KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) asserted that its logo was used without its permission to promote a planned talk featuring award-winning Islamic scholar Ayub Abdul Rahman, touted as a former Christian priest.
The public university also issued a stern warning against the use its logo without any prior reference to its corporate communications division, adding that it “will not hesitate to take any action including legal action”.
“BPK requests that those who used UMS’s logo without permission take responsibility and step forward to provide an explanation to the public to avoid continued confusion,” read a news article posted on the UMS website yesterday, referring to its corporate communications department by its Malay abbreviation.
The department said its old logo was featured in a publicity poster for Ayub’s talk that was initially scheduled to run last night, but which was cancelled last minute following questions into the speaker’s suspect credentials.
UMS reiterated that it was not involved in organising Ayub’s planned talk titled “Perjalanan Hijrah dan Dakwah Catatan Kehidupan” (Chronicles of life ― a journey of migration and Islamic missions).
“Following the misuse of the logo, there has been confusion among various quarters, especially when that poster touches on the sensitivities of the Sabah community that is well-known for its harmony among the various races and religions,” it said.
According to the article, this was not the first time UMS was embroiled in a controversy surrounding the use of its logo for an event held without its knowledge. However, it did not elaborate.
Yesterday, Malay Mail Online reported on the controversy surrounding a Facebook poster, which in its April 12 version had described Ayub as a former Christian priest at the Church of St Augustine of Canterbury at "Frankfurter" in Germany and the 2005 recipient of the Maal Hijrah Personality award for Sarawak in the category of new Muslim converts.
But the Episcopal church in Wiesbaden, Germany, told Malay Mail Online that Ayub had never served as a priest nor held any official functions there.
The April 12 Facebook post — which featured the poster touting Ayub as a former Christian priest and featuring UMS’s logo as one of the organisers — was removed yesterday from the Sabah Islamic Religious Affairs Department's (Jheains) Facebook page.
Another organiser of Ayub’s talk, Institut Pengajian al-Quran (IPaQ), had on April 19 posted on its Facebook page a slightly different poster which omitted claims of Ayub being a former priest and also left out UMS’s logo.
Yesterday, IPaQ put up a fresh Facebook post and posters that completely removed Ayub from its line-up of speakers.
Ayub was initially scheduled to speak at two night events in conjunction with Sabah’s first-ever “Mahrajan Ilmu Al-Quran Sabah 2016” convention that ends today.
A total of five organisers were named for the two-day al-Quran convention, namely IPaQ, Jheains, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council, the Sabah Islamic Religious Council and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia’s Sabah branch.