A senior Muslim leader in Singapore on June 2 congratulated Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye of the city-state for being elected to be one of the Cardinals.
In a press note, the director of religious and policy development at the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir said, “The Muslim community would like to convey our heartiest congratulations to Archbishop William Goh for his new appointment by the Vatican as Singapore’s first cardinal.”
“This is a global recognition of how the Catholic community has thrived in Singapore and significantly contributed to its social cohesion and harmony, under your stewardship,” Nasir said.
“The friendship between the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore has grown over the years, and your efforts to strengthen interfaith relations are thoroughly deserving of this global recognition by the Vatican,” he added.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore is a statutory board of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth of the Government of Singapore.
Established in 1968, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore’s role is to look after the administration and interests of the country’s Muslim community.
Earlier, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated Archbishop Goh for being elected to be one of the Cardinals.
Lee said, “He [Goh] will be the first Singaporean Cardinal, a rank second only to the Pope in the church hierarchy. This is especially significant to our Catholic community, who marked their bicentennial just last year.”
The Prime Minister commended Goh for his guidance to Catholics and active service with other religious leaders to promote religious harmony and support for the development of the country since 2013 of his episcopacy.
Pope Francis on May 29 announces that he will create 21 new Cardinals at a Consistory on Saturday, 27 August. They represent the Church worldwide and reflect a wide variety of cultures, contexts and pastoral ministries.
The College of Cardinals currently consists of 208 Cardinals, of whom 117 are electors and 91 are non-electors. As of 27 August, the number will grow to 229 Cardinals, of whom 131 will be electors.
Eight of the newly named Cardinals are from Europe, six from Asia, two from Africa, one from North America, and four from Central and Latin America.
Out of 5.6 million, the Catholics account for 300,000 spread across 32 parishes in the Archdiocese of Singapore. Most Catholics in the country are Chinese and Indian migrants and their descendants.
Singapore is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. According to government data 2022, Buddhists make up 31.1 percent, Christians 18.9 percent, Muslims 15.6 percent, Taoists 8.8 percent and Hindus 5 percent. About 20 percent are non-religious.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.