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Christology forum organiser says sorry over ‘former nun’

 | November 24, 2017

Nur Fitrah says it will drop the words ‘former nun’ from event poster following an outcry.

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PETALING JAYA: The organiser of a Christology forum has apologised to the public over its promotional poster which described featured speaker Irena Handono as a former nun.

The poster in question was promoting a forum “Mengenali Kristologi” (Knowing Christology).

Nur Fitrah, the organiser of the forum, said it had put up the poster on its Facebook page to inform the public about the newly set up NGO’s activities.

“We did not expect our page to have such an extensive reach. We apologise if anyone has been offended by the poster.

“We would also like to thank everyone over their concerns and advice,” the NGO said in a Facebook post.

The forum will take place at the Selangor International Islamic University College (KUIIS) on Dec 9 and 10.

Nur Fitrah said it had received much flak over the words “mantan rahib” (former nun) from Christians in Indonesia although Handono’s representative had confirmed that she used to be a nun.

The NGO stated that to Muslims in Malaysia, someone who declared herself to be a nun and had gone through the necessary education but was no longer one, was a former nun.

“(However) this belief is contradictory to the term used by Christians where candidates who have quit from their education, or did not fulfil the ordination conditions, could not be called a former nun.

“Hence, to prevent a longer dispute, Nur Fitrah will drop the words from our promotional posters,” it said.

Nur Fitrah further stated that the programme was restricted to Muslims only, and that official letters and announcements through social media were only sent to the targeted group.

The NGO stated they had invited Handono in her capacity as a Muslim preacher, who was knowledgeable about Christology, to share her knowledge and her experience.

It added that the targeted group was Muslim students who were learning about comparative religions and Muslim preachers in Malaysia.

Handono’s claim as a former nun had also been debunked previously by the Bishops Conference of Indonesia executive secretary Father Edy Purwanto, who had said that Handono had not completed her “education”.

Purwanto had reportedly said three years ago that checks done by the Indonesian church revealed that Handono was only briefly with the Congregation of the Ursuline Sisters as a novice.

It is not the first time such a controversy has erupted. Last year, Ayub Abdul Rahman, a Muslim preacher who claimed to be a former Christian priest from a church in Germany, had been scheduled to speak at SIDMA College Sabah for the ‘Mahrajan Ilmu Al-Quran Sabah 2016’ convention.

In a promotional poster posted on the Sabah Islamic Religious Affairs Department’s Facebook page, Ayub was described as a former priest at the Church of St Augustine of Canterbury in “Frankfurter” in Germany.

At the last minute, his name was removed from the line-up and a new promotional poster without Ayub’s name was posted on the Facebook page hours before the scheduled talk.

This followed a letter dated January 15, 2016, that surfaced on social media, debunking his claim. The letter from Reverend Pierre W Whalon was addressed to Reverend Ng Moon Hing, Bishop of West Malaysia and Archbishop-Elect, and confirmed speculation that Ayub might be an impostor.

Organiser of Christology forum to check if speaker actually a nun


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