Current Affairs

Christian-blaming seminar discredits UITM

by Dyana Sofya

UiTM is under the spotlight again following the seminar on the word ‘Allah’ and Christology in the Malay Archipelago’ held at its Dewan Agong Tuanku Canselor on 6 May 2014.

It was organized by Contemporary Islamic Studies Academy (ACIS), Warisan Ibnu Aaby, and Majlis Agama Islam Selangor supported by Utusan Malaysia, Karangkraf Group of Companies, TV al-Hijrah, Zikay Group and Pantai Group of Companies.

All undergraduates who were taking Sejarah Malaysia and Hubungan Etnik courses, amongst others, were asked to attend the seminar and class exemption would be given to those who attend.

The seminar was organized with the purpose to elevate the understanding of Muslim participants on the Allah word issue.

Looking at the title of the seminar, I, myself as a graduate from UiTM was pleasantly surprised with UiTM’s openness to discuss a very sensitive issue and encourage intellectual discourse among the participants.

Obviously I was wrong after finding out that the content of the seminar was to demonise Christianity in the eyes of the participants. As stated in the event programme, there was a slot entitled ‘Christianity threat’ delivered by Tuan Haji Insan L.S Mokoginta from Indonesia.

A special book published by Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS) entitled ‘Pendedahan Agenda Kristian’ claimed to be an anti-Christian material were distributed to about 1000 undergraduates who attended the seminar. They alleged that Christians were on a campaign to convert Muslims.

The book was blaming Christianisation as the main reason for apostasy among Muslims.

I am disappointed at how UiTM is handling this matter. If the institution has the noble intention to promote understanding and strengthen Islamic beliefs, the right way is definitely not by demonising another religion.

I am also discouraged at how UiTM never even considered the feelings of many undergraduates, academicians and staff in UiTM itself who professed Christianity. They must have been very hurt that their own university and the place they work with chose to discredit and smear their faith without a care in the world.

UiTM contributed so much to Malaysians especially the Malays and the Bumis. UiTM as a respected institution is not supposed to stand so low just to satisfy the agenda of certain parties who are closed-minded, full of hatred and obviously very backwards.

When did we become like this? Our Bapa Kemerdekaan, Tunku Abdul Rahman founder of PERKIM (Pertubuhan Kebajikan Islam Malaysia), the first Secretary-General of Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) in the 1960s sent a congratulatory note to St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for its 50th anniversary.

However, almost fifty years since then, we began to claim that there are evil plots to Christianise the Muslims, spreading lies and causing insecurities in the name of religion, instigate hate between religions and races, and worse, it was organized and endorsed by a respected university. Just pathetic.

This incident discredits my alma mater and I, along with many of my UiTM brothers and sisters are definitely not happy with it.

UiTM should have organised an inter-faith seminar highlighting shared basic principles across religions to show how our differences are superficial and our similarities are deep, encouraging understanding among different religions and strengthen unity and togetherness.

Sadly, unity and togetherness were obviously never in their agenda.

Not just that, a UiTM student is facing disciplinary action and possibly expulsion for posting an anti-GST statement on Facebook. Mohd Fathihie Gadius will be charged for breaching Kaedah-Kaedah Institusi Pelajaran (Tatatertib) 1976 for encouraging violation of discipline, disorder and disobedience among students.

I believe the organizer of the seminar is the one who such action should be taken against and not Mohd Fathitie who was merely exercising his right without breaching the limitations of personal liberty as stated in the Constitution.-The Rocket

* Dyana Sofya is the political secretary to DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang. She was formerly a student in UiTM.

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