MUIS has announced that it will form a new panel called the Committee on Future Asatizah (COFA) to apparently “collect views on religious teachers, to better plan their development and in preparation for the upcoming Islamic college here”. This is in addition to the compulsory Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) where all asatizahs in Singapore have to be certified and regulated by the government.
- The ARS already requires all asatizahs to go through a government-developed program to meet their requirements before they can be certified and recognised. This is apparently supposed to develop their competencies and knowledge.
- Now, we also have COFA which Masagos Zulkifli says is set up to “advance the thinking on the skills and competencies that our asatizah will need to better serve the Singapore Muslim community in the future”. Does the government think that our local asatisahs are so inadequate in their religious knowledge that they need to go through so many programs just for them to be sure that they are legit?
- Maliki Osman also said that “Singaporean Muslims need to adapt with the times, in their professional and socio-religious lives. To be able to provide effective guidance and socio-religious support, our asatizah too must adapt and be ready for the future.” Why does the government always target only the Muslims and highlight that only we need to adapt with the times? Don’t people of other religion and their teachers also need to keep up with the times?
The government seems to be going all out to control what Muslims can read, hear, learn, teach or preach about their own religion in their own country. Why else is there a need for so many same-same-but-different “initiatives” targetting our religious teachers?
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