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…)
Bishop Paul Tan
The reason why I write this short article is to dispel all doubts about facts, truths and rationality in the use of the word Allah, a non-issue really. It becomes an issue when it is being politicised which is the case in Malaysia. This article is not intended to be polemical.
First, allow me to make a few introductory remarks.
(1) I do not pretend to speak for every Christian, less still for everyone. I speak for many people who do not profess the Islamic faith in Malaysia and perhaps for a number of Muslims in and out of Malaysia. (more…)
So I’m full of admiration for the millions of Malaysians who’ve had to live with this deranged regime day in, day out for decades and have still managed to keep their wits about them.Even just thinking about them one day a week from a relatively safe distance of Sydney, the criminal insanity and inanity of Umno/BN almost drives me stark, staring mad.
And astonished and delighted at the fact that many who have previously been so duped by these kleptomaniacs and pathological liars as to tolerate and even vote for them are finally regaining their senses. (more…)
This must be the craziest statement of the century! It is preposterous for Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria to declare that “Muslims in the country will become infidels if they allow non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’.”
How on earth can Muslims stop being Muslims because others use the word “Allah”? If there was a grain of truth to this absurd claim, then there will be no Muslims in the world!
Is he suggesting that non-Muslims have the power to turn all the Muslims into infidels? Is he proclaiming that Muslims can only be Muslims when non-Muslims stop using the word “Allah”? Otherwise they become infidels? (more…)
An article published on the Perkasa website claims that the opposition bloc is willing to strike out Islam as the official religion and do away with the Malay special position.
As the clock ticks down to the nation’s most poignant general election, various quarters are scrambling to up the ante with regard to race politics.
An article published on the Perkasa website stirs up such sentiments when purportedly analysing the reasons behind the Malaysian Chinese support for Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat.
The Chinese, it said, were backing the opposition bloc because it was willing to strike out Islam as the official religion and remove the special position of the Malays should it seize federal power. (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…)
He said these are the notion and role of an Islamic state currently being promoted by BN/Umno and PAS but both ways are “problematic” as there is no real debate on the issues here.Well-known sociologist Syed Farid Alatas says that one of the greatest dangers facing Malaysian society is the rise of Muslim extremism – Wahabism and Salafism – or legalistic thinking that reduces citizens to rules and regulation.
“There is not much difference between Umno and PAS, except that the former gives excuses that we can’t have an Islamic state because we are a multiracial society,” said Syed Farid (left), an expert in the area of the sociology of religion.
“The correct point I think is that we can’t have an Islamic state because an Islamic state is not good even for Muslims. (more…)
Federal Islamic authorities were accused of fuelling Muslim-Christian tensions with the latest Friday sermon.
A Buddhist group today urged the federal government to resolve the drawn-out dispute over the usage of “Allah”, which has caused division and anxiety between Muslims and Christians here.
In a press statement, the Malaysian Network of Engaged Buddhists (MNEB) said the National Unity and Integration Department (JPNIN), which comes under purview of the Prime Minister’s Department, should step into the fray and end the hostility once and for all. (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…)
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. (more…)
JAKIM cited “scientific” research to back its assertion that Christians have no legitimate claim to the word “Allah”.
Federal religious authorities warned Muslims nationwide today of attempts by “enemies of Islam” to confuse them into believing that all religions are the same, prolonging the debate over the usage of “Allah” by Christians even as it drives a deeper wedge between the country’s two most dominant religions.
In today’s Friday sermon prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) here, Muslims were told that being too open-minded and allowing Islamic rights to be abused by other religions was a “dangerous” act. (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?
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…)
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…)
PAS is ready to engage Christian leaders in an “intellectual discourse” to resolve the impasse on the “Allah” row, party deputy president Mohamad Sabu said tonight.
He said a dialogue would help the Muslim and Christian community to avoid falling into a “political trap” set by Umno, the ruling Malay party that he said was hell-bent on maintaining power through racial politicking.
“They are desperate,” the PAS leader (picture) popularly known as Mat Sabu told a predominantly Chinese crowd at a DAP fundraising event held here. (more…)
Many people do many things all in the name of God. The irony is the very things which they do in the name of God are abhorred by God. Or even prohibited by Him.
History will show us that human beings have tortured, maimed and killed each other, all in the name of God. Untold misery and cruelty have been inflicted all in the name of God. Yet, when they speak of God and their religion, they insist that God is most merciful, most compassionate and most forgiving. And their religion is a religion of peace, justice and fairness.
In Islam, for example, history would show us all that right after the passing of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., Muslims started arguing on who would be the right candidate to be the Caliph. Then they started killing each other. Until now that is. (more…)
It is evident that the council is looking after its own interests, and not that of the people at large, and not even the party’s, in making a statement that saves its own Islamic credentials to the detriment of the party, Pakatan, and the people’s views in general.I think the latest move by the PAS syura council on the ‘Allah’ issue sums up the issue of political Islam nicely. It is an interesting idea, but it will never work.
It shows the council to be far from upright in its purported Islamic principles, but only as a body too ready to please the baying crowds instead. It has showed a complete lack of wisdom in issuing its statement, not to mention a complete show of disrespect to the party and the coalition of which it is a part of. (more…)
Mohd Asri (picture) highlighted that Jews and Christians in the Middle East have been using “Allah” from long ago and continue to do so without any confusion — an argument adopted by non-Muslims in Malaysia, particularly the churches.
Muslims who dispute the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims are those confused about their own faith, popular Islamic scholar Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said in a recent lecture as the religious row on the subject continues to hog headlines nationwide.
In a 14-minute video clip posted on YouTube last Saturday, the former Perlis mufti explained that while the government has a right to restrict usage of the Arabic word for God, it should not use religion as an excuse because Islam allows for followers of other faiths the right to call their gods “Allah” if they are referring to the Supreme Being. (more…)
There is an insidious trend in some parts of the world, particularly in the West, where a significant group of people comprising differing social strata and affiliations voice their disbelief in the existence of God or that the universe is a product of divine design.
Some among these people demand the rights to marry the person of their gender, to choose when and how to have babies and the freedom to end their lives should they find lives too unbearable as a result of sickness.
They call themselves atheists or humanists. They are on a war path with the fundamentalist Christians and other believers who insist that things should be done in exact accordance with the precepts in the Bible or other sacred books. (more…)
The Council of Churches Malaysia criticised PAS for its about-turn to disallow non-Muslims from using Allah in holy books as a show of power by the majority.
The PAS Syura Council’s decision to ban non-Muslims from using Allah in their holy books have drawn fire from the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM).
Its secretary-general Rev Hermen Sastri said the controversies surrounding the issue were “a show of power of the majority”.
“If you say [the usage of Allah] would create confusion, then you teach your people how not to be confused. (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…)
Amin Iskandar, Debra Chong and Leannza Chia
The ‘Allah’ word can be found in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible. — File pic
Neither the Selangor Sultan’s decree nor a fatwa banning non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” for their gods is enforceable, lawyers say, but they added that a 1988 state law could trigger another courtroom battle for those who persist — in the latest faith storm to hit Malaysia.
Christians and Sikhs nationwide have protested the Selangor Sultan’s blanket ban and warning by the state’s Islamic authorities that they would enforce the law on non-Muslims, insisting they have the constitutional right to also call their gods “Allah” as prescribed in their holy books. (more…)
The CCM said Christians have used the term “Allah” for “centuries”.
An umbrella body representing Malaysia’s Protestant churches said today Christians nationwide have been calling their god “Allah” in their worship for centuries and will continue exercising their constitutional right to do so, notwithstanding a Selangor state decree barring the term from them.
The heads of churches of the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) said it had noted the current discourse over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims. (more…)
The contention from various organisations and bodies such as Jakim, Umno and PAS that using the term Allah is the exclusive right of Muslims has no religious basis.
Many Muslim scholars and politicians fear that the Bible and related publications using the word “Allah” as God will influence and confuse “innocent” Muslims, making them susceptible to being converted to Christianity.
If a Muslim wants to stray from his faith, there are 1,001 ways to do it, including entering another religion or even sect. (more…)
Saying he regretted that the Umno-BN government is making this a polemic issue by using the mainstream media, when they (Umno and BN) do not understand and this had resulted in a strain in the relationship among people of various faiths.PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said Islam does not prohibit people of other faiths to use the kalimah (the word) ‘Allah’ in their practice, although it does not reach the original meaning of the Quran.
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said that they have reached a consensus on the issue and wanted Abdul Hadi to explain it further. (more…)
There are major contradictions in the claim that the word “Allah” belongs only to Muslims and Islam, and does not apply to non-Muslims and other religions (JAKIM), and in the insistence that non-Muslims must convert to Islam to use the word “Allah” (Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria).
The contradictions are as follows:
1. If we disallow non-Muslims from using the word “Allah”, are we implying that Allah has no relation to the non-Muslims, that Allah did not create the non-Muslims, but to whom Allah must belong if He is the Creator of all things? (more…)
PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu’s reminder that non-Muslims are free to describe their gods as “Allah” is reassuring, a Catholic bishop said today, after the recent cross-signals sent out by the Islamist party’s information chief.
“The PAS deputy president’s reassurance that the stance of three years ago still holds comes as a relief. We salute his consistency, admire his courage and welcome him as a friend of truth and goodwill,” Bishop Paul Tan told news portal Malaysiakini, a day after Mohamad clarified the party’s stand.
The Malaysian Insider had yesterday reported the PAS leader, popularly called Mat Sabu, as saying: “The PAS’ president had issued the statement in 2010 to not forbid any religious adherent apart from Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’. PAS maintains that stand.” (more…)
Therefore, Egypt’s new regime received democratic support from 64 percent of those who voted for their new and written civil constitution, even if their number of voters seemed to be the lowest level of any national vote.Islamic governance of modern nation-states is now at an experimental crossroads. Since the Iranian revolution, and the subsequent experimentation of an Islamic republic of governance, we are now facing the changing nature of newer and more definitive models of modern governance of Islamic populations, organised as nation-states. Egypt, in their post-revolution against feudalism, is the latest experiment in Islamic forms of modern democratic governance. (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…)
They say in a race it is the last 50 meters that separate the men from the boys.
In the final prelude to the 13th general election – the proverbial last 50 meters that separate a surging Pakatan Rakyat from a struggling BN – the latter is being handed proof that the former is a makeshift coalition which would unravel when underlying ideological differences among component parties become too stark to ignore.
In the last four years, the BN calculation that Pakatan’s ideological dissonances would eventually sunder the coalition turned out to be overly optimistic. (more…)
The Rt Hon Prime Minister,
Shalom and Yuletide greetings of peace, love, and blessings.
Notwithstanding the crucifix controversy during the Christmas reception for you by the Christian community last year, you have decided to join their celebrations this year again. This reflects boldness and courage on your part, Sir.
This augurs well for peace and harmony in the country. It goes without saying that we in Malaysia, continue to enjoy good interfaith relations despite efforts of incendiary bigots in our midst to destroy it. Alhamdulillah, such heinous acts are but in vain as the Lord God Almighty is indeed sovereign over our beloved homeland. Hallelujah. (more…)
“In a well-functioning democracy, the state constitution is considered more important than God’s holy book, whichever holy book that may be, and God matters only in your private life.”
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali (The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam)
I find it extremely funny that PAS finds the time and opportunity to pray for the demise of Umno and BN but has to hold numerous “councils” before they can decide to take action against those errant local council “saboteurs” that DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng seems to think are jeopardising the fragile “secular” alternative alliance. (more…)