrorism allegation.  

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs later said Somad was turned away as he was considered a security risk.  

“Somad has been known to use extremist and segregationist rhetoric, which is unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its website on May 17.  

The ministry said he had insulted those from other faiths, describing the Christian crucifix as the dwelling place of demons and publicly referring to non-Muslims as infidels.  

In 2019, Somad came under fire over a video uploaded on social media in which he referred to Christ as an “infidel on a cross” and called the cross a “symbol of the devil.”  

His answer sparked anger among Christians across Indonesia. Catholic university students in East Nusa Tenggara province protested, demanding his arrest following his inflammatory comments.   

Vincentius Hargo Mandirahardjo, chairman of the Jakarta-based Association of Indonesian Catholic Intellectuals, said Singapore’s entry refusal of Somad came as no surprise.  

“All religious teachings are good. However, both Muslim and non-Muslim preachers must be very careful about the words they use. Their words must help strengthen religious tolerance, not weaken it,” he told UCA News.  

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