KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 ― A minister’s explanation that an anti-Christianisation seminar at a local university was to explain the threat of the Islamic State (IS) was illogical as the religion and the terrorist group were unrelated, said the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM).
CCM secretary-general Dr Hermen Shastri also questioned how Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh arrived at the conclusion, given the absence of any Christians on the panel during the seminar at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) last year.
“It seems as if it was an attempt to cast aspersions on Christians… what has Christianity got to do with IS?” CCM general-secretary Dr Hermen Shastri told Malay Mail Online.
“If the subject matter was to deal with Islamic radicalisation, then casting aspersions to Christianity only feeds radicalisation and fanaticism in Islam,” he lamented.
Shastri said that if the organisers of the event had genuinely wanted to educate students, then it would only be fair to have a Christian representative on the panel to ensure that the discussions were balanced and to avoid any aspersions against another faith.
Idris said in a parliamentary reply this week that the controversial seminar was to explain the threat of the IS, Shiah, terrorism and to dissect the history of the Crusades as well as the development of Islam.
He also said the event was in accordance with constitutional provisions and was meant to promote intellectual discourse on the topics.
The UiTM campus in Malacca entered the spotlight last December after it reportedly hosted a Muslim-only seminar claiming of a threat of proselytisation.
It was the second time the public university catering to Bumiputera community came under fire for holding an ostensibly anti-Christian programme on campus.