Hornbill Unleashed

November 1, 2014

Sarawak leader says Christian items grab reflects rising religious extremism

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Pastor Maklin Masiau (in red shirt) serves the rural areas of Sabah and Customs seized 574 books and 419 CDs containing the word ‘Allah’. The move has angered leaders in Sabah and Sarawak who claim that Putrajaya is ignoring the 10-point solution on the use of ‘Allah’ in Christian literature. – Facebook pic, November 1, 2014.DESMOND DAVIDSON

Pastor Maklin Masiau (in red shirt) serves the rural areas of Sabah and Customs seized 574 books and 419 CDs containing the word ‘Allah’. The move has angered leaders in Sabah and Sarawak who claim that Putrajaya is ignoring the 10-point solution on the use of ‘Allah’ in Christian literature.

While the latest seizure of Christian materials containing the word “Allah” at klia2 in Sepang last week appears to be resolved, Sarawak’s outspoken minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing views the episode as ominous and portends growing religious extremism in the country.

The seizure is not the first in Malaysia, despite the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s pledge in 2011 to allow such materials in states where Islamic law was silent on the matter. (more…)

Seizure of Christian materials a violation of Malaysia Agreement, says pastor

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Maklin Masiau, a pastor whose Christian books and CDs containing the word ‘Allah’ were seized by Customs officers at klia2, has urged his friends and well-wishers to remain calm. – Facebook pic, October 31, 2014.DESMOND DAVIDSON AND JENNIFER GOMEZ

Maklin Masiau, a pastor whose Christian books and CDs containing the word ‘Allah’ were seized by Customs officers at klia2, has urged his friends and well-wishers to remain calm.

The pastor whose Christian books and CDs containing the word “Allah” were seized by Customs officers at klia2 in Sepang last Saturday, said he has been cheated of his rights as a Sabahan to practise his religion as promised in the Malaysia Agreement.

The Customs notice of the seizure of Christian books and CDs. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 31, 2014.Maklin Masiau, who was detained and questioned for 40minutes by the Customs officers before his books and CDs were seized, said he was now prepared for the protracted process of getting the authorities to release the materials. (more…)

Again, Putrajaya shows its bark is worse than its bite

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Before the issue of the seized Malay and Iban-language bibles is resolved, the Customs Department confiscated some 300 Christian CDs and books containing the word Allah yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 31, 2014.THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

Before the issue of the seized Malay and Iban-language bibles is resolved, the Customs Department confiscated some 300 Christian CDs and books containing the word Allah yesterday.

In most countries, civil servants who do not obey cabinet directives are disciplined. But in Malaysia, cabinet ministers have to appeal or cajole civil servants to follow government directives or the law.

The latest is the Royal Malaysian Customs Department’s move to seize some 300 Christian CDs and books containing the word Allah from Sabahan pastor Maklin Masiau in klia2 last week. (more…)

Pastor set to take on Home Ministry

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Maklin CD Allah SabahJoe Fernandez

“I have been cheated as a Sabahan to practise my religion as guaranteed under the Malaysia Agreement.”

A pastor who was detained for 40 minutes at KLIA2 last Sat and had his religious books and CDs seized by the Customs Department has vowed to take the Home Ministry to Court, if necessary, on the matter. He was advised by Customs to deal with the Home Ministry to seek the return of the items seized from him.

“I know the football game has just started,” wrote Maklin Masiau, the pastor, in a posting on his Facebook page, indicating that he was prepared for the long drawn process of getting his materials back from the authorities. (more…)

To all religious and racial bigots, MYOB

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Ng Kee Seng

As a journalist with 35 years’ experience, I find it extremely difficult to write this piece without using “I”.

I always avoid using “I” in my writing because it is truly too “oneself”.

However, I have to give it an exception when it comes to religious and racial bigots who cannot stop MYOB (Mind-ing Your Own Business).

I guess I have to write it the “I” way because the police and the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government just refuse to stop the faeces spewed by bigots to threaten national unity. (more…)

Sending a dangerous signal

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Lim Mun Fah

The Attorney-General’s Chambers’s (AGC) claim that Ibrahim has “defended the sanctity of Islam” has indeed caused a major stir. Not only is it absurd, it may also bring an extremely negative impact to the country.

No one can stop Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali from defending the sanctity of Islam. As a matter of fact, there are so many devout religious believers who would do everything to defend the sanctity of their faiths, which is seen as a truly sacred obligation. The question is: How are you going to put this into practice? Are you going to do this peacefully or violently? (more…)

Sarawak leaders want AG’s head

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Gani patail  Alkitab PerkasaJoe Fernandez

AG sending signal that anyone can say anything, even seditious, “in defence of Islam”.

Sarawak leaders across the political divide want Attorney-General (AG) Gani Patail sacked for bringing public disrepute to the AG’s Chambers in the manner he handled the Bible burning case of Perkasa Chief Ibrahim Ali.

The consensus of opinion in the local media is that Gani has not only created a dangerous precedent by refusing to press charges against Ibrahim for his inflammatory call but contradicted the government’s emphasis on moderation. (more…)

Najib reassurance useless after latest seizure of ‘Allah’ CDs and books

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Hundreds of CDs and books containing the word ‘Allah’ were confiscated from a Sabah Christian at klia2 last Saturday. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 31, 2014.TMI

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s assurance to Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the ruling on the use of the word “Allah” would not affect them has been rendered useless, given a recent report that Christian CDs and books containing the word were confiscated at klia2 last week, a DAP lawmaker said.

Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming said that when the Court of Appeal denied the right of Christian publication Herald the right to use the word “Allah” last October, Najib had assured Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the decision would not affect them given the 10-point agreement issued by the Cabinet.

Given that assurance by the prime minister, Ong has now questioned why hundreds of CDs and books containing the word “Allah” were confiscated at the new low-cost carrier terminal last Saturday. (more…)

Red faced Home Ministry explains seizure

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sabah-flagJoe Fernandez

The release of the material would depend on the pastor involved proving that he had a scheduled flight to Sabah.

Religious items including CDs seized last Sat at KLIA2 from a Christian pastor on the way home to Sabah from Medan, Northern Sumatra, will be released if certain conditions are met.

“We are trying to ascertain if he was bringing it to Semenanjung or taking it to Sabah and if he’s on transit, why was it (the material) in the main terminal? asked Hashimah Nik Jaafar who heads the Home Ministry’s Publications Control and Al-Quran Text Unit. “We are trying to get verification from Customs and the person involved.” (more…)

‘Najib’s ‘Allah’ vow to Borneo Christians hollow’

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Mkini

The latest report of a seizure of Christian CDs at the KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2) shows that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s assurance to Borneo Christians on the ‘Allah’ issue is not reliable, says Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming.

He was referring to a Malay Mail Online report on the confiscation of hundreds of Christian CDs and books from a Sabah resident last Saturday, when the latter arrived at KLIA2 en route home from Medan, Indonesia.

“If this report is true, then it proves Najib’s assurances to the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak are completely undependable and unreliable. (more…)

Cabinet stands by ‘Allah’ pact, wants civil servants to comply

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Cabinet ministers today pledged their support for the 10-point agreement on the use of ‘Allah’ in Christian literature, adding that civil servants should also comply with the agreement. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 31, 2014.TMI

Cabinet ministers today pledged their support for the 10-point agreement on the use of ‘Allah’ in Christian literature, adding that civil servants should also comply with the agreement.

Cabinet ministers today unanimously pledged their support for the 10-point agreement on the use of “Allah” in Christian literature and reiterated the need to protect religious materials, said Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.

The minister in charge of unity also said the cabinet wanted civil servants to comply strictly with the 10-point agreement. (more…)

October 31, 2014

In latest ‘Allah’ incident, Christian CDs and books seized at klia2

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The seizure of the Christian materials at klia2 is the latest to demonstrate the unresolved quandary stemming from regulatory prohibitions against non-Muslim use of the word in the peninsula but not in Sabah and Sarawak. — file picBOO SU-LYN

The seizure of the Christian materials at klia2 is the latest to demonstrate the unresolved quandary stemming from regulatory prohibitions against non-Muslim use of the word in the peninsula but not in Sabah and Sarawak.

Hundreds of Christian compact discs (CDs) and books containing the word “Allah” were confiscated at the Kuala Lumpur International 2 airport in Sepang last Saturday.

The items were the personal belongings of a Christian man who had brought them in from Medan, Indonesia, and was on his way back to Sabah where he resides. (more…)

Umno man fries Dr M’s Bible burning defence

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Mkini

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s justification of Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali’s call to burn the Malay-language Bible is invalid, as the latter’s call was meant in protest said a Sabah Umno leader.

Sabah Umno deputy chief Salleh Said Keruak slammed Mahathir’s comparison of Muslims burning old copies of the Quran so that it would not be thrown out like garbage.

“Burning Qurans, in this case, is an act of respect. (more…)

If Dr M sanctions Bible-burning, God save this country, says Masing

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Outspoken Sarawak minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing called for divine help after learning that former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad endorsed Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning call. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 30, 2014.DESMOND DAVIDSON

Outspoken Sarawak minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing called for divine help after learning that former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad endorsed Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning call.

Outspoken Sarawak minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, who had worked closely with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he was Barisan Nasional chairman, said he had lost respect for the man he had once held in high esteem for defending Perkasa’s Datuk Ibrahim Ali over the Bible-burning issue.

The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president said: “I used to have the highest respect for Tun Mahathir. Now I have second thoughts on his wisdom”. (more…)

October 10, 2014

JAIS Sarawak not involved in ‘conversion’

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Agama-religionJoe Fernandez

The news spreading by Whatsapp and other social media is that “JAIS will be coming to Islamize the villagers in Uma Tanjung Village in Long Bawa on Oct 16”.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) President, James Masing has confirmed that he has checked with Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department, Daud Abdul Rahman, who assured him that JAIS Sarawak is not involved in a reported attempt to convert Christians in Belaga to Islam.

“Daud said he will keep me posted,” said Masing. (more…)

October 8, 2014

For Bumiputera Christians, ‘Allah’ ban akin to cultural ‘genocide’, says archbishop

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Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok says the ruling on the right to use the word ‘Allah’ had failed to reflect the importance of the word for east Malaysians. — Picture by Choo Choy May

The Malay Mail

Putrajaya’s persistence in refusing non-Muslim Malaysians the right to use the word “Allah” is tantamount to the systematic destruction of the language and culture of the Bumiputera community in Sabah and Sarawak, the head of the Anglican Church in Southeast Asia said.

Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok said the word “Allah” has been part and parcel of the community’s language for generations and has become “embedded” in every aspect of their culture, including for the Bumiputera Christians, who make up the majority of Malaysia’s Christian population.

However, the government’s prohibition and the Federal Court’s denial for the Catholic Church to appeal for the right to publish the “Allah” in its weekly newspaper, had made the Bumiputera Christians feel they had been wronged, said the Sarawakian senior clergyman. (more…)

September 3, 2014

Indonesian minister says ‘Allah’ ban going too far

Darshini Kandasamy

Prohibiting use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims is taking things a bit “too far”, says Indonesia’s newly-minted minister of religious affairs.

Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said the word ‘Allah’ should not be exclusive to any one religion.

“The ministry feels this (having such a prohibition) is going a bit too far. To me, anyone can use the word (‘Allah’).

“Muslims themselves (in Indonesia) are different, in their accents, in how they greet one another and how they mention God,” Lukman (left) said. (more…)

August 22, 2014

Time for all to condemn Islamic State for their violence

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THE MALAYSIAN INSIDERIslamic State fighters in Syria are seen here with confiscated cigarettes to be burnt last month. The group's brand of extremism and atrocities against fellow Muslims in the name of Islam has only been condemned by two Muslim leaders, Dr Mahathir and Indonesian president Susilo Bambang. - Reuters pic, August 21, 2014.

Thus far, only two global Muslim leaders have come out to condemn the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) – or Islamic State (IS), as they call themselves now – for their violence and large-scale slaughter in both the Middle East countries.

Former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Dr Mahathir condemned the group four days ago, saying it has misinterpreted Islam which is a religion of peace.

“There is no place for violence in Islam. Islam is a religion of peace and some people have wrongly interpreted the religion,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after a youth forum in Putrajaya. (more…)

August 21, 2014

Fight to use ‘Allah’ among Christians not over, says church’s lawyer

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In June, the Federal Court dismissed the Catholic church's application for appeal, citing that the Court of Appeal was right in its decision to ban the word ‘Allah’ in the Herald. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 21, 2014.V. ANBALAGAN

Malaysia’s Catholic Church will continue its fight to use the word “Allah” in its weekly publication, Herald, when it files a review application next week to set aside the Federal Court’s dismissal of its application to appeal the ban, one of its lawyers said.

The lawyer told The Malaysian Insider that the church’s review application, which could be filed as early as Monday, will also seek a new bench to rehear the leave application.

“We are compelled to file this application due to serious errors of law in the majority judgment,” the lawyer told The Malaysian Insider. (more…)

July 25, 2014

Harsh Islamic Law Loses Momentum in Malaysia

Hudud 2Our Correspondent

Amputation and stoning disappear into a committee

It is beginning to look like the issue of implementing seventh-century Islamic law requiring the amputation of limbs and stoning of adulterers has crested in Malaysia and is receding.

The issue attracted widespread concern among human rights groups and the international investing community as well as within the country itself, with Chinese, Indians and other minorities loudly objecting to any attempts to enact such a law, not only because they deemed it as barbaric, but because they fear it would spread from Muslims to wider segments of the population. (more…)

July 24, 2014

I have a clear stand over the brouhaha.

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wake upKim Destiny

Zionist-Hamas issue leads many of us in to emotional judgement that most of us would not be able to see things from different angles.

Not only are we full of hatred and biased view of being so unilateral, but we are playing and poking around with religions and sentiments that affect not only people in the middle east, but many people around the globe.

To me, I rather choose not to put the blame on one of the two nations nor did I see religion should be one of the major influences for me to be on one side of the parties involved. (more…)

Judges must validate decisions in cases involving constitutional issues, say lawyers

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The legal team in the case brought by Sarawakian Jill Ireland against the Home Minister and the government may appeal the case despite getting a favourable decision on Monday, in order to get a firm judgment on the outstanding constitutional issue over Ireland's right to practise her faith. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Shafiq, July 23, 2014.V. ANBALAGAN

The legal team in the case brought by Sarawakian Jill Ireland against the Home Minister and the government may appeal the case despite getting a favourable decision on Monday, in order to get a firm judgment on the outstanding constitutional issue over Ireland’s right to practise her faith.

Judges will be seen as abdicating their duties when they refuse to make decisions as requested by litigants, especially in high profile public interest cases, lawyers said.

Citing the recent High Court decision in the Jill Ireland case, lawyers said litigants looked upon competent legal minds in the judiciary to enlighten them when it touched on their constitutional rights. (more…)

July 23, 2014

‘All Sarawak parties must make stand on hudud’

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Mkini

Sarawak DAP today cautioned non-Muslims in Malaysia, especially those in Sarawak, about a paper presented by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) that says hudud can be implemented in the country without the Federal Constitution being amended.

Once hudud is adopted by the government, the Jakim paper says, it would apply to all Malaysians irrespective of their race or religious belief, it said.

Jakim comes under the Prime Minister’s Department.

“Hudud is not suitable for Sarawak,” Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen said. (more…)

What the Quran says about Jews and Christians

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e9f9b-ancient-macedonia_exhibition_02Ro Waseem

A common misconception about the Quran is that it promotes hatred of Jews and Christians, and asks Muslims to not be friends with them.

Strangely, instead of voicing out against such a misrepresentation of verse 5:51 (which contains the commandment), some Muslims actually revel in quoting this verse as a means of feeling superior, perhaps. Who needs enemies, when you have such believers? But I guess, that’s the karma of blindly following religious figures.

Here’s the much quoted verse: (more…)

Anwar denies keeping mum on hudud

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Mkini

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has denied DAP Sarawak’s claim that he has been keeping silent on the hudud issue in Pakatan Rakyat.

Anwar said on the latest occasion, he had touched on the issue at a forum held at the Royal Selangor Club on July 9.

“Contrary to DAP Sarawak’s statement, I already spoke about the matter two weeks ago,” he said.

“It was related to justice for all, regardless of their race or religion. I made specific reference to the hudud issue in Kelantan,” Anwar said at the PKR headquarters last night. (more…)

July 22, 2014

Court orders return of confiscated Christian CDs

Hafiz Yatim

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has ordered the Home Ministry and government to return the eight Christian religious CDs with the word “Allah” that it seized from Sarawakian Christian Jill Ireland in May 2008.

However, Justice Zaleha Yusof declined to rule on the constitutional prayers under Article 8, 11, sought by Jill.

Justice Zaleha ruled that the senior authorised officer from the Customs Department, Suzana Muin, who issued the seizure order, had acted illegally in withholding the CDs as such powers lie with the home minister. (more…)

July 18, 2014

New KL Archbishop has heavy cross to carry

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From left: Pakiam and JulianFrancis Paul Siah

On July 3, I joined my fellow Catholics in welcoming news of the appointment of Rev Father Julian Leow as the new Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur.

The post has been vacant following the retirement of Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam eight months ago. Pakiam is required by canon law to step down as head of an archdiocese upon reaching 75.

Julian’s appointment by Pope Francis was announced by the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia, Archbishop Joseph Marino. The embargoed July 3 press release carried a Vatican City dateline, attesting to its importance and supreme hierarchy of the Catholic Church. (more…)

July 12, 2014

Leave denied in Herald seizure case

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Malaysia Allah BanJoe Fernandez

The lawyers argued that they should have been granted leave so that the merits of their case can be heard.

The High Court of Sabah and Sarawak in Kota Kinabalu this morning denied leave to two plaintiffs, an activist and a lawyer, to apply for leave for Judicial Review against the seizure of 2,000 copies of the Herald, the Catholic weekly, on 26 October last year at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Daniel John Jambun, the President of the UK-based human rights NGO, Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPIM) and senior Sabah lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph applied for leave to file the Judicial Review. (more…)

July 4, 2014

‘Allah decision devastating blow for Sarawakians’

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Dukau Papau

Sarawakians, especially Christians, are not convinced by the assurance from Chief Minister Adenan Satem that the Federal Court decision to ban the use of the word ‘Allah’ by the Herald will not affect them.

“I do appreciate the words of our chief minister that ‘this will not be a problem for us’, and I commend him for speaking up for Sarawakians,” Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian said.

“I believe he is sincere in his intention to keep his word as long as he is the chief minister.

“But I remain unconvinced that Sarawakians are not affected. There have been incidents in Sarawak, such as the holding up of the Al-Kitab at Kuching Port in 2008 and 2011, and the raids carried out on Christian bookshops in Sarawak by the Islamic authorities. (more…)

July 3, 2014

Fate of seized Bibles remains uncertain

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Mkini

The fate of the seized Iban and Malay language copies of the Bible remains uncertain as Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim keeps the people guessing over the progress of the situation.

Khalid, who chaired the exco meeting earlier today, said he had met the attorney-general (AG).

“There is a resolution and now it is in the process of implementation. I cannot give more comments as it has already begun. I will announce it later,” he said.

Some 321 copies of the Bible were seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia’s office last January. (more…)

July 2, 2014

Why is a law that promotes equality and fair play deemed anti-Islam?

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Sonia Ramachandran

The three “unity bills” scheduled to replace the Sedition Act include an anti-discriminatory legislation (draft National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill 2014) which brings into contention “Bumiputera” concessions and quotas in business and whether these would fall under the purview of the intended Acts of Parliament.

National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) law and policy committee deputy chairman Lim Chee Wee reportedly said the government must show such discrimination was protected under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, or that the discrimination was “fair” because it was reasonable and necessary. (more…)

‘Allah’ controversy resurfaces in another court

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Bible and KoranBob Teoh

Far from putting the issue to rest, the Federal Court 4-3 majority judgment last Monday favouring the government over the Herald case now seems to be stirring the hornet’s nest in the Jill Ireland case at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning.

Senior counsel Philip Koh, who is keeping a watching brief for the Majlis or council of non-Muslims religions, pointed the case is not confined to Christians as Sikhs and others also use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in their Holy Scriptures. He cited the dissenting judgment of Datuk Zainum Ai that “a secular court such as ours is ill-equipped to determine the veracity, accuracy or even sincerity of subjective religious beliefs about doctrine and practices. Such disputes were certainly outside the recognised perimeters of judicial competence.” (more…)

July 1, 2014

Malaysia: Apocalypse Now

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e9f9b-ancient-macedonia_exhibition_02Boniface Willy

The month of June is when the Dayak and the Kadazan-Dusun communities of Sarawak and Sabah celebrate the festivals of the Gawai Dayak and the Pesta Kaamatan, in thanksgiving for a bountiful year. It is a time of rejoicing and merry-making.

This year preparations for the festival by these two largely Christian communities of East Malaysia were tempered by trepidation, brought about by the issue of Allah and the failure of the government to deal with it in a manner that speaks of justice for the Christians of Malaysia. And their fears were not unfounded. (more…)

Even the Quran says ‘Allah’ used by Christians and Jews, High Court told

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BSM representative Alfred Tais (left) with Jill Ireland's lawyers Annou Xavier and Datuk Kenny Ng, at the High Court today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by  Shafiq Safiee, June 30, 2014.JENNIFER GOMEZ

A lawyer, representing a Sarawakian Christian challenging the home ministry’s seizure of her religious compact discs for containing the word “Allah”, has questioned the ministry’s justification that the term was exclusive to Islam and Muslims.

Nizam Bashir told the High Court today that an officer from the ministry had clearly acted on an incorrect basis of fact.

Nizam quoted from affidavits of experts submitted in the case, stressing that the Quran contains references to Christians and Jews using the word “Allah” as a reference to God in affirmative and in encouraging terms. (more…)

Again the May 13 threat being spewed with seeming impunity

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Ng Kee Seng

Who are you, Zulkifli Noordin, to issue a stern warning to what you label as Christian “chauvinists and extremists” not to test the patience of Muslims?

Who are you to warn Malaysians not to invite another May 13?

Zulkifli, you are just a failed politician rejected by Malaysians and you are now clamouring for attention to get back into the corridors of power.

In fact, it is people like you, race and religious bigots, who are threatening harmonious and peace-loving Malaysians and Malaysia. (more…)

June 30, 2014

It’s all a political game in Allah row

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kalimah allah perkasaStephen Ng

Umno playing same strategy to woo Muslims.

Although the Christian community in the country has been made the scapegoat, things have to be put into perspective for the sake of unity and harmony.

Both the Alkitab and the Sikh scriptures use Allah as a name referring to God, but only the Christian scripture is being targeted, ridiculed and confiscated.

Despite having only the flimsiest argument against the use of the name Allah by non-Muslims, the religious bigots calling themselves “champions of Islam” continue to victimise the Christians in this country. They say that when the name Allah is used in the Alkitab, it confuses the Muslim community. (more…)

Civil courts take precedence over shariah courts, says former judge

Civil courts, including the Federal Court, were established under the Constitution and have precedence over shariah courts, says a former Federal Court judge. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 29, 2014.V. ANBALAGAN

Civil courts take precedence over shariah courts by virtue of their creation under the Federal Constitution unlike the shariah court, which was established out of state law, a retired senior judge said, refuting the inspector-general of police’s contention that both courts were of equal status in his refusal to execute recovery orders from civil court in two interfaith child custody cases.

Former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram (pic, left) said shariah courts were subordinate to civil courts because they were enacted under state laws.

He said in the Malaysian legal system, the Constitution was the supreme law and laws passed by Parliament and state assemblies were subordinate to it. (more…)

June 27, 2014

‘Screaming radicals sowing division among us’

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malaysia_flag_bible_300Iskandar Dzulkarnain

Once, we were proud of our country,but today we are bogged down by racial and religious turmoil.

Malaysia was once a promising country with a boisterous economy and a budding democracy. And to make it even better, Najib gave us 1Malaysia and Endless Possibilities. So why have things gone so wrong?

Today the country seems stuck in a mire of racial and religious turmoil worked up by right wing politicians and NGOs that are obviously friendly to them but whose leaders swear they are neutral and bipartisan. We sometimes wonder how these NGOs can find so much time and money to organise all their protests. (more…)

We will continue to seize Bibles with ‘banned’ words, says Muslim body

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MD IZWANMais chairman Mohamad Adzib has agreed to comply with the Sultan of Selangor's instruction for the courts to decide the fate of the 321 Bibles kept by Jais since January. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, June 25, 2014.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) today insisted it will continue to seize Bibles that contained the word Allah in the state, adding that it had every right to destroy the holy books it had already seized earlier this year from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).

Its chairman Datuk Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa said operations to counter the distribution of such Bibles in Selangor will continue and warned that it will not hesitate to arrest those distributing it.

“This process will go on and we will also make arrests,” he said in his speech at an event in the Tabung Haji Complex in Kuala Lumpur today. (more…)

Award-winning American Muslim scholar on Allah ruling: ‘We are laughing at you’

Reza Aslan says Christians using the word Allah do not pose a threat to Islam. - Pic courtesy Wikimedia Commons / Roanoke College, October 22, 2013.ELIZABETH ZACHARIAHBY 

Reza Aslan says Christians using the word Allah do not pose a threat to Islam.

A well-known American Muslim theologian has joined a long list of critics over the recent Court of Appeal ruling on the use of the word Allah, saying it was a “political decision more than anything else”.

“This notion that Malaysian Muslims need to be protected by the court because you can’t think for yourself, you can’t make decisions on your own. We are laughing at you,” said Reza Aslan, speaking on BFM Radio’s Evening Edition programme yesterday. (more…)

Anwar slams Najib over ‘Allah’ acrimony

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Mkini

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said the lack of leadership from the prime minister and the courts has allowed “irresponsible elements” to hijack the discourse on the ‘Allah’ issue.

Anwar was lamenting the missed opportunity at a reasoned debate over theHerald’s ban on using the word ‘Allah’ arising from the Federal Court’s decision on Monday.

“It is unfortunate that a great opportunity has been lost for reasoned and enlightened thinking to prevail over rabble-rousing and extremist sentiments. (more…)

Sarawak CM Rejects Putrajaya’s Allah Ban

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herald_300x200Joe Fernandez

An NGO takes issue with the government’s stand that the Allah ruling only applies to the Herald.

A UK-based NGO on human rights, Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation, has disagreed with the government that the “Allah” ruling by the Federal Court applied only to the Catholic weekly, Herald.

“There cannot be one law for the Herald, and another law or no law for others on the same issue,” said its president Daniel John Jambun.

He pointed out that the Federal Constitution states that “all are equal before the law” and that it guarantees “freedom of worship”. (more…)

June 26, 2014

Weak leadership is one reason for religious tension today

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Cindi Loo

With the 4-3 decision of the Federal Court on June 23 against the Catholic Church’s appeal on “Allah”, national leaders must rise to the occasion and bring some semblance of unity among the increasingly divided communities in the country.

If there is no strong mandate and no strong leadership to bring the people out of this conundrum whereby they are divided by religious arguments, Malaysia will only continue to move towards an era of disorder. (more…)

‘Fear ban will extend to Sabah, Sarawak’

simon+masingWinston Way

Sarawak senior minister James Masing says there are no winners in the Allah ruling, only losers

There are fears that Christians in Sabah and Sarawak will be penalised, in the wake of the Federal Court’s judgment against the Catholic Church yesterday.

Sarawak senior minister James Masing, who expressed this fear, also said that the nation would be at the losing end following the Federal Court’s dismissal of the Catholic Church’s application for leave to appeal against the ban on the use of the word “Allah” in its weekly publication, Herald. (more…)

Bibles now in custody of deputy public prosecutor, says Mais

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The Bibles - AlKitab and Bup Kudus - are now in the care of the deputy public prosecutor's office and not with the Islamic authorities in Selangor. - June 25, 2014.TMI

The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) has handed over all 321 Bibles which were confiscated from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) in January, to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) for further action.

Mais chairman Datuk Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa said he had written to the DPP as instructed by the Sultan of Selangor as well as on the suggestion of Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail last week pertaining to the status of the 321 Bibles which are in Bahasa Malaysia and the Iban-language, Bernama reported today.

Last week, the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, commanded that Mais resolve the issue on the confiscation of the Bibles according to existing legislation. (more…)

June 25, 2014

Jais now passes the buck on the seized Bibles to Selangor MB

The AlKitab and Bup Kudus at the heart of the storm within the Selangor administration with its religious officers unwilling to comply with a directive from Selangor MB Khalid to return the holy books to the BSM. - The Malaysian Insider pic, June 24, 2014.JAMILAH KAMARUDDIN and MOHD FARHAN DARWIS

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) has pushed the contentious issue of the seized Bibles back to the Selangor Menteri Besar, saying any decision on the holy books lies with Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

An officer from the office of Jais deputy enforcement director Mohd Shazihan Ahmad said that any questions or comments about the Bibles will now have to go through the menteri besar.

“We are not going to make any statements about the Bibles. It is all up to the menteri besar now,” said Shahizan’s officer to The Malaysian Insider in Shah Alam today. (more…)

‘MAY 13’ VERSION 2: MALAYSIA IS ABOUT TO ERUPT

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Raja Petra Kamarudin

Serious damage has been done to race relations in Malaysia. And the problem with this is the damage is so severe and so far gone that reconciliation is almost impossible. So where do we go from here? Are we going to settle our differences on the streets? The way we are going it looks like there is no other way to settle our differences.

I have been monitoring the comments and postings in Facebook and Twitter and I can see that the racial and religious divide has gone beyond the point of no return. Malaysia is now poised to explode into ‘May 13’ version 2. (more…)

June 24, 2014

Christians to continue using Allah in services and Bibles, says Christian Federation of Malaysia

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TMI

The Christian community will continue to use the word Allah in Bibles, church services and gatherings as the Federal Court ruling today was only confined to the Catholic weekly, Herald, said the Christian Federation of Malaysia.

Its chairman Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng said that given the court’s refusal to grant the Catholic church leave to appeal, it will treat the decision of the Court of Appeal as being confined to that particular case.

“We maintain that the Christian community continues to have the right to use the word ‘Allah’ in our Bibles, church services and Christian gatherings in our ongoing ministry to our Bahasa Malaysia-speaking congregation, as we have done all this while,” he said in a statement today. (more…)

Still controversy over Allah’s decision

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Bible and KoranBob Teoh

The Federal Court was wrong for not allowing the Catholic Herald to appeal to the highest court in the land to plead its case that it has a fundamental and constitutional right to use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in the Bahasa edition of its weekly newspaper.

There is no avenue for further appeals as this is already an apex court decision. However, lawyers for the Herald have indicated that they may take a rare action to ask the Federal Court itself to review its own decision.

The Federal Court’s decision this morning was wrong on two counts alone simply because there was no evidence before it came to this decision. There was certainly no consensus on such a controversial issue as it was a 4-3 decision by the seven-person bench at best. (more…)

End of the road for Church’s ‘Allah’ appeal

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Hafiz Yatim

The seven-member panel of the Federal Court refused to grant leave to hear the appeal by the archbishop of the Catholic Church in the “Allah” case.

This follows the majority decision of four judges, led by Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, in not allowing leave.

The judges with Justice Arifin are Court of Appeal President Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin and Federal Court judge Suriyadi Halim Omar.

In his judgement, Justice Ariffin held the opinion that the Court of Appeal had already conducted an objective test on the matter at hand as such, the Federal Court should not disturb the findings of the Appellate Court. (more…)

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