THE state government has instructed Kolej Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Selangor (Kuis) to determine if a controversial talk, entitled “Understanding Christology”, has obtained the necessary approvals before it hosts the event.
Posters advertising the event on social media state it will feature Indonesian speaker Irene Handono, who previously made the false claim of being a former nun at a religious seminar in Malaysia.
Social media has been abuzz with some asking if the talk is going to be another Christian-bashing session, like the 2014 seminar featuring Handono.
Selangor executive councillor in charge of Islamic Affairs, Ahmad Yunus Hairi said the event organiser, a new civil society group called Nur Fitrah, must get the approval of the Selangor Islamic Council (Mais) to hold such an event.
“I’m not sure whether the organiser has applied to Mais (for approval),” he told The Malaysian Insight yesterday.
“I have been told that Kuis is checking up.
The poster describes the Indonesian speaker as “Ibu Irene Handono – mantan rahib” (Mother Irene Handono – former nun)”, who will speak on the topic “Understanding Christology” (Mengenali Kristologi).
Admission fees are RM30 for students and RM100 for the public to the event scheduled to be held at Kuis on December 9 to 10. Registration closes on December 1.
Kuis rector Prof Dr Abdul Halim Tamuri told The Malaysian Insight he did not have any reports of the event.
“I haven’t received any reports yet as I have just reached Kuching,” he said on WhatsApp.
It is unclear whether Kuis is the event host or one of the organisers or both.
Christology is the study of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels and the letters in the New Testament.
In May 2014, Hardono and another Indonesian, LS Mokoginta sparked controversy when they spoke at a seminar on Christology organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
But the now defunct news portal, The Malaysian Insider, after a check with the Bishops Conference of Indonesia (BC), had exposed Hardono, who had claimed she was a former Catholic nun, as a fraud.
BCI executive secretary Father Edy Purwanto told the news site then that Hardono did not complete her education in theology.
Purwanto had said that checks had revealed that Hardono was only briefly a novice with the Congregation of the Ursuline Sisters.
“She never completed. After that we don’t know where she ended up getting ‘educated’, to the point now where she is speaking at seminars belittling Christianity, especially the Catholic church,” Purwanto had said.
He had also verified that the church had no record of LS Mokoginta,who had claims to be a former Catholic priest.
In the 2014 seminar, the speakers said the word “Allah” should only be used by Muslims as it originated from the Quran and was never used in the original Bible.
Several speakers had warned Muslims against the threat of Christianisation and of undercover Christian priests who had been sent to Malaysia to proselytise to Muslims.
Copies of a book published by Mais on the alleged threat of Christianisation and conversion of Muslims in Malaysia were also distributed free to the attendees.
That seminar was jointly organised by the Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies, UiTM, Warisan Ibnu Aaby, and the Selangor Islamic Council with the support of Utusan Malaysia, Kumpulan Karangkraf, TV Al-Hijrah, Zikay Group and Pantai Bharu Group of Companies.
Several police reports were subsequently lodged in Selangor and Sarawak. Complainants said the seminar was a mask for Christian-bashing and that not a single expert in Christianity was invited to speak at the event.