Mice-fed chicken and MAIS-fed students

UiTM MAIS lecture hall


Once, I thought the waiter in a Dutch restaurant was telling me the “house special” was mice-fed chicken. I found the idea detestable. I couldn’t believe there were chickens which ate mice. I couldn’t believe there were farmers who fed mice to chicken. I couldn’t believe there were patrons who ate mice-fed chicken. After much interrogation of the waiter, I relaxed. There had been a misunderstanding. He meant “maize.”

That occasion has been in my mind since I read about the MAIS-feeding at UiTM this week. Who are MAIS?

MAIS, “Majlis Agama Islam Selangor,” is a public body tasked to advise the Sultan (Raja) of the state of Selangor on Islam and to encourage and develop Muslims in Selangor.

MAIS was a co-sponsor – and perhaps chief-funder – of a seminar for about 1,000 students at UiTM, a public university which is reserved for students from ethnic groups which qualify for affirmative treatment. The student body includes Christians.

The seminar was titled “Seminar Kalimah Allah dan Kristology Nusantara,” which I translate as “Seminar on The Name of God and Christology in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, East Timor and Southern Thailand.”

According to reports, MAIS gave every participant a copy of each of the following books: “Pendedahan Agenda Kristian” (Exposing the Christian Agenda) and “Obligation to Preserve the Sanctity of the Name Allah.”

The first book is said to claim that Christians are targeting Muslims for conversion.

The second book is said to claim that only Muslims may use the Arabic word “Allah” to address God. It would of course be more accurate to say it claims “Non-Muslims in Malaysia should cease their centuries old practice of calling God Allah.”

As indicated by the title of the seminar, the focus was Christians and Christianity. The reports I have read indicate the scope was only Malaysia, i.e. not as wide as suggested by the title. I could find no information about the seminar on the UiTM website.

According to reports, all the invited speakers were Muslims. According to one source, despite the “credentials” claimed for the speakers:

1. Hajjah Irena Handono was never a nun; she dropped out of a Convent after 3 months.

2. Haji Insan L S Mokoginta was never a Roman Catholic Priest.

3. Prof Dr Menehem Ali is not traceable to the faculty of either the “University of Bandung” (does it even exist?) or the Airlangga University.

Based on news reports and comments, I’ve concluded it was less a seminar and more a missionary meeting.

According to reports, the speakers came prepared to respond to questions including: Did Jesus really die on the cross for the forgiveness of sins? What is the Trinity? Why did Jesus cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

I am aware of common Muslim answers to those questions. I respect the right of Muslims to hold on to their answers, though I do not agree with them.