Religion has always been a sensitive issue. Those who believe in religion, live by the principles, set forth by their own religion.
Historically, mankind are willing to die in the name of their God. in the name of their religion. the Jews were up against Pharoah. The Christians started a crusade to protect its religion. And the Muslims were at war defending their rights to be Muslims.
In modern post-independence Malaysia is no difference. Our livelihoods were made difficult when the British insisted on giving over a million citizenships to Chinese and Hindus, who weren’t Muslims. Unfortunately, Malaysia’s forefathers, instead of fighting for total freedom, wasn’t wise enough to say NO.
For nearly fifty-five years—except in 1969—the Malays, Indians and Chinese lived side by side, harmoniously together. The Malays are Muslims; the Indians, Hindus; whereas the Chinese Buddhists. We respected another’s right to profess whatever religion they may chose.
Suddenly, there was a systematic influx of Christian evangalism, purported to come from Singapore. The local churches were provided with huge sums of money, to penetrate the Muslim majority. News that bibles (English version) were distributed free of charge spread all throught the country. Muslims were invited into churches to be given food and basic sustenance. There were numerous reports that those who drank holy water will not be aboe to recite basic Quranic verses. The Church also went into hospitals in search for those dying, so as to do last-minute conversion.
Suddenly, the Muslims have an enemy from within. The Christians. The enemy comes from everywhere and are equipped with money. Lots of money.
The second eye-opening event was when a Muslim was legally allowed to convert to Christianity. Something unheard or in the Muslim world. There was only one punishment for murtad: death. The fact that a Malaysian court allowed a Muslim to convert freely, was simply unacceptable. But there was nothing the Muslims can do about it. None of the Muslim politicians nor did any of the Muslim legislators lift a finger to correct it. It came, it went and it passed.
Enter, the third and most unacceptable event: the use of Allah’s name in a Malay-translated bible.
Why was it so necessary to have bible in Malay? Aren’t most Malaysian Christians, Chinese, Iban, Dayak, Bidayuh and Khadazans? Don’t these ethnic groups prefer to speak in Chinese, Mandarin, Iban and English? Malay book publishers have had a difficult time penetrating this target group because of the language barrier. Suddenly, Malaysian Christians demanded their right to publish Bahasa Melayu bibles. Now, who are the real target market for these Malay-version bibles? The answer is clear cut.
As if that wasnt enough, the Church took another dangerous step. It insisted, no demanded on its right to use Allah’s name in its Malay-version bible.
A commentor in pro-minority Free-Malaysia-Today questioned, “Everyone has the right yo use the name, Allah. Just as everyone can use the name, ‘Rose’ (the flower).”
Whereas a great Muslim surgeon in California insisted, “We shouldn’t concern ourselves if anyone wants to use Allah’s name. We, being Muslims, should know our own God.”
Yes, everyone can use the word, ROSE. Whether its the Christians, Jews, Buddhist Monks or Tamil Brahmin priests who use the word, ROSE would still mean a flower with a familiar smell, and comes in a variety of colors. The blue rose, would be called ‘blue rose’; likewise a yellow, ‘yellow-rose’; whereas the red, simply ‘rose’. A verb would always be attached to noun so as to better explain a rose’s trait.
Take a tablet, on the other hand. Apple’s tablet is called iPad; Samsung’s Galaxy; Motorolla’s Xoom and so forth. Why can’t Samsung call its tablets, iPads too? You tell me.
Yes, a good Muslim would know his or her God. It wouldnt—and shouldnt—matter whether Obama declare himself as God. A Muslim would know better. But, the concern is not on the already devout Muslims. The main concern are the children. The Muslim children who are as it is, already confused with the influx of sexually oriented movies. The yellow, foreign, western culture. These young minds would not know the difference.
Apart from that once a bible carries Allah’s name, it cannot be thrown or misplaced at will. It must be properly safeguarded, stacked on a higher ground and (when the time prevails) be disposed of accordingly. Allah’s name is not just a name. It comes with responsibility.
Today, the non-Muslim interfaith group chided the Islamic Council and a Muslim’s judge call against the use of Allah’s name in bibles. The action constitutes ‘an attempt to control non-Muslim right to practicing their own religion’ [see article below].
I find the group’s stand on the matter, simply unacceptable. Yes, the Malaysian constitution does guarantee that everyone can practice their own religion, however, it does not warrant the right to to ridicule another religion. By equating the Muslims’ one-and-only God to the Christians’ one-in-three Gods, it is ridiculing the Muslims’ God. ON PURPOSE. And that is unacceptable.
Unless of course, the Christians are willing to acknowlege that there is only one and only one God, i.e, Allah. That Jesus is but a man and a messenger. And that no other men can wipe out sins except Allah. Not even the Pope, Bishop nor the Church.
As it is, UMNO and Barisan Nasional government are having a ball. The ball that used to be in PAS’s court, is now passed back into UMNO’s court. PAS’s Majlis Syura decision was direct and precise, but without central power, PAS would not have the authority to correct the ‘situation’. UMNO, on the other hand, does.
The question is, do UMNO’s legislators have the will to protect the Muslim-majority interests? Should it not do anything, millions of Muslim voters particularly the non-partisans, are ready to reward PAS with their votes. MUSLIM VOTES FOR MUSLIMS ONLY.
After all, Allah SWT had already commanded, “Hai orang-orang yang beriman, janganlah kamu mengambil orang-orang bukan Islam menjadi pemimpin-pemimpin(mu); Barangsiapa di antara kamu mengambil mereka menjadi pemimpin, maka sesungguhnya orang itu termasuk daripada golongan mereka. Sesungguhnya Allah tidak memberi petunjuk kepada orang-orang yang zalim.” (Surah Al Maidah 5 : 51)
MALAYSIAN INSIDER ARTICLE:
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — A non-Muslim interfaith group chided today the Selangor Islamic Council (MAIS) and a former top judge for trying to control the rights of Malaysia’s religious minorities in the tussle over “Allah”, which they said was against the country’s highest law.
The Malaysian Consultative Council Of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) was weighing in on recent statements issued by MAIS and ex-Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheik Abdul Halim, barring non-Muslims from calling their gods “Allah”.
“This is tantamount to imposition of restrictions by an lslamic Council or body against non-Muslims. It could also be seen as an attempt to control the religious practice of a non-Muslim religion by an lslamic body or organisation,” it said in a statement today.
The council warned against the “unhealthy practice” of pushing the idea that non-Muslims were bound by a fatwa or ruling from Islamic bodies like MAIS, saying it could spark religious tension.
“Any attempt to govern non-Muslims or interfere with non-Muslims’ practise of their religion by any Muslim body must be stopped immediately. It would be against the Federal Constitution. This unhealthy practice could also lead to unwanted social repercussions and raising of tensions between communities,” it added.
The statement was signed by Tan Hoe Chieow who is MCCBCHST president and head of Taoism here; deputy president Jagir Singh for the Malaysian Gurdwara Council; and Sing Kan and Prematilaka KD Serisena for Buddhism; and Rev Thomas Philips for Christianity; Datuk RS Mohan Shan for Hinduism.
The non-Muslim interfaith group said there are no laws, whether at federal or state level, to impose rulings or fatwa on non-Muslims.
It stressed that the only law applicable to non-Muslims was laid in Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, which restricted them from preaching their religious doctrine or belief to Muslims.
MCCBCHST said no non-Muslim was disputing Islam’s position as the religion of the federation.
It urged Muslims who disagreed that non-Muslims had a right to call their gods “Allah” to read the Constitution carefully and holistically, pointing to Articles 3(4) and 11(4).
Referring to Ahmad Fairuz, the group said it failed to understand “how the former Chief Justice could overlook the fact that all the enactments of the 10 states are made under Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, and that Article 11(4) only provides for the control or propagation of any religious doctrine or belief amongst persons professing the religion of lslam.”
“This article does not forbid other religions from propagating to their adherents.
“In other words, if you do not profess or practise lslam, then no restrictions may be placed on you as to how you practise your religion,” MCCBCHST said, adding every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs.
The interfaith group also said the High Court had in 2009 ruled that provisions in state enactments forbidding the use of certain words by non-Muslims is unconstitutional.
It added that it supported the decision of non-Muslims to continue to use “Allah” for their gods as found in the holy books.
The “Allah” row, which first erupted shortly after Election 2008, is again in the spotlight in the run-up to Election 2013 and is threatening to drive a wedge between non-Muslims and the Malay-Muslim community who form 60 per cent of Malaysia’s 28 million population.