Muis apologises for 'phrasing' of notice asking migrant workers to pray at dorms instead of mosques

Ali Kasim
The New Paper
April 17, 2023

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) has apologised for a notice it sent to the Bangladeshi migrant community requesting they perform the Hari Raya morning prayers on April 22 at their dormitories instead of mosques. 

In a letter from the Singapore Bangladeshi Society, sent on behalf of Muis, and addressed to “Bangladeshi Migrant Muslim Brothers in Singapore”, the request to the recipients read as follows:

“We have been advised to convey a message from Muis, requesting you celebrate Eid-Al-Fitr safely and responsibly by performing the Eid prayers at your respective dormitories. 

“This will help to avoid overcrowding and road blockages and ensure the health and safety of everyone.”

The letter was tweeted by @sharanvkaur on Sunday afternoon, and sparked a barrage of comments from netizens – most notably on Muis’ instagram page – who condemned the request. 

In response to the comments on their Instagram thread, Muis apologised for the “phrasing of the notice” during the late afternoon, saying they did not intend to “discriminate against our Muslim migrant brothers”.

Some netizens reacted in shock and disgust at the letter, prompting concerns at the treatment of migrant workers here. 

Twitter user Alif Sutrisno said: “Remember how we treated (the migrant workers) during the pandemic in the name of health and safety? We've let them down before. Please let's not do this again. 

“Our migrant worker brothers deserve all our kindness and generosity. We have to be better, and we have to be kinder.”

Many Muslim commenters also underscored the point that “all Muslims should be welcomed to the mosque for prayer, especially during Eid.”

Speaking to TNP, Shazalina Salim, an entrepreneur, said that regardless of how the statement is phrased, the intention of segregating and keeping a group of ummah (Muslim community) out, for any reason, is wrong. 

“Muis could have worked with dorms and picked a venue for the Muslim migrant workers to perform the Eid prayer together and have the session in Bengali – if its intention is to help the workers perform their Eid prayers in comfort – instead of just telling the workers to sort it out themselves. 

“They're celebrating Eid away from their family, the last thing they need is to have the community they work in tell them they're not welcomed."

In an Instagram post on Saturday, Muis said some 68 mosques are offering a total of 230,000 prayer spaces across three sessions on Hari Raya morning (April 22). 

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