Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Indonesian Muslim cleric Abdul Somad Batubara has been refused entry to Singapore with the country pointing to his extremist belief.
"Somad has been known to preach extremist and segregationist teachings, which are unacceptable in Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious society," the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement late Tuesday.
"For example, Somad has preached that suicide bombings are legitimate in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and are considered 'martyrdom' operations. He has also made comments denigrating members of other faith communities, such as Christians, by describing the Christian crucifix as the dwelling place of an 'infidel jinn [spirit]'," the statement reads.
Somad also has publicly referred to non-Muslims as infidels, it said.
On Monday, he arrived at Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal from Batam accompanied by his wife, their child, and four other people.
"Somad was interviewed, following which the group was denied entry into Singapore and placed on a ferry back to Batam on the same day," the ministry said, adding that a visitor's entry into Singapore "is neither automatic nor a right".
"Each case is assessed on its own merits. While Somad had attempted to enter Singapore ostensibly for a social visit, the Singapore Government takes a serious view of any persons who advocate violence and/or espouse extremist and segregationist teachings," it said.
Indonesian authorities including immigration officials, the National Police, and the ambassador to Indonesia have said they wouldn't and couldn't interfere in Singapore's decision to ban entry of Somad and his companions.