AN ISLAMIC religious teacher has launched an online campaign asking Muslims to wear white next Saturday evening to protest against homosexuality and defend traditional family values.
Ustaz Noor Deros, 28, is behind the Wear White Facebook page and website and is asking Muslims to "return to fitrah" - the Arabic word for "natural" - and support "what is good and pure".
The Muslim month of Ramadan starts on Sunday next week and the first evening prayer to mark the fasting month will be held on Saturday evening.
That Saturday is also when the Pink Dot picnic - an annual event promoting "the freedom to love" regardless of sexual orientation - will be held. It is organised by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Mr Noor, who teaches religious classes at Hajar Consultancy Services in Joo Chiat, writing on the campaign website, said: "The natural state of human relationships is now under sustained attack by LGBT activists." He said that holding the Pink Dot event on the eve of Ramadan showed their "disdain for Islam and the family".
He urged Muslims to "stand up and defend the sanctity of family" and wear white to the first terawih prayers that day.
His is not the first group to attempt a protest against the Pink Dot event this year. Christian group Touch Family Services wanted to hold a family picnic on the same day but cancelled the event after the Urban Redevelopment Authority rejected its application to hold it at the Padang.
According to the Facebook pages of the Wear White community and Mr Noor, the campaign was launched two weeks ago and discussions took place at the Hasanah Mosque in Jurong East.
The campaign symbol is a white droplet against a black background, which some supporters are now using as their Facebook profile picture.
They include National University of Singapore Malay Studies professor Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied, who drew flak earlier this year for describing lesbianism as "cancers"; and Mr Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff, who in 2002 helped four Muslim parents mount a legal challenge against the Government's decision to suspend their daughters for wearing the Islamic headscarf to national schools.
The Wear White campaign video, presented in English, features several Muslim men and women dressed in white and describing what is sunnah, or according to Prophetic tradition. These include, for example, playing with children; caring for the elderly; tending to the poor, travellers, orphans and widows; and being fair in business dealings.
Mr Noor appears holding a baby, and says: "It is sunnah to marry and raise families."
The video was changed yesterday after theatre actor Najib Soiman, 36, asked to be removed from it, saying he had been misled about its purpose.
He told The Straits Times that when Mr Noor invited him to be featured, he thought it was meant to celebrate Ramadan. He had agreed because the community is trying to encourage young people to return to the mosques.
It was only on Wednesday that he discovered it was for the Wear White campaign, with its clear anti-homosexuality stance. He said people began calling him and he was shocked to see how it was being used.
He called Mr Noor, who said there had been a miscommunication. The video was then edited to leave out Mr Najib.
Mr Noor did not reply to questions from The Straits Times except to say he would release a press statement today.
The Pink Dot event has been held on the last Saturday of June for the past three years. A spokesman for the organisers said they went ahead with this year's event on June 28 after checking with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) website that Ramadan begins on June 29.
They also checked with "friends from the Muslim community" before proceeding with the event to be held at Hong Lim Park, the spokesman said.
Ustaz Khair Rahmat from Sultan Mosque, who is not involved in the Wear White campaign but learnt about it from his daughter, told The Straits Times: "My impression is that it is trying to rebut some of the things gay activists and Pink Dot have put out.
"I thought this was achieved in a non-accusatory manner. I don't know if it's the correct way to do it but it's a gentle way to remind Muslims that family is between a man and a woman."