Malacca UiTM holds Muslim-only Christianisation ‘threat’ seminar, says to avoid controversy

Adrian Ng, a deacon from the Malacca-Johor Catholic diocese, received a photo from one of the participants who attended the lecture. — Screenshot from Facebook/Deacon Adrian Ng
Adrian Ng, a deacon from the Malacca-Johor Catholic diocese, received a photo from one of the participants who attended the lecture. — Screenshot from Facebook/Deacon Adrian Ng

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — The Malacca campus of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) hosted a seminar last Saturday on a purported movement promoting apostasy among Muslim students through alleged Christianisation attempts.

The move appeared to ruffle the feathers of some Christians who found out about the event later and posted it on social media.

Adrian Ng, a deacon from the Malacca-Johor Catholic diocese, received a photo from a student at the seminar at the Alor Gajah campus. He said the non-Muslim students were ejected from the hall shortly after the seminar started. 

“[The student] didn’t get a chance to hear anything. But [the student’s] Muslim friends were also disgusted,” Ng told Malay Mail Online when contacted after he posted a picture of one of the slides on his Facebook page.

Malacca UiTM corporate communications chief Siti Najah Raihan Sakrani confirmed the seminar took place when contacted by Malay Mail Online today, but said the programme was aimed at strengthening the faith of Muslim students.

“The programme was for Muslim students and non-Muslim students were exempted because we did not want to create a controversy, where we might be accused of trying to convert them to Islam,” Siti Najah told Malay Mail Online.

“The programme touched on a few current issues and history, including the IS [Islamic State] threat, Shiahs, terrorism and the Crusades,” she added, without elaborating on what was taught about the so-called Christianisation movement.

According to Ng, two of the speakers at the seminar at the public university were a police officer and a man called Abdul Karim Omar. It is unclear if the Abdul Karim who spoke at the Malacca UiTM seminar was the same Abdul Karim, general-secretary of Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (Muafakat), who spoke at the controversial seminar at UiTM’s Shah Alam campus on May 6 last year.

“I’m not sure about him because none of my friends [were] interested in listening to this ceramah,” a participant who attended the Malacca UiTM seminar told Malay Mail Online on condition of anonymity.

The participant also clarified that ustazah Kalthom Mohd Khalid, senior Islamic affairs officer from Malacca UiTM’s Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies (ACIS), was merely the organiser and that she did not speak at the seminar.

Last year, the ACIS organised another seminar on the Arabic word for God, “Allah”, and Christology, but at the Shah Alam campus of UiTM.

Invited speakers drew Christian ire after claiming that Christians were betraying God unless they converted to Islam and called the New Testament gospels fake as Jesus Christ was not divine.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia — the country’s umbrella body representing over 90 per cent of the faith — responded by saying then that the Shah Alam UiTM seminar was a façade to spread hate speech and “sectarian” religious propaganda.

Police reports were also lodged, but lawyer Annou Xavier who represented two non-Muslim complainants, said in February this year that the Attorney General’s Chambers has ordered a suspension of a police investigation into the Shah Alam UiTM seminar.

The case was investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code that prohibits wounding the religious feelings of any person.

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