Cops ordered to freeze probe on UiTM's 'Christian-bashing' seminar, claims lawyer

Annou Xavier said the police had completed investigations but were told to 'KIV' the case involving the public university. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Annou Xavier said the police had completed investigations but were told to 'KIV' the case involving the public university. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

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SHAH ALAM, Feb 9 — The Attorney-General’s Chambers has ordered the suspension of a police investigation into a controversial “Christian-bashing” seminar hosted at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) last May, a lawyer claimed today.

Annou Xavier, who represents two non-Muslim complainants, said the police had completed investigations but were told to “KIV” the case involving the public university.

“The instruction from the AG’s Chambers to the Shah Alam police is to KIV the matter,” Annou told reporters here after meeting with the Shah Alam police on the outcome of the nine-month-old probe.

The lawyer confirmed that the “KIV” classification did not mean that the case was being closed or that it was being categorised as requiring no further action (NFA).

“We are sad that no action (was) taken for vilifying or belittling a minority religion...This clearly shows minority religions (have) always taken a beating and their rights have always been trampled upon,” he added.

Perzeus James, one of his two clients who was also present, expressed helplessness over the situation, confirming that the officer in charge, ASP Effandi Main, had not said when the KIV classification would be lifted.

“We already did a police report, we already showed all the evidence, still KIV, we don’t know what happens after this. When is it finished? When is the end?” he asked, questioning if they would have to wait for similar incidents to happen before the authorities take action.

When asked if his clients will take legal action such as filing a civil suit or seeking judicial review, Annou said they would weigh the option later.

“The ball is in the AG's Chambers' court,” he said.

Annou also urged the public to be alert for and to lodge police reports against similar seminars held by public institutes of higher learning that he said do not instil “goodwill” and “unity”, and said such events where attacks launched against a “particular religion” were “very common”.

His client Perzeus said the public must have the “guts” to lodge police reports if similar incidents happen in the future, expressing hope that a larger number of such complaints would spur authorities to take action.

Perzeus and another author Uthaya Sankar SB lodged a police report on May 8 last year against the controversial “Christology” seminar hosted by UiTM two days earlier on May 6, claiming the event had insulted and belittled minority religions.

Malay Mail Online understands that the case was investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code.

At the day-long seminar in its Shah Alam campus in May last year, UiTM had invited several Indonesian Muslims, academics and converts, in a lecture on the use of the Arabic word for God, “Allah”, in the Malay archipelago and their interpretation on the life of Jesus Christ, whom Christians revere as God manifest on earth.

A speaker told the thousand-strong audience — which included former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi — that the New Testament gospels, which recount the life of Jesus, were hearsay and falsehoods as the prophet was only “a human slave to Allah” and not a divine being.

Another Muslim speaker said that Christians should convert to Islam as they would be “betraying Jesus” and his principles otherwise.

The lecture took place against the backdrop of strained ties between Muslims and Christians over the use of the Arabic word “Allah” — which the Bumiputera Christians have been using for centuries in their worship.

A flyer advertising the seminar lists, UiTM, the university's Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies, Warisan Ibnu Aaby and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) as the organisers.

Those listed as supporting the seminar are Kumpulan Karangkraf Sdn Bhd, Utusan Malaysia, TV Al-Hijrah, Zikay Group and Pantai Bharu Group of Companies.  

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