Bishop Paul Tan says the decision to hold polling on a Sunday, reflects the callous insensitivity towards Christians.
The Election Commission’s decision to hold the 13th general election on a Sunday has earned the wrath of a senior clergyman.
Bishop Paul Tan condemned it as a reflection of the callous insensitivity towards Christians here.
He said that despite the government knowing that Sunday is a holy day where Christians must go to Church and worship God, EC has fixed May 5 for polling. (more…)
As the nation braces for what is expected to be the hardest fought election yet, Christians all over Malaysia are taking turns to bow their heads in prayer.
If things go as planned, every minute of the day from dissolution day on April 3 until polling day, at least one Christian will be praying for “truth, justice and righteousness” to prevail in the 13th general election.
“We may even extend it to until after polling day, to pray for peace after the results have been announced,” Prayer United secretariat member Chrisanne Chin told Malaysiakini. (more…)
The “Allah” row remains unresolved more than three years after the Catholic Church’s High Court victory.
An evangelical church group has urged Christians to call on Election 2013 candidates to support legislating the freedom for all Malaysians to profess their religion of choice.
The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia (NECF) also said in its GE13 booklet titled “Christians & The Ballot Box” that those elected should table in Parliament draft proposals on child conversion and inter-religious custody disputes. (more…)
Wan Hilmi (loyarburok.com)
When a religious controversy arises, there will be a lot of hoo-ha among Malaysians — no matter how unproductive it is to debate about it.
While Primer Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Cabinet members are trying so hard to promote unity through their 1 Malaysia concept, there is, arguably, zero tolerance among Malaysians when it comes to religious and/or racial issues despite the fact that we have been living together for more than 50 years. Does this show that the 1 Malaysia concept has failed to achieve its objective?
The most recent controversy is the usage of the word “Allah” in Bahasa Malaysia bibles. In my humble opinion, this so-called controversy is a non-issue provided you have fairness, justice, rationality and reasonableness in mind. (more…)
Anna Lee, via e-mail
This letter is written as a partial response to ‘Allah’ is for the whole of Mankind” by Zulaika. Zulaika wrote, “Now, the controversy arises as a result of the doctrine of Trinity held by the Christians, whereby God is referred to as The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost, which will not be accepted by the Believers of the Quran as the truth.”
Contrary to what Zulaika wrote, the trinity that the Quran finds unacceptable is not the Christian Trinity of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. (Christians today prefer to use the word “Holy Spirit” in place of the word “Holy Ghost” as the latter is an old English usage.) (more…)
Perkasa has lighted a fire of religious intolerance which is burning slowly but will grow bigger if not doused.
Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali wants to make a bonfire of the Malay version of the Bible that uses the word “Allah” and is written in Jawi. But a Bible is a Bible, whether it is in English or Malay or Jawi. It is still a sacred book and to throw it into the fire is an act of sacrilege. He is encouraging a course of action which is likely to lead to dire consequences. He has forgotten that Malaysia is a land shared by many races and faiths. (more…)
Amid the cacophony that followed hard upon Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali’s call to Muslims to burn bibles that use the ‘Allah’ term for God, one was hard put to find a reaction and a reminder more bracing than what emerged from the Penang state minister for religion.
Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, the PKR state assemblyperson who has been holding the sensitive religious portfolio in the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat state government since 2008, was quoted earlier this week as saying:
“We are told not to kick, throw or burn any holy book. Those who want to do these acts are discrediting Islam in the eyes of the world.” (more…)
Vidal Yudin Wei
The raging ‘Allah” issue has left this writer wondering if Jakim and National Fatwah Council clerics who can both “see and read” are “blind”.
When I was young, my teacher told me that if I want to study facts I should take up archaeology, but if I want to find out what truth is all about I should choose philosophy.
I ended up somewhere in the middle and discovered that between scientific evidence and logic, there are matters that require a 3rd element called faith – to believe and accept in the absence of facts and figures. And religion is one such matter. (more…)
Tay Tian Yan
While Ibrahim Ali is most definitely a sly fox, he is edging towards political bankruptcy. To someone like this, perhaps we should just watch how he is going to play up his show.
Quoting William Shakespeare in Hamlet: “To be, or not to be: that is the question.” Hamlet is torn between hatred and vulnerability deep inside his heart as if he is possessed by the demon, fighting a war with himself. His choice will very much determine his eventual survival or annihilation.
It’s exactly the same for the next course of action Ibrahim Ali will take. (more…)
This is an appeal to the Christian community in Malaysia to drop the use of “Allah” in the Alkitab. Before you become defensive and/or offensive please read through my reasons.
The first reason is a biblical one. Christians are called upon to live in peace with all men (Rom. 12:18; 1 Tim. 2:2; Titus 3:2).
The unabated provocations against the minority Christians in this country call for restraint and calm on our part.
We are to repay no one evil for evil. We are not to avenge ourselves. We are to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21). We have already won the legal battle for the use of ‘Allah’. (more…)
The increasingly provocative statements by certain quarters is a direct attack on the rights of bumiputera Christians and their religious freedom, says the Commission of Sabah Affairs.
The Sabah Christian community is troubled by the authorities’ failure to censure a peninsula MP for religious intolerance.
The Commission of Sabah Affairs (COSA) of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) Malaysia wants the government to launch an investigation into the inflammatory call by Persaka president Ibrahim Ali on Muslims to burn Malay-language bibles with the word Allah. (more…)
WHAT’s in a name, especially the name of God?
The debate in Malaysia over the word “Allah” in Malay-language Christian texts is a current case in point. No matter what changes occur after the next general election, the issue looks likely to continue bubbling over thanks to politicians who barter religious opinions for partisan gain.
Indeed, the “Allah” issue is likely to spark partisan jockeying and deep division until we build consensus on a fundamental question. Is our national language of Bahasa Melayu — or is it Bahasa Malaysia? — the language of all Malaysians or does it just belong to those who profess Islam and practice Malay customs?
Sabah churches want the government to act decisively against the latest round of anti-Christian frenzy.
“We see the increasingly provocative attacks against the Malay-language bible — Alkitab — by certain quarters as a direct attack on the rights of Bumiputera Christians in Sabah to religious freedom as enshrined in both the Sabah and the Federal Constitution,” Rev Datuk Jerry Dusing, chairman of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Commission of Sabah Affairs (NECF COSA) said.
“We, therefore, urge the authorities to act immediately against such groups and individuals to the full extent of the law before the anti-Christian frenzy gets out of hand,” he said in a statement. (more…)
While some Muslims may find the symbols ‘sensitive’, others don’t mind ‘haram’ advertising of beer.
I MUST admit I’ve not heard of it before. Apparently, there’s a group in Penang which is called Persatuan Mukabuku Pulau Pinang Pinang. In English that should be Penang Facebook Association.
Anyway, as we know recent media reports quoted the association president – a gentleman by the name of Salleh Ismail – as saying “two men were seen circulating bibles to students including Muslim students outside a school in Jelutong, Penang”.
And we also know Deputy Education Minister Dr Puad Zarkashi has asked police to investigate as, said the deputy minister, “proselytisation of Muslims is against the law in the country”. (more…)
Pentecostal Churches of Malaysia representative Bishop Robert Judah Paul also expresses resentment against Perkasa chief’s Bible burning plan.
Perkasa’s plan to burn the Malay edition of the Bible, which carries the word “Allah” to refer to God, is equivalent to burning churches, the Pentecostal Churches of Malaysia representative Robert Judah Paul said today.
“Burning the Bible is equivalent to burning churches and the churches have every right to bring it to their highest authority. Churches which are linked to international non-governmental organisations will seek the international voices to air their grievances… and this would reflect badly on the country,” he told FMT in an interview. (more…)
Francis Y Manickam
I’m incensed when I read Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali urging Muslims in this country to seize and burn Malay Bibles. So where are they going to seize those bibles from? From our houses? Or from our churches? Or do you expect us to surrender the Bibles to them when they come knocking on our doors?
Where are you now, Bishop? You accompanied the Prime Minister and his wife to the Vatican to visit Pope Benedict XVI on July 18 2011 supposedly to foster cordial ties with the Christian community here.
” read here MNI 18/7/11 …The Malaysian Insider understands the Prime Minister’s personal visit is to help repair frayed ties arising from the Catholic Church’s legal suit to use ‘Allah’ to refer to the Christian God in its Bahasa Malaysia Publication. The case is pending in court of Appeals after the church won the right in the High Court on Dec 31 2009. Today Najib formalized ties between” Malaysia and the Vatican ” (more…)
The call by Malay rights group Perkasa for Muslims to burn the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible has stoked the ire of various quarters who question Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s inaction on the matter.
Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo said Najib could no longer remain silent on Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali’s call, which the DAP leader deems “criminal in nature”.
He went on to call on Najib to prove his sincerity in telling Christian Malaysians last month that the government has “not forgotten” them. (more…)
A flyer from a previously unknown group urges Muslims to torch Malay language Bibles this Sunday.
A Christian movement has come across a flyer in Penang calling on Muslims to burn Malay language Bibles at a gathering at the Bagan Luar Municipality field in Butterworth this Sunday.
Bishop Ng Moon Hing, executive secretary of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), said a copy of the flyer was found in the mailbox of a Christian priest residing in Butterworth.
The flyer, printed by a group called Pasukan Bertindak Anti Bible Bahasa Melayu (Anti-Malay-Bible Action Force), urges Muslims to join in the “Malay Bible burning festivities” scheduled at 10am. (more…)
Ng Kam Weng
Proposition 1: We respect the right of PAS to spell out clearly its theological position on Allah.
Proposition 2: We respect the right of people of different faiths to interpret their holy books and profess their faith in their mother tongues.
Proposition 3: We must go beyond polemics in addressing the Allah controversy.
Proposition 4: We invite Muslim leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with Christian leaders to resolve the Allah controversy
The official statement released by Pas Ulamak Syura Council (USC) on 13/1/2013 has caused confusion and concern. (more…)
Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing is appalled by Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali’s statement urging Muslims to burn Bibles that use the term ‘Allah’ for God, describing it as “an incendiary statement that far exceeds the bounds of civil discourse in Malaysia”.
The head of the Catholic Church in the Malacca-Johor diocese, Bishop Paul Tan, said that now that Ibrahim’s “incendiary remarks are in the public domain, let’s wait and see what the authorities will do about it”.
“If there is going to be any point to that slogan ‘1Malaysia’ then this is the time when we can see for ourselves if the concept is mere sloganeering to win votes or an earnest of the government’s desire to unite the people in all their diversity,” argued the prelate. (more…)
Malaysians are growing to be more religious.
Malaysia woke up to a growing religiosity among its citizens a week ago when the Selangor Sultan’s edict reaffirming who can use “Allah” to describe God reignited an issue that has divided politicians and religious leaders.
It began when DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng appealed in a Christmas Day message last month for Christians in Sabah and Sarawak to be allowed to use the Malay-language Bible that contained Allah, the Arabic term for god.
Politicians have joined the debate but as The Malaysian Insider found out in a recent poll, Malaysians are growing to be more religious, be it among Muslims and Christians, and this is fuelling the national discourse over practising one’s faith in the Southeast Asian country. (more…)
Rev Allen Tan, via e-mail
Malaysians have been guessing about the polling dates for the past two years. Now we are into 2013, and the latest date we can go to polls is on June 27. It based on the automatic termination of Parliament on April 27, and after that polls must be held within 60 days.
But it is believed that the most likely date would be on the last Saturday of the first-term school holidays, that is, on March 30. This year the Ministry of Education has unusually pushed forth the holidays to two weeks later at the last minute, breaking the norm of holding holidays on the second week of March. (more…)
There is an assumption among politicians at the national level that no matter what they say about the Christians, the latter wouldn’t dare respond to assert their rights, says Daniel John Jambun.
Christians in the country should not be afraid to assert their rights as Malaysians in matters concerning their faith, said Sabah STAR.
In a statement issued here, party deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun said politicians who get involved in the debates on religion in Malaysia were behaving as if the Christians have no feelings and no rights as Malaysians. (more…)
From Dr SK Teoh, via e-mail
Many Muslims and even some Christians have misunderstood the use of “Allah” in Bahasa Bibles. To clarify some of the confusion:
- The BM Bible or the Alkitab is not translated from the English Bible but from the original languages, i.e. Hebrew and Greek.
- The Hebrew word for God is El or Elohim (similar root as Ilah in Arabic) and YHWH or Yahweh for LORD. The Greek words are Theo for God and Kurios for Lord.
- Biblical translators all over the world have used the local language terms for Elohim and Yahweh e.g. God and LORD in English; Dios and Senor in Spanish, Shangti and Zhu in Chinese (more…)
Ong Kian Ming
Christmas came early for me this year, a month and a half early. I received not one but two presents in November, courtesy of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).
At a dinner held on Nov 5 celebrating the 400th year of the translation of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, I received a reprint of AC Ruyl’s BM translation of the gospel of Matthew as well a complete BM Bible translated by the BSM. AC Ruyl, a Dutch trader, had translated the gospel of Matthew into BM in 1612 and it was printed in 1629 in Holland.
The complete BM Bible was first translated by BSM in 1996 with a revised edition in 2001. Both books are important in understanding the ‘Allah’ debate that was first sparked by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s Christmas Day message to ask the federal government to allow Christians in Malaysia to use the word ‘Allah’ in their worship of their God and Creator. (more…)
Is it not imperative to emphasise the significance of the spirit of Christ in our hearts during the Christmas celebration?
Christmas is just around the corner and it may come as a surprise that many people never reflect on why they believe or do what they do during Christmas.
They basically do what the majority of the Christian faith does or what everybody else does because it is easy and the most natural way to follow.
To put it simply, Christmas is just another occasion and time to be together with families and friends for a feisty and food celebration. (more…)
The government decided to relax travel bans to Israel for Malaysian Christians effective Oct 30 but made announcement only five days before Christmas.
The timing of the announcement to relax the ban on religious visits by Christians to Israel is questionable considering that the general election is imminent.
The government recently lifted the quota on the number of Christian pilgrims allowed to travel to Jerusalem for up to a maximum of three weeks.
Past conditions imposed by the government stated that any one church could only send a group of 40 and only 700 pilgrims were allowed each year. (more…)
Who determines one’s faith – the individual or the The National Registration Department (NRD? It is obvious that it has to be the individual concerned. The NRD has no business to disagree when a person lays claim to a certain faith.
The NRD’s function is to issue MyKad and it cannot act beyond this function. It is very clear. But why then is the NRD making the lives of Bumiputra Christians in Sabah and Sarawak miserable (as reported in the Malaysian Chronicle)?
For Christians, it has been one long struggle to claim their rights. To use the word ‘Allah’ was a tussle; to import the Bible in the national language was a problem. Now, even to claim that they are Christians is a formidable challenge. (more…)
WCW’s comments make us infamous! Usually, to any Western-trained political conservative, anytime a Christian sits on the same side of a table with a Muslim, it is for them a timebomb ready to go off! Why?I have no choice but to respond to Wong Chun Wai’s (WCW) column in The Sunday Star as published in Malaysia Today with the title, ‘Keep faith out of politics’. My reason: Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI) was a co-organiser of the Islamic State Dialogue, together with the Islamic Renaissance Front.
For most such people, first and foremost, words are simply political tools to be deployed for their political purposes or expediency! Let me quote one example: (more…)
With the GE drawing close and the Christian electorate said to be seething, a public forum will address the winds of political change.
The relationship between the Churches and the federal government has been nothing short of tensed as numerous contentious issues have placed both at loggerheads.
Though unspoken, it is an open secret that the faithfuls of the various Christian denominations and their leaders are seething in silent anger.
The grapevine claims that while these shepherds appear to be apolitical in public for obvious reasons, they however whisperotherwise in the ears of their respective flocks behind closed doors. (more…)
A Christian-majority Indonesia could be a threat to a small Muslim nation like Malaysia, controversial academic Ridhuan Tee Abdullah has said as growing Christian proselytisation in the Southeast Asian giant fuels fears of Islam’s followers leaving the religion.
The Chinese-Muslim convert was weighing in on a recent furore in the world’s most populous Muslim nation that is experiencing a growing wave of converts to Christianity — as many as two million people a year — that had sparked a recent campaign to reverse the religious trend called “Save Maryam”.
Indonesia used to be 90 per cent Muslim, he said, but was now recording only 200 million Muslims out of a total population of 240 million. (more…)