Middle East Religion World

Wed 27 March 2024:

Singaporean authorities have ordered the Israeli embassy to remove a controversial post on its official Facebook page which was used to justify the existence of the occupation state.

The post, which was published yesterday and removed the same day, asserted that “Israel is mentioned 43 times in the Quran. On the other hand, Palestine is not mentioned even once.” The post went on to say that archaeological evidence such as maps, documents and coins show that Jewish people are the indigenous people of the land.

However, Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam branded it an “astonishing attempt to rewrite history,” and said the post was “insensitive,” “inappropriate” and “completely unacceptable” as it carried the risk of undermining safety, security and harmony in the Southeast Asian country.


Speaking to the Strait Times today, Shanmugam said the Ministry of Home Affairs had spoken with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday and said the embassy had to take the post down immediately. “We told them to take it down because of the potential consequences for the different communities within Singapore,” he explained.

“It is wrong to selectively point to religious texts, to make a political point. Even worse, in this current situation, for the Israeli embassy to make use of the Quran for this purpose,” he added.

According to the Times, citing a spokesman for the Israel embassy, the post had been put up without the necessary approvals and that the person responsible has been punished. “The Israel Embassy respects religion and racial harmony in Singapore – we have already taken action against the relevant person,” he said.

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also condemned the post, stating that “It is highly inappropriate to refer to sacred texts to make political points. We have made this clear to the embassy, which has taken the post down.”

Although the Quran mentions “Israel” 43 times, these references do not pertain to the modern state of Israel. Instead, they primarily refer to the Children of Israel, the descendants of the Prophet Jacob, who is also known as Israel. The Quran often addresses the Israelites to remind them of their trials and transgressions, the previous prophets sent to them and their relationship with God who bestowed many favours onto them.

While the term “Palestine” is not explicitly mentioned in the Quran, the region that encompasses modern-day occupied-Palestine is indirectly referred to through the Quranic narratives of prophets and events associated with the area, including the Night Journey to Jerusalem.

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