Thursday, May 8, 2014

UiTM seminar was 'hate speech', says CFM


The seminar on Christianity held at a public university yesterday was "hate speech" veiled as academic freedom, the Christian Federation of Malaysia said.

CFM chairperson Eu Hong Seng (right)said this is because there was no attempt for intellectual discussion involving the Christians themselves.

"If there is to be sincere and genuine academic freedom, then let us have an intellectual exchange with integrity instead of a one-sided presentation with arguably inaccurate information being disseminated as fact.

"Otherwise, yesterday's seminar at UiTM would be nothing more than hate speech and sectarian religious propaganda thinly disguised as academic freedom...

"(This) causes a great diminution of scholastic integrity, greater disservice to intellectual honesty, and greatest discredit to the reputation of the public institution," he said in a statement today.

Eu added that academic freedom does not entail presenting things as facts and not allowing interested parties room for rebuttal.

By doing so, he said UiTM had clearly "abused trust and stewardship" as a public institution of higher learning.

CFM, an umbrella body for Christian groups in Malaysia, was commenting on a seminar held at UiTM entitled 'The word 'Allah' and Christology in the Malay Archipelago'.

Anti-Christian material were distributed to the 1,000 students, including those from secondary schools, who attended.

The Muslim speakers presented their interpretations of the Bible and alleged that Christians were on a campaign to convert Muslims in the Malay archipelago.

Earlier, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF)  expressed concern over the seminar that it said trampled on, rather than tackled, inter-faith issues.

NECF said this was aimed at confusing and prompting Muslim students at the seminar to be prejudiced against people of other faiths.

"One could perhaps ask how Muslims would feel, if followers of other faiths were to invite their experts to interpret how the Quran should be written.

"This seminar smacks of gross insensitivity and goes against the grain of Prime Minister Najib's 1Malaysia policy," NECF secretary-general Eugene Yapp said in a press statement today.

In similar vein, the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) also slammed such extremism.

Although he did not point to the seminar, its CEO and former Umno MP Saifuddin Abdullah urged the government to take action.

"Stop anti-Chinese and anti-Christian sentiments before it turns to something worse.

"Authorities should investigate & act accordingly," Saifuddin wrote on his Twitter account.

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