SINGAPORE: The Singapore government fully appreciates the growing socio-religious significance of the tudung (head cover) to Muslim Singaporeans and the desire of some Muslim nurses to wear the tudung with their uniform if they wish to do so, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said today.
“We are presently considering how this can be done,” he said in a reply to Singapore mufti Nazirudin Nasir, who wrote to him to express the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore’s (Muis) support for the government’s deliberations on letting nurses wear the tudung.
Lee who shared the mufti’s letter and his reply on his Facebook page today, thanked Muis and the asatizah (religious teachers) fraternity for participating in the government’s consultations on the issue in recent years.
According to Lee, Singapore’s racial and religious harmony is based on treating everyone equally without prejudice or discrimination, and building a national identity shared by all communities while allowing each community to practise its faith and way of life.
“We have done this through mutual accommodation, compromise and trust building by all groups.
“Over time, we have reached a delicate balance that considers the interests of all communities. But this balance is dynamic,” Lee said.
As younger generations of Singaporeans grew up and attitudes changed, Lee said new issues and pressures arose and these must be addressed taking into account Singapore’s context.
“Any change we make must be carefully considered and gradual. Only thus will the changes be understood and accepted by all communities, and the outcomes reinforce rather than weaken our racial and religious harmony.”
Before ending the letter, the prime minister said he looked forward to working with Muis to strengthen social cohesion and to achieve progress for the Muslim community and all Singaporeans.