Imam apologises for insensative remarks on Christians and Jews in Singapore
A Muslim reads in a mosque after Eid al Adha prayers in Singapore Reuters (Representational Image)

An imam, who was under police investigation for allegedly making insensitive comments about Christians and Jews during his Friday sermons at a mosque in Singapore, has apologised for his remarks. Noor Marican, the imam's lawyer, said the imam made the apology in front of members of the Indian Muslim association and other religious council members at the Ministry of National Development building on Friday morning.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugamhad said in Parliament that any sort of religious preaching that encourages violence or pits one religion against another will not be tolerated in Singapore.

A video of the man's comments that was uploaded on social media by an Investment associate Terence Nunis sparked widespread debate. Some people were seen criticizing the 40-year-old uploader for increasing tensions between religious groups, while others said that he was right in bringing the matter to light.

The video, which was apparently to be taken in early January, showed the imam saying a prayer after a sermon at Jamae Mosque in South Bridge Road. The imam, who is believed to be from South India, was heard using the Arabic word "fanswurna" when he spoke about Christians and Jews.

Nunis, who is a Muslim, had said the use of the word "fanswurna", which means "to overcome" or "to grant victory over" in relation to other religions is problematic. "In this case, the flavour is far from benign and the implicit meaning is more than just being better than them... but to dominate them," Nunis told The Straits Times.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim urged for calm in the Muslim community and said that "on such sensitive matters, it would be better to go to the authorities in the first instance, rather than online".