Hornbill Unleashed

October 22, 2013

What’s in an awesome name? EVERYTHING

KALIMAH ALLAH: What’s in an awesome name? EVERYTHINGChristopher Fernandez

The invoking of the name of “Allah” is awesome to billions of Muslims and non-Muslims alike around the world. Its reverberations can be felt not just on this earth and the heavens but throughout the universe and such is the magnitude of reverence and honor that is bestowed upon this name which is above every other name.

While people of various faiths go about worshipping Allah all around the world unhindered, the Court of Appeal who sat to hear the prohibition of the use of the name “Allah” in the Catholic weekly newspaper The Herald capitulated and bowed to pressure from fundamentalist Islamic groups and extremists in Malaysia to ban the use of the word in the publication.

In an unprecedented move, a first-of-its-kind in the world, a Malaysian court has imposed a ban on the use of the word “Allah” although it has been in use by them for generations. Is Malaysia trying to prove to the world that they are more Islamic than other countries around the world?

In an obvious “kow-tow” (bowing) to these lunatic fringe groups by the Malaysian judiciary, the international community needs to take a serious view, especially the United States and the United Nations, of the extent to which Malaysia goes about to promote terror.

Malaysia is now a known base for the recruitment of terrorists by groups such as JI, Al-Qaeda and Laksha-e-Toiba. Most of the Malaysian terrorists hail from extremists Islamic groups and fundamentalists that are separate and distinct from the majority of Malay-Muslim Malaysia who has no qualms about Christians using the name of Allah.

In a show of sense, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto head, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said it will not support the call for a ban on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims unless it is used with bad intentions, improperly or in a degrading manner.

Widespread consequences

Although the Court of Appeal ruling prohibiting the use of the word “Allah” is limited to the Bahasa Malaysia section of The Herald, the implications have widespread consequences as already extremists Malay rights groups have called for the ban to be extended to churches in Sabah and Sarawak.

While Malaysian Catholics in the peninsula generally do not use the word “Allah” unless they celebrate mass in Bahasa Malaysia, this is a move that is set to irk and upset many Sabahans and Sarawakians and looks set to tear the nation apart as these Christians in East Malaysia are also bumiputras or indigenous people like the Malays.

The Sarawak Dayak Iban Association or Sadia said calls for the ban to be extended to Sabah and Sarawak are uncalled for and against the spirit of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement to which Sarawak was signatory and also the Cobbold Commission Report on the formation of Malaysia.

Sarawak Dayak National Union in a statement said any ruling to stop Dayaks from using the word is tantamount to infringing Christians’ constitutional rights. They further stated that it is also against the fundamental right to freedom of worship.

Other organizations are also beginning to make similar statements venting their anger at these extremist Malay rights groups such as the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association which stated that any ban on the use of the word “Allah” by them is an infringement of the rights of Christians in Sarawak.

This split between West and East Malaysia has grown almost overnight over the use of the word “Allah.” And it is not encouraging to see the way and the manner in which Barisan Nasional (BN) especially UMNO and its leaders who are backing the call of these Islamic fundamentalists and extremists groups.

Should right thinking Malaysians, who compose and make up the majority, be held ransom by these extremists groups who are known exporters of terror and who are bent and intent on destroying Malaysia’s leading role in the Global Movement of Moderates.

Indirect results of the ban

Unwittingly, this move to clampdown on the use of “Allah” has caused the Catholic Church in Malaysia to gain a great amount of sympathy. There are sympathizers from all over the world who are reaching out in a great show of support to the Malaysian Catholic church for the persecution they are undergoing in the hands of a motley bunch of bullies from Islamic fundamentalists and extremists groups in the country.

The move by the Archbishop, Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, as titular head of the Catholic Churches of Malaysia and Singapore to take the matter to court, is seen and attested to by many as gallant and brave to withstand the anguish and turmoil the clergy has undergone.

The fight has moved to the apex court. The Catholic Church has decided to appeal the decision and seek redress from the Federal Court where it is envisaged more undue harassment and needless persecution of the innocent Malaysian Christians will take place expectedly by extreme Islamic groups.

While the Catholic Church contends that its members have all this while been using the name of “Allah” with good intentions and rightful purposes and have encountered no problems, this move to ban the use of the name is seen by many as frivolous and mischievous.

It is an issue that is fomenting a great deal of tension and resentment among Malaysians and the lunatic groups must not escape but be hauled up for their ill intentions and for blowing the issue out of proportion.

It is also shameful and degrading to witness the stance of BN-UMNO leaders although the silent majority of Malays in this country do not have any quarrel with the Christians anywhere using the name of Allah to worship and for the promotion of peace and goodwill.

Resolving the issue is important

The issue over the use of the word “Allah” in The Herald is really a non-issue that would not have cropped up and gotten out of control if the BN government had the foresight and wisdom to nip the problem in the bud.

This issue has now become a complicated and complex phenomenon and the majority of Malays do not wish to be drawn into the fray. They wish for peace and goodwill just like the Christians. It would not have come to this critical stage if the government had not been napping on the issue.

What is left now is to make sure that sanity once again prevails. The judiciary has to act fair and square and in an impartial manner to restore the freedom of Christians to worship and not impose its will needlessly and unnecessarily on them and not bow to pressure from any quarter.

As far as the facts of the case is concerned, it is quite easily evident to see that it is important to protect the rights of Christians and to allow them the freedom to worship and not impose undue infringements just because of the calls of lunatic groups who have really no say in this matter.

It is high time Malaysia keeps in check the workings of these lunatic groups and put them under surveillance and watch to ensure they do not disrupt the harmony and peace and stability of the nation and to act in a fair and just manner to all Malaysians irrespective of race or religion.

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