Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam met Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel for breakfast on Wednesday (April 5). He expressed appreciation for the imam’s sincerity in apologising for the offensive remarks he had made against Jews and Christians, Todayonline reported on April 5.
Nalla, 46, an Indian national, was fined S$4,000 and will be repatriated for making comments which he knew was prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between the different religious groups in Singapore.
He admitted that the remarks were not in the Quran, but were his own interpretations.
The breakfast meeting was arranged by Imam Habib Hassan of Ba’alwie Mosque. Leaders from the Federation of Indian Muslims and the Jamae Chulia Mosque were also there.
In a video and photos provided by Ba’alwie Mosque, Nalla was seen in tears as he conversed with Shanmugam. The two men were also pictured hugging each other.
“I accepted Imam Hassan’s invitation to meet Imam (Nalla) and have breakfast with him. I thought it would be good to meet and tell the Imam that I appreciated the sincerity with which he had shown his remorse," said Shanmugam.
“Imam Nalla had shown remorse and regret for what he did. He also met the leaders of other faiths, including the rabbi, at the synagogue, to apologise for his actions. That showed real sincerity and courage.”
Last Friday, before he was charged, Nalla had apologised to 30 religious leaders of the Christian, Sikh, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu faiths, as well as members of the Federation of Indian Muslims at a meeting he had requested.
Two days later, he visited Rabbi Mordechai Abergel to extend his apology as the latter was not able to attend the Friday session.
Nalla said: “Singaporeans treasure the diversity and the harmony of her people, and I have no right nor justification to even attempt to shake or agitate them. That was the very reason why I fully understood and accepted the decision to prosecute me so as to maintain law and order," said Nalla in a farewell statement.
“This is a priceless lesson to me.”