Singapore Religions

Religion is an integral part of the cosmopolitan society. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Judaism are principle religions of Singapore. When Raffles arrived in Singapore, he brought along Indian immigrants who settled in Singapore and worked as cattle raisers and livestock traders.

The Indian immigrants were predominantly Hindus and as soon as they began to integrate into the Singaporean community they established Hindu temples.

The Chinese, who came to Singapore to find their fortunes, brought their beliefs, culture and ancient traditions. The Chinese are predominantly followers of Buddhism, Taoism, Shenism and Christianity.

A sizeable proportion of the Indian population also includes Muslims and Sikhs. The Malay population in Singapore is mainly Muslim while some Muslim communities are from the Middle East.

Singapore from the surface appears to be a very modern and cosmopolitan place but entirely anonymous without an identity of its own as is the case with many modern places in the present day. But if one takes care to probe beneath its modern and upbeat image then one would find that Singapore is a quintessentially Asian city despite being a colony under the British for a long time.

Due to diverse population living in Singapore, it is a multi-religious state with Buddhism being the major denomination. Around 33 per cent of the population residing in Singapore follows Buddhism. Besides Buddhists, there are Malay and Indian Muslims, Christians and Hindus. Christianity is the second largest religion followed in Singapore amounting to around 19 per cent of the population. Several ethnic groups such as Chinese people have their own traditions and culture. The statistics for “no religion” or the atheist group is also 17 per cent.

Religious diversity in Singapore

With resident Singaporeans, Buddhism is the major religion and all its celebrations take place on a wider scale. However, people are peaceful here with high level of religious tolerance.

Buddhism – Traditional temples are all Buddhist ones with 2010 data stating total of 33.3 per cent resident following this religious. Over the years, Buddhism has influenced Chinese culture and traditions in Singapore. There are demarcated Chinese and Bhutanese areas such as China Town and South Bridge Street with temples such as Loyang Tua Pek Kong. Chinese Mahayana is the most dominant Buddhist sect in the country.

Christianity – Christian churches are spread all across the country. It is believed that religion came with Stamford Raffles. Noted figures such as Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II made a visit here

Islam – Islam comprises 14.7 per cent of the religious population. All Malays are supposed Muslims in Singapore with only 1.3 per cent being an exceptional. Indian Muslims, Pakistani nationals and Chinese Muslims live here. Key Islamic institutes are Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and Malay-Muslim organizations. There is around 69 mosques and Muslim community halls for prayers in Singapore

Taoism – This ranks next to Islam with 10.9 per cent of the population following Taoism. Taoism faith preaches the philosophy of its leader and founder Lao Tzu. There are a number of Taoist temples and cultural institutions in Singapore. It arrived with the Chinese settlers and flourished within their communities eventually. Ancestor worship and life after death theory are integral to this religion

Other religions – Jainism, Judaism and Hinduism are three other major faiths practiced here. There are around 11,000 Sikhs residing in Singapore and Hindusim accounts for another 5 per cent of the religious population.

Religious Restrictions in Singapore

Despite religious freedom, Singaporeans abide by certain restrictions imposed by the government.
  • Singapore bans Persecution of Jehovah’s Witness and the Unification Church
  • Inflammatory religious publications are subject to some censorship
  • Racial comments, speeches and actions are discouraged
  • Publications by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society remains banned in Singapore
  • Ownership of banned publication has fine and conviction

People belongiong to different religions in Singapore live side by side and celebrate several festivals together. Many of the important places to see in Singapore also has religious connotations. There are a melee of Indian temples, Sikh temples, churches and mosques in Singapore. Sometimes one place even signifies to different religions as in the case of Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple which merges Taoism, Hinduism and Islam under the same roof. Thus religious tolerance is of utmost importance in Singapore. All the religions in Singapore co-exist peacefully with the exception of small differences and fights. This is possible because of the efforts of the government and other ruling institutions.

Related Links
  • Languages Spoken
  • Singapore Religions

  • Disclaimer: The data provided here is based on the facts and research using available sources. As the data is made available on "as is" basis and subject to change anytime. This website shall not be liable for any discrepancy found in the data on our site and actual figures.

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