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Friday sermons emphasise drug fight

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Amid rising number of Malay abusers, all 71 mosques here reinforce anti-drug message

The battle against the drug scourge in the Malay/Muslim community has been taken to all 71 mosques in Singapore, with imams delivering an anti-drug message yesterday during Friday prayers.

This follows last Sunday's launch of the Dadah Itu Haram (Drugs Are Forbidden) campaign at the Sultan Mosque.

Malays account for more than half of the drug abusers arrested last year, up from 32 per cent in 2006.

The sermon, titled The Well-being Of The Community: Drug Abuse Is Haram, urged the jemaah (congregation) not to be "passive about the problem".

"This is a (drug) problem that requires cooperation from all groups, at all levels in order for us to successfully tackle the issue," stated excerpts of the sermon prepared by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).

"This is because every life is precious, and every youth carries with him the hope of the community."

Muis initiated the anti-drug message "as a follow-up to the Dadah Itu Haram campaign", a Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman said. Mr Marof Khan, 47, who was at Kampung Delta Mosque yesterday, told ST: "The situation must be serious enough if the whole sermon was centred on the drug issue. It's a reminder for me, as a father, to be more concerned about my children's activities."

Last year, 1,700 Malays were arrested for drug-related offences, up from 1,380 in 2010, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin said in a speech at the Dadah Itu Haram launch.

The number of new offenders has also risenfrom about 590 in 2010 to nearly 730 last year.

Mr Amrin, along with campaign partners from the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas), the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home and, among others, gave away campaign stickers and car decals at Al-Ansar Mosque in Chai Chee yesterday before the start of prayers.

MHA said stakeholders in the Muslim community are actively battling drug addiction and rehabilitating former offenders.

"In 2015, Pergas designed the Insan Mukmin curriculum, an intensive religious rehabilitation programme for drug inmates, and worked with mosques to organise the aftercare programme component," said the MHA spokesman.

Retiree Ibrahim Abdul Halim, 68, who was at Al-Khair mosque in Teck Whye Crescent, said the sermon was a "wake-up" call for the community.

He said: "If you lived through the 1970s, you would know that heroin was a big problem for the Malay community.

"We can't allow a repeat of the past."