March 7th, 2014 | University

NUS professor’s Facebook posts draw criticism

At the National University of Singapore, controversy has erupted over statements made by Khairudin Alijunied, an associate professor at the NUS Malay Studies Department. Last week, Alijunied published two posts on his personal Facebook page titled “Liberal Islam, Lesbianism and the likes of it” and “When Liberals Become Oppressive”.

In the first post, which was dated Feb. 20th, Khairudin described homosexuality as “wayward.” He compared lesbians to “cancers” and “social diseases to be cleansed.” In the second, he refused to apologize for the views expressed in the previous post – arguing that those were his religious convictions and that preventing him from voicing those beliefs is censorship.

Khairudin has edited the first post 11 times in response to criticism on his page. For example – he changed the sentence “Together, we will stop these cancers in their tracks!” to “Together we will stop these developments in their tracks through education and reasoned arguments.”

But as of Thursday he has not publicly apologized for the posts.

Last Thursday, two NUS students and one NUS alumna posted a letter of concern on Facebook. In the letter, they invited other NUS students and alumni to participate as signatories to their cause.

“We thus urge that Professor Khairudin withdraws and apologizes for his postings as well as undergo counseling to further understand the issues and challenges confronting the LGBTQ community. We also hope that the university leadership can see that these remedial actions are adhered to,” the letter said.

On Wednesday, NUS Provost Tan Eng Chye sent a circular letter to the NUS community in which he said that Khairudin’s statements were “inappropriate” and “offensive”. He said that he “counseled” the professor, who has “acknowledged that whilst his only intention had been to convey his point of view, his original posts reflected poor judgement.”

Yale-NUS has not issued a public statement. But on Thursday morning, Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis said to the News that some faculty members and students have published a letter in response to the events on the Singaporean news outlet, The Straits Times.