Muhammad Haniff Hassan & Walid Jumblatt Abdullah (2022), “The Model Muslim Minority: Wasatiyah (Justly-Balanced) as a Counter-Ideology Tool in Singapore”, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2022.2099240
In the post 9–11 world, Muslims have had to grapple with various challenges, which often involved justifying their faith to others within secular contexts. The matter is more acute, if not existential, for Muslim minority populations. This paper analyzes attempts by the Singaporean Muslim community to deal with a post 9–11 world, through a development of the concept of wasatiyah (justly balanced). It investigates key initiatives by two important players – the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), and the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas) – that had significant influence in shaping the wasatiyah vision in Singapore. We make two arguments: (1) The wasatiyah discourse represents a longstanding effort by Muslims to contextualize and appropriate traditional Islamic concepts to make them relevant to the contemporary world; and (2) The two approaches adopted by the organizations in question highlight the strengths and weaknesses of initiatives being propagated by state-affiliated and non-state bodies respectively. The study is situated within the literature on religion and politics, counter-ideology and state-Muslim relations.