IIS (Islamic Information & Services Foundation)
Unauthorized posting on ‘YouTube’
of Shah Kirit’s video lecture on Hinduism
This press statement comes out of necessity, due to continuous and deliberate escalation and exploitation of the above stated incident by certain quarters. It is an effort to further clarify the matter, in addition and subsequent to the speaker’s own written explanation which has been posted on www.shahkirit.com and www.iis.org.my , and also officially communicated (dated 8thApril’08) to President of Hindu Sangam, Malaysia. A copy is also attached to this statement, for easy reference.
IIS is happy to report that the speaker’s compact yet sincere and truthful explanation has found deep appreciation and acceptance by many, including educated and broad minded Hindus who are keen to put the matter to rest. Unfortunately and as expected, there are those who are in a state of ‘high emotion’ who are either unable or unwilling to see the facts as they are. From the numerous loose and not to mention highly inflammatory remarks (mostly on the internet) of the most dangerous kind, some almost seem to ‘enjoy’ themselves – reflecting a worrying attitude of total disregard for peace and harmony in a multiracial country. If there had been a case of “insulting religion”, it certainly could not be found on Shah Kirit’s video, but rather on these irresponsible remarks.
From some of the remarks made, it is obvious the true nature of the lecture and hence the full meanings of the speaker’s own explanatory note and apology were not fully comprehended. It is not our intention here to repeat what has been declared and clarified in the note, but for the sake of those who genuinely care to know and take an objective view of the entire scenario, we append below the necessary facts around the incident:
- First and foremost, it was neither the speaker nor IIS who posted the lecture video on the YouTube, and IIS has since traced it to an overseas source, and demanded it be removed
- The lecture is not a “recent close-door ceramah” as reported to some newspapers; it is 5 years old – during the ‘learning curve’ period of the speaker’s career in comparative religion
- The lecture was on the subject of basic belief in Hinduism, specific for the purpose of missionary work training, limited to the group in attendance, and not for public viewing
- The basic content of the lecture is derived entirely and faithfully from authentic Hindu scriptures without any deliberate exaggeration or dishonest interpretation, although attempts to make the lecture simple and ‘light’ (to suit the audience) could be misunderstood by some people as ‘mocking’
- For the record, it is IIS’s policy and guiding principle to adhere to the well known teaching of Islam NOT to mock or ridicule any religion; and any objective and discerning viewer of the video will observe such was the manner by which the speaker approached the subject but without straying from what is written in the relevant scriptures
- In spite of all the above conditions, the speaker has been gallant enough to express regret and offer public apology to all concerned, and further, he has also offered follow up eye-to-eye clarifications if deemed appropriate by any and all of the established Hindu organizations in the country, including Hindu Sangam and Hindraf.
Lastly, in case it is not well known to some quarters, IIS has an excellent record for proactively and continuously seeking and maintaining good inter-faith relation with many organizations in the country, including Hindu Sangam (an umbrella organization for more than 200 Hindu organizations), Pure Life Society (headed by the honorable Datin Paduka Mother Mangalam), and various Buddhist and Christian organizations in the country. Our inter-faith activity aims at promoting true understanding between various faiths and cultures based on knowledge rather than conjecture, and actual contact rather than diplomacy via remote.
In this big effort of IIS, Br. Shah Kirit plays a major role, and has personally undertaken numerous lectures, explaining Islam, in venues all over Malaysia, including government departments, private corporations, universities, temples and churches. IIS also offers programs for Muslims and new ‘reverts’ to Islam, including our enormously popular weekly Friendly Comparative Religion course – always stressing the importance of maintaining good inter-human and inter-faith relation and interfaith sensitivity through basic knowledge in the belief systems of other religions.
As always, IIS will be more than happy and ready to receive delegations from any religious organizations, pertaining to this specific issue, or any other related issues, at our headquarters in Taman Setiawangsa, Kuala Lumpur.
Islamic Information & Services Foundation, IIS
(in response also to article in STAR dated 9th April 08-article enclosed)