Tariq Ramadan argues for a new understanding of what it means to be a “moderate” Muslim.
The dust from the collapse of the twin towers had hardly settled on 11 September 2001 when the febrile search began for “moderate Muslims”, people who would provide answers, who would distance themselves from this outrage and condemn the violent acts of “Muslim extremists”, “Islamic fundamentalists” and “Islamists”. Two distinct categories of Muslim rapidly emerged: the “good” and the “bad”; the “moderates”, “liberals” and “secularists” versus the “fundamentalists”, the “extremists” and the “Islamists”. (more…)
Ng Kam Weng
Following the Court of Appeal judgment, the Prime Minister assures Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that the judgment only bans the Catholic Herald from using the Allah word. A few cabinet ministers suggest the 10-Point agreement continues to allow these Christians to use the Christian al Kitab notwithstanding the Allah word.
The PM’s assurance sounds feeble, wishful and arguably misleading when the Appeal Court judgment prohibits the Christian community from using the Allah word on grounds that the word is not integral to Christian faith, that any religious practice must be circumscribed or limited by Islamic sensitivity, and finally, that the prohibition is necessary for national security. (more…)
The ‘Allah’ judgment means the rest of the Islamic world is all wrong. Wow, what a moment – Jakim/Umno have seen more light than the rest of the world!
Why don’t we have such charity shops in Malaysia? I wonder for the millionth time. The answer is, because we have such bloated, competitive egos.
What!? Use a blender that someone else has been using? What if the rice cooker still has undetectable germs that might poison your guts? Uggghh wearing second hand clothes – even if it is a well-preserved Yves Saint Laurent swanky leather jacket that costs 500 pounds which is now being sold at 29 pounds? (more…)
Another chapter in a long history between the government and the country’s Christians
A Malaysia appellate court’s decision to ban the use of the word “Allah” to mean “God” by a Roman Catholic newspaper, which is now pushing the country’s Christians and Muslims farther apart, stems from a political decision that reaches back as far as 1981, when former premier Mahathir Mohamad came into office.
However, unless it is viewed in its political context, it is a controversy that is difficult for non-Malaysians to understand, since the word Allah has been used everywhere by Christians and Jews in the Middle East since centuries before the Prophet Mohamad founded Islam in about 600 AD. It is also used in Malay-language Bibles without controversy just across the Strait of Malacca in Indonesia. (more…)
Jagir Singh stresses the word Allah has been used by Sikhs for more than 6 centuries. The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, October 16, 2013.Sikhs will continue to use the word Allah in their religious practices as the word appeared numerous times in their holy scriptures, said the Malaysian Gurdwara Council president Jagir Singh.
“There is no way the word can be excluded since it is found in the Guru Granth Sahib, just like in the holy Quran for Muslims,” he said, adding that Sikhs throughout the world has used the word in the past six centuries.
He said the 350,000 faithful in Malaysia can continue to use the word found in the holy scriptures despite the Court of Appeal decision on Monday when it banned the word Allah from being used in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, Herald. (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…)
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?
Tay Tian Yan
I sneered at Ibrahim Ali’s threat to burn the Bible, and was instantly reminded of the idiotic Florida pastor Terry Jones.
Two years ago, Jones shocked the world by threatening to burn the Quran.
The entire planet, from people like Barack Obama to Ban Ki-moon, and from the West to the East, was both exasperated and terrorised, some cursing and others trying to appease. In the unfortunate event he really burned the Quran, the deeply planted hatred would once again be revived and the terror attacks and conflicts that would ensue would go on forever.
Several days later, he declared to abort the plan, much to the relief of the whole world. (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…)
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…)
Anas Zubedy, via e-mail
Here we go again… Every now and then, this matter will see the light of day. This time around, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng brought it up in his Christmas message. I personally agree with his sentiment. We should all share the word Allah and make it the universal name for God. As far as the Quran is concerned, this verse explains the universality of Allah clearly.
They are those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, – (for no cause except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause); – for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will) – Quran 22:40 (more…)
In Islam renouncing Allah is an act of treason of the highest order against God.
Malaysia, being a multi-religious country, will have to live with the differences in religious beliefs among the various races. Among the differences that have become issues of contention are:
- the pursuit by Muslim hardliners to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state;
- the supremacy of the Quran versus the Federal Constitution;
- the power of the syariah laws vis-à-vis that of the man-formulated (criminal) laws and principles of democracy;
- the jurisdiction of the syariah courts versus that of the civil courts; and
- an individual’s freedom of choice in religion or beliefs. (more…)
In the philosophy of science, there is one really big action word: Anthropomorphise; which is when one uses human traits, attributes or thought patterns, and frameworks to describe another object of focus.
Therefore when we talk about the ideal of ‘God’ as an almighty or spiritual being that exists independent of all human existence, it is always a very challenging concept to fully appreciate our tendency to ‘anthropomorphise.’
In human language therefore, we consequently often “reduce the very nature and being of God” into human ideas and ideals to better understand and appreciate such an entity bigger than our minds or hearts can fully appreciate or understand. (more…)
The PKR vice-president said last week that religious freedom is for everyone, even Muslims and Malays. Well, here are the facts to prove she has a point.
Yet again, Umno as well as the likes of Ibrahim Ali and Nasharudin Mat Isa have resorted to misusing Islam to discredit a member of the opposition bloc.
According to a transcript provided by Malaysiakini, Nurul Izzah Anwar said at a forum last weekend that “…there is no compulsion in religion… How can anyone really say, ‘sorry, this only applies to non-Malays.’ It has to apply equally.” (more…)
The Islamic NGO condemns the attacks on PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, and points out that faith by compulsion may lead to hypocrisy.
Freedom of religion as a right enshrined under the Federal Constitution must also recognise the freedom to change faith, said Sisters In Islam (SIS).
Rallying behind PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar’s call for freedom of religion for all, the NGO said faith in any religion was based on free will.
“How can Muslims demand this notion of religious freedom for those wishing to convert to Islam and at the same time argue the denial of this freedom to leave Islam? (more…)
Ahmad Farouk Musa
We at the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) condemn and lament the irresponsible mischaracterisation of Nurul Izzah Anwar’s statement on religious freedom.
She merely summarised the gist of the well-known Quranic verse inSurah al-Baqarah which clearly stressed that there is to be no compulsion in matters of faith, for truth and error has already been clearly stated.
Because of that she has been subjected to the crudest level of character assassination from those seeking to stoke controversy and gain political mileage for the upcoming elections. (more…)