Update: Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a statement regarding Abdul Somad being denied entry to the country: “Somad has been known to preach extremist and segregationist teachings, which are unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society. For example, Somad has preached that suicide bombings are legitimate in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and are considered “martyrdom” operations.”
Original story follows below.
Popular Indonesian preacher Abdul Somad was refused entry to Singapore, an official said, causing some measure of outrage among his legions of followers in Indonesia.
In an Instagram post from Monday evening, Abdul Somad, 44, insisted he was “deported” from Singapore. He shared a short clip showing what he claimed was a “jail-like” confined immigration detention room in Singapore before he had to leave the country.
When telling his side of the story in a YouTube video uploaded today, the preacher said he was not informed why he was told to leave the Little Red Dot but insisted that he had all the required documents for his visit. He openly criticized the Singaporean government and demanded an explanation as to why he was, as he put it, “rejected.”
According to reports, Abdul Somad, along with his family and friends, left the Batam ferry port on Monday to vacation in Singapore. Upon arrival, however, he and his travel party were held up for some three hours at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore before immigration officials told them to head back to Indonesia.
The news catapulted the term “Singapura” (Indonesian for Singapore) to the top of trending topics on Indonesian Twitter. A common thread among the tweets was Indonesians accusing Singaporean authorities of being Islamophobic.
Indonesia’s Ambassador to Singapore Suryopratomo clarified that Abdul Somad was not deported from Singapore, as he never passed immigration in the first place.
“Singapore’s ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority) imposed a ‘not to land’ (NTL) order on [Abdul Somad], as he did not meet the criteria to be eligible for visiting Singapore,” Surtyopratomo said today.
The diplomat added that Singapore’s authorities have yet to disclose the official reason for them refusing entry for Abdul Somad.
Though hugely popular in Indonesia, Abdul Somad has attracted a great deal of controversy due to his sermons in recent years. He notably suggested that chess was haram, or forbidden for Muslims, while numerous parties reported the cleric to the police for blasphemy for saying that the Christian cross contained “infidel genies”, but investigation into that case eventually stalled.