The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) will set aside $30 million in zakat funds to help the needy in the next three years.
This is an increase of 20 per cent from its previous three-year plan which concluded last year.
On top of this, another $800,000 from the fund will be allocated to fund religious education for children from low-income families. More than 5,000 such families benefit from financial assistance through zakat funds every year.
Zakat is an annual tithe collection from the Muslim community. Last year, Muis collected $25.6 million in zakat contributions.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, revealed the amount at Muis’ annual workplan seminar held at its Braddell Road premises on Saturday.
He said the community had made “good progress” amid demographical, political and technological shifts, adding: “Our community is living the ethos and values which are in sync with a multi-faceted environment like Singapore.”
Some 16,500 more places for young Muslims to enrol in religious classes will be added in the next three years.
There are currently about 28,000 students who take religious classes through Muis in mosques and the private sector.
Muis will groom a core group of “progressive and knowledgeable” religious teachers, or asatizah, in specific disciplines so they can lead the community in facing rapidly changing issues such as bioethics and religion – while staying true to Islamic principles.
“Eventually it is our desire that these asatizah not only provide guidance to the community, but also contribute to the discourse at national and international levels,” said Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for Communications and Information.
To build up this group, Muis will focus on strengthening the Joint Madrasah System, with students introduced to a wider range of subjects.
These will include modules such as Islamic banking and finance, counselling and pedagogy.
Source: The Straits Times