A banner with the word ‘Allah’ on it, was reportedly ordered by the police to be taken down at the Gempuru Besai Raban Kristian Jaku Iban Malaysia gathering at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) on Friday.
Organisers of the four-day gathering, that began on Thursday and attracted about 7,000 people, were baffled when the security chief of the convention centre relayed the police order to remove the banner. The organisers said that no one from the police met with them personally. (more…)
A banner bearing the word ‘Allah’ was asked by police to be brought down at a gathering of some 6,000 Iban Christians at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) on Friday.
“The participants were surprised. We were embarrassed,” said Patrick Sibat organising secretary of the gathering which was put together by the Gempuru Besai Kristian Jaku Iban (GBKJI).
He added that they complied with the directive as it came, according to the police, ‘from the top’.
“It was even more embarrassing for us when observers from Christian natives groups from Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, India, Mongolia and Taiwan witnessed the whole thing”, he said. (more…)
- UNITED WE STAND: (From left) John Ha, Bolly, Steward, Dr Su, Lawrence, Ng and Ambrose.
Churches in Sarawak yesterday affirmed in front of about 1,500 forum participants their stand on the recent ban of the word ‘Allah’ in the Catholic weekly bulletin ‘The Herald’.
Association of Churches (ACS) in Sarawak chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok said the Bumiputera Church would continue to use the word ‘Allah’ as it is fundamental to all aspects of their profession and practice of the Christian faith. (more…)
The Association of Churches Sarawak has urged Putrajaya to show more commitment to recognising religious freedom in Sabah and Sarawak.
The group’s chairperson Archbishop Bolly Lapok said thus far, Putrajaya hads only displayed “ad hoc benevolence” whenever religious freedom cropped up.
“We need tangible commitments from the authorities to respect and uphold the freedom of religion, guaranteed by the federal Cconstitution as the supreme law of the nation,” Lapok said in a statement today. (more…)
“We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” Republican House speaker John A Boehner said on Oct 16 after the US Congress voted to end the government shutdown.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in declaring the end of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan, said, “Australians do not fight wars of conquest, we fight wars of freedom” (Oct 29, The Australian).
‘We didn’t win’ certainly sounds more dignified than ‘We lost’. ‘Wars of freedom’ sounds less hegemonic than ‘wars of conquest’. (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 only person who does not seem to be observing what’s happening in the country is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Malaysia seems to have developed a mania for negative publicity. The latest is of course the recent court ruling, banning non-Muslims from using the word Allah.
Or that’s what I understood until some cabinet ministers mouthed confusing statements, saying the ban is only binding on non-Muslims in West Malaysia. Then others joined the chorus by adding it was only meant for the Catholic publication, The Herald. (more…)
The Court of Appeal judgment in favour of the government was done at the expense of limiting fundamental human rights guaranteed by the constitution. Such rights are now subject to Islamic dictates. The appeal court did this by throwing out all the six orders made by the High Court of Kuala Lumpur four years ago that allowed the Catholic weekly The Herald in the use of the word ‘Allah’.
Constitutional lawyer Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said the Court of Appeal was wrong in its decision banning The Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in its Bahasa Malaysia edition.
“By linking religious rights under the chapter on fundamental liberties with Article 3(1) of the federal constitution which effectively makes Islam the benchmark for everybody, this runs counter to the general meaning of Article 3(1) of the federal constitution itself,” he was quoted as saying. (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…)
Religious rights are enshrined in the constitution
People who make a great deal of fuss about religious rituals and words are often seeking to draw attention away from the issue of whether they are actually practicing the religion itself.
They hope that by making a lot of noise about such outward matters they will convince people they are religious, when in fact they may be stealing and lying and a lot of other things utterly forbidden by the prophets, who were largely unconcerned by form and ceremony.
All religions are intended to civilise us, which makes it all the more of an affront when people do the most uncivilised things in the name of religion, like attacking other people or indeed attempting to deny them their legitimate rights to their own form of faith. (more…)
Najib, seen here at a Christmas party last year, must stand up to the extreme comments from groups like Perkasa and Jati, say local Christian leaders. The Malaysian Insider pic, July 13, 2013.Christians have had enough of the bashing from the likes of Perkasa and other Malay rights groups. They expect Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to intervene and “do the right thing” by rejecting such extremism.
This was the stand of the president of the Council of Churches Malaysia, Bishop Philip Lok. He was speaking to The Malaysian Insider in the wake of the demands by Perkasa and Jati that the Vatican’s envoy Archbishop Joseph Marino withdraw his support for the local church’s campaign to use the word Allah and that he must apologise within seven days. (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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
And the weather seems to be of similar mind and mood. Outside the rain is pouring down like the tears of heaven, as if in sympathy with those of us spending this day reflecting on how far the human race has – and hasn’t – come since the birth of Christianity.Christmas Day, Sydney, AD 2012. And just for once, with my wife and daughter away on well-earned holidays in Malaysia and the rest of my family elsewhere around the world, I’ve decided to turn down kind invitations from friends to include me in their celebrations in favour of some solitary cerebrations.
Not that the Nativity, as the birth of Jesus Christ has become known, was free of mixed messages. The allegedly “immaculate” conception and apparent celibacy of the self-professed “son of God” have proven endlessly problematic in relation to the sexuality of the faithful. (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…)