Imam Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel has pleaded guilty to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race. This is with regards to remarks the imam had made at Friday prayers at a mosque in January and February, where he recited an old Arabic text originating from his village in India that read: “God help us against Jews and Christians”, which is not an extract from the Quran.
The police launched investigations into the imam’s offensive remarks after a video of his sermon was posted on Facebook. It sparked a heated controversy, prompting Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim to urge for calm and unity in the Muslim community.
The imam has since apologized to Singaporeans in front of an audience of religious leaders from the Christian, Sikh, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu community. In his official apology statement, he said he was “filled with great remorse” for the hurt he has caused.
He has also visited Jewish Rabbi Moderchai Abergel at Maghain Aboth Synagogue to personally extend his apology to the Jewish community in Singapore, which the rabbi accepted on behalf of his people.
Lawyers who were interviewed about the imam’s charges say the imam’s apology could be a very strong mitigation factor if he is charged before a court.
If convicted, the imam may face up to 3 years in jail, a fine or both.