The Newsletter 64 Summer 2013

Mosques in Singapore: tapping overt and covert power

Rizwana Abdul Azeez

‘Place’ and power Places can be sites of power contestation, exemplifying agents’ power relations vis-à-vis each other, especially when contenders view sites as means to disseminate desired ideologies to target audiences. ‘Place’ refers to institutions that are modern in so far as agents – state representatives, for example – exert energy on amorphous, undefined spaces yet to be shaped by human agency, to transform them into specific goal-oriented places, for example, capital cities or other specialised zones of activity. In Singapore, since 2005, state-associated Muslim bureaucrats began shaping mosques to be, other than places of worship, places where Muslim youths can be socially engineered into accepting particular modern attitudes. These youths were envisioned to be state-friendly, or “productive” and “successful” members of Singapore society.

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