Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin urged today for calm even as non-Muslims nationwide fume over Malay rights group Perkasa’s recent threat to burn Malay-language Bible over its use of the word “Allah”.
A Sabah church group said yesterday that the religious freedom of Christian Bumiputeras was under attack, pointing out that most Christians in Malaysia come from East Malaysia and use the Malay language.
“Don’t blow up the issue,” said Muhyiddin (picture) at a press conference here today.
“But people must consider other people’s sensitivities,” the deputy prime minister added.
Church leaders were further incensed over the Malaysian Islamic Development Department’s (JAKIM) Friday sermon yesterday that warned Muslims nationwide of attempts by “enemies of Islam” to confuse them into believing that all religions are the same.
JAKIM had insisted that “Allah”, a word that millions of Arab Christians and those in non-Arabic-speaking lands use to describe their God, belongs to Muslims exclusively to prevent Muslims from becoming confused over the true identity of the Muslim God.
Asked if people should not issue calls to burn Bibles, Muhyiddin said: “They said they did not make such remarks,” ostensibly referring to Perkasa.
Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali called on Muslims earlier this week to burn the Malay version of the Bible containing the word “Allah” and other religious Arabic script.
The police have called up Ibrahim, who is also the Pasir Mas MP, to record his statement, following calls by the Bar Council to charge him under the Sedition Act.
The “Allah” dispute, which first erupted after the historic 2008 general elections, remains a controversial topic in the run-up to this year’s polls that must be held by April.
Debate resurfaced last month after DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Penang chief minister, called on Putrajaya to lift a ban on Malay-language Bibles in Borneo Malaysia.
Several state rulers and Islamic religious authorities then reminded non-Muslims of state laws banning use of the word, despite conflicting with a 2009 High Court judgment that ruled “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.