The above poster has been making its rounds on Facebook, detailing a lecture series by one Ustaz Ayub Abdul Rahman. Ayub is said to be a former Christian priest from the Church of St Augustine of Canterbury, in Frankfurter, Germany.
Let us first talk about the obvious fallacy here. There is no city in Germany called “Frankfurter”. And secondly, Ayub has been doing the rounds as an Islamic lecturer for a while, to the point of winning the Sarawak Tokoh Maal Hijrah Award in 2005.
The award winner had an extensive story written about him in Utusan Malaysia dated May 25, 2006, in which he again mentions that he was a priest in “Frankfurter”, Germany for a decade.
He even goes so far as to mention his former name – Reverend Anthony Samy Perumal Viagulam.
And yet, nobody in Utusan bothered to verify his claims; that he was indeed a priest in the Church of St Augustine of Canterbury, or that in 1973 he was sent to the Millhill Missionary Institute to learn Islam.
Now, of course, the long shot to verify these claims would have to be via e-mail and if those in these institutes would bother with such a tiny inquiry.
Luckily for us, unluckily for Ayub, there has been a reply.
The above is a photo of the email reply by one Nigel Skelchy to the St Augustine of Canterbury Church in Frankfurt (not Frankfurter), Germany.
Quoting the e-mail of Reverend Chris Easthill’s reply:
I’ve had a number of enquiries about this gentleman recently. The answer is no. His claims are untrue. He has never served here, neither as rector, nor as associate priest. We are an American Episcopal church and since the end of the Second World War, all our priest have come from the USA
Now just in case Ayub’s Islamic name is obviously not on the record as a priest, what about is pre-convert name – Reverend Anthony Samy Perumal Viagulam.
Again, the church has denied that he was ever a member.
Another e-mail has been sent out to the Mill Hill Missionaries to verify if in fact Anthony Samy did attend their Northern London branch to “study Islam” as alleged in his interview with Utusan Malaysia.
With this information in mind, another e-mail has also been sent out to Jakim to ask on how they do checks to verify the speakers which they sponsor.
To question the authenticity of a speaker, especially one who insists on speaking as a former Christian priest in a “Frankfurter” town, is not an attack on Islam as many will no doubt try and defend him with.
It is a check and balance to avoid Jakim, our religious authorities and the rest of our religious conservative Muslim brothers and sisters in Malaysia from actually being conned by a person who may be in it for nothing more than a paycheque.
And we cannot deny in this day and age where Jakim is pushing for a billion ringgit budget, there needs to be more scrutiny on just where that money is going, preferably not to individuals who make a living promoting that he was a former priest in “Frankfurter”.
The onus lies now on JAKIM, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and the slew of sponsors for the event to verify these claims from both parties. Otherwise, it is farce to take into account the lecture which may be by a person who has conned the Malaysian public and even our religious authorities for what seems to have been 11 years throughout.
And honestly, after the last fake ex-Christian lecturers in UiTM, there is a more pushing need to verify just who is preaching about Islam in our tertiary education centres.