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Groups Protest Singapore Casino Plans

26 November 2004

SINGAPORE – As reported by the Straits Times: "Religious and other conservative groups have been lobbying the Government, both openly and behind the scenes, against building a casino here.

"They have argued passionately not just at open forums and via letters to The Straits Times Forum page, but also by making their opposition known to the powers-that-be on the quiet.

"Some church leaders have even called on their flock to speak up as individuals. They have not given up even though many believe the Government has almost decided to go ahead with the casino, which was mooted in March and has divided public opinion.

"One of the most active groups is Focus on the Family, which has written letters to Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, when he was Prime Minister, and to Members of Parliament.

"…The Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas) has also made its objections known to the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim. So has Muis (the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and the highest authority on Islam here).

"At least two Christian leaders have urged church members to air their views in the press. Pastor Cheah Fook Meng from the fundamentalist Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church said when two members raised the matter, he told them to write to this newspaper's Forum page.

"…The groups have also turned up at public forums, including paying $100 to attend one held by the Institute of Policy Studies last week…"

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