Friday, October 18, 2013

Allah issue here in Malaysia is ridiculous, not just stupid but raving mad! The Church wanted the Herald issued for Sabah and Sarawak to be allowed to use the word of Allah for they have use it for centuries.In fact the patron of Perkasa Tun Mahathir when he was the Prime Minister has allowed the use of Allah there and the venous outpouring of vitriol(ity) is doing a disservice to Barisan and UMNO. I am sad that these stupid and nonsensitive remarks would lead to the end of Barisan government in the next election.They forgot it was the East Malaysian state that secure the victory for BN at the recent election. If they want to bolt which I encourage it would be the end for the ruling government. Here are the few of the arguments you can find when you surf the net.

Who is confused over Allah?

K Pragalath | October 15, 2013
Christians are not confused. Some Muslims, not all, are.
In delivering his verdict yesterday, Justice Zawawi Salleh stated that there would be confusion among Muslims and Christians if Catholic publication The Herald continues to translate God as Allah.
“If the word Allah is to be employed in the Malay versions of The Herald to refer to God, there will be a risk of misrepresentation of God within Christianity.
“This is because the Christian concept of God as symbolised by the Trinity is absolutely and completely dissimilar to the concept of Allah in Islam.
“The potential for confusion is not confined only to Muslims but also to Christians,” said Zawawi in his written judgment.
The decision to block The Herald from using Allah’s name was a unanimous decision made by Zawawi Salleh, Apandi Ali and Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim.
Going by the various Christian groups that opted to seek a legal recourse in this case, I do not see Christians as being confused over the usage of Allah.  In court yesterday were representatives of different Christian denominations.
Father Lawrence Andrew and Emeritus Archbishop Soter Fernandez are Catholics.  However Council of Churches general secretary Hermen Shastri is Methodist. Sidang Injil Borneo that had a watching brief in court belongs to the Evangelical Christian Church.
Now that I have established that the Christians are not confused over Allah’s name, let’s look at the Muslim groups.
There were, among others, the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA), Malay rights group Perkasa and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA).
ISMA’s second vice president (II) Abdul Rahman  Md Dali even accused Christians of “constantly hatching plots to separate Islam from the Muslims”.
Media reports stated there were about 200 Malay Muslim crowd at the steps of Palace of Justice that performed prayers, thanking Allah for a judgment that favoured them.
However it must be noted here that the Muslim groups and the 200 odd crowd do not represent the majority of the Muslims. Groups such as Perkasa would not gel with Muslim NGOs such as, for example, Sisters in Islam.
So now, who is confused?  And why is there such a confusion when Islamic studies have been part of
the education system for a Muslim student from young? Aside from that Muslim students have to attend religious classes.
‘Our Allah and your Allah’

If there is confusion, is it safe to conclude that the Islamic studies taught in schools are flawed to the extent that it has not instilled confidence to Muslims towards Islam?
Perhaps Muslims who are confused should read the Quran.
Surah Al-Alaq  (96:1) states: Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists).
Of the three judges, Zawawi quoted Surah Al-Ikhlas to support his judgment that there is one Allah and that Allah belonged to the Muslims.
Surah Al-Ikhlas states: Say: He is Allah, The One and Only; Allah, the Eternal,  Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;  And there is none like unto Him.
Unfortunately Zawawi failed to read Surah Al-Ankabut verse 46 that recognizes Christians as People of the Book along with the Jews.
The verse states:  And dispute he not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to him we bow.
On another note, if there are confused Muslims, they should make an effort to deepen their knowledge of Islam and practice the moderation that this faith preaches.
Spirituality and religiosity is the path the human race should take to reach out to Allah. After all Allah is omnipresent and omnipotent.
My last point is Allah’s sanctity is not affected whatsoever even if non-believers used His name.

Jakim, simply being stunningly stupid

CT Ali | October 15, 2013
If there is any threat to Allah, it comes from Umno because of the manner it does its politics, which is totally against what Islam professes.
Islam, according to Department of Islamic Development (Jakim), is under threat and Muslims are being denied of their rights as Muslims.
And if Islam and Muslims are under threat, then Allah too is under threat! So says Jakim, but which Allah and which Islam is Jakim talking about?
Is it the Islam that began when Prophet Muhammad started to preach the revelation from Allah in the year 610 AD? The Islam that had it’s tentative beginning from Medina in 622 AD where Muhammad first established his political and religious authority in accordance with Islamic jurisprudence?
The Islam that then spread through Arabia, Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, India, in fact to about every corner of this universe making it the fastest growing religion in the world with over 1.5 billion Muslims?
Is it the Islam that has withstood so many Holy wars that first started in 632 after Muhammad’s death? The many Holy wars that launched Islam into years of continual imperialist, colonists, bloody conquest and subjugation of others through invasion and war which at times even colonised the Christians and Jews?
Is it also the Islam that spread far and wide through the Islamic Golden Age until the Ottoman era ended when the Caliphate was abolished in 1924?
If Jakim is talking about the same Islam, then I dare say that Islam having survived and flourished from that start in Medina in 622 to its current 1.5 billion believers are more than capable of taking care of itself.
Allah, I am sure, is not threatened in any way by anything that Christians, Chinese, non-Umno members or anything else or anybody else can do. He can take care of himself!
Jakim should know that since all the Holy wars stopped, the spread of Islam had continued through Muslims who became economic migrants. Some landed in the then Malay archipelago many years ago – the same Malay archipelago that has now became Malaysia.
And what manner of Muslims do we now have in Malaysia?
We have Muslim sultans, cabinet members, top level Umno leaders doing all things unIslamic. We have many Muslim politicians who live beyond their means and live a life of depravity and excessive consumption.
There are many Muslims girls working as social escorts and waitresses in bars and dangduts bars and Malay girls working as prostitutes in massage parlours and private houses in KL and all over Malaysia.
There are so many Muslims practicing corruption in the police force and other government agencies. All the above and more are being done by Muslims in Malaysia.
What is Jakim doing?

What is Jakim doing about it all? Ignore what is in front of their eyes and instead tells us that there is a threat to Allah, Islam and Muslims, and that threat comes from Christians!
This is Jakim simply being stunningly stupid in the extreme. Most of all that is wrong with Muslims and Islam is within the Muslims themselves – as manifested by the actions of Umno which is made up of entirely Muslims.
If there is any threat to Allah, then it also comes from within that party too because of the manner they do their politics, which is totally against what Islam professes.
But before we fault Jakim, we must consider Jakim’s position too. These men of Allah working in Jakim have nothing to do with Allah or Islam.
It is a man-made statutory body conceived by the Malaysian Council of Rulers to mobilise the development and progress of Muslims in Malaysia, and it now comes directly under the Prime Minister’s Department.
Observe the two fundamental issues – conceived by the Sultans, and now under the Prime Minister’s Department – a recipe for the creation of a self-serving body for the royalty and politicians – one that Jakim has now become.
Jakim is involved in worldly affairs, not affairs of any spiritual nature. Certainly not Islam! So who plays the tune that Jakim dances to?
Surely those to whom Jakim and its people are beholden to for their wages and their Hari Raya bonus! And maybe Jakim has to turn to us to help them in their cause of promoting Islam because their prayers are not being answered by Allah?
It is not Allah that needs defending. You guys in Jakim need Allah to defend you!
The Holy Quran clearly states: “And say, ‘Praise to Allah, who has not taken a son and has had no partner in [His] dominion and has no [need of a] protector out of weakness; and glorify Him with [great] glorification.” [Quran, 17:111]
I rest my case.

‘Allah ruling betrayed Malaysia Agreement’

Winston Way | October 15, 2013
A senior lawyer and Sarawak PKR chairman claims the Court of Appeal had ignored historical facts which pre-date Malaysia and religious freedom enshrined in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.
KUCHING: The Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn a High Court ruling allowing Christians to use the term ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of The Herald publication has left a “bitter taste” among the Christians in Sarawak.
Describing the decision as a “betrayal” against the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the spirit of their forefathers, Baru Bian, a senior lawyer here, said the verdict was “an illogical and preposterous decision”.
“It ignored the historical facts which pre-date Malaysia and the rights to religious freedom of our people under the Malaysia Agreement 1963’.
“In the Cobbold Commission Report, mention is made of the Muruts (now called the Lun Bawangs). It states ‘a large proportion of the Muruts in Sarawak are fervent Evangelical Christians and emphasis was laid on the importance not only of freedom of worship but of freedom to propagate their faith.’
“I believe this was also true of many other Christian denominations then as reflected in the said report.
“As was pointed out by Archbishop Bolly Lapok last week, the rights of Sarawakians and Sabahans were promised protection in the Government Paper ‘Malaysia and Sarawak’, dated Jan 4, 1962 which states:
‘Although Malaysia would have Islam as the official religion of the enlarged Federation, there would be no hindrance placed on the practice of other religions. Complete freedom of religion would be guaranteed in the Federal Constitution’.
“This decision of the Court of Appeal as such is a betrayal of the undertaking given to our forefathers when they agreed to join in the formation of Malaysia,” said Bian.
He said the people of Sarawak were “very close to, if they have not yet reached the sour end of that sugarcane” as mentioned by the late Temenggong Jugah anak Barieng during negotiations for the formation of Malaysia.
“Today, not only is the end of the sugarcane sour, it also leaves a bitter taste in our mouths,” said Bian, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman.
In his statement, Bian went on to add that the use of the word ‘Allah’ is an intrinsic part of the practice of Christians and disallowing the use of ‘Allah’ is clearly a fundamental breach of our constitutional rights.
“I am aware that this decision is against The Herald magazine, but in our legal system it is now a legal precedent for any similar case anywhere in Malaysia,” he added.
‘Criminalised practice of Christianity’

He added that notwithstanding what has been decided by the court, Christians in Sabah and Sarawak will continue to use the word in exercise of their rights.
He said while the court showed great concern that the Muslims might be confused by the use of the word ‘Allah’ by Christians, it had no similar concern that the Christians might be confused by the ban on the word, which they had been using for eons.
“By this decision, the court has criminalised the practice of the Christians of Malaysia, and has opened up the way for persecution of Christians by the ultra Muslims whilst a cowed and silent government watches passively.
“It appears that we are on the road to Ketuanan Islam in Malaysia.
“I wish to also point out that by this irrational decision, Malaysia has become the only country in the Muslim world which purports to claim ownership and copyright of a word.
“Indonesia, which has the biggest Muslim population in the world, and the Muslim countries of the Middle East do not have any issue with their Christian citizens’ use of the word ‘Allah’.
“What message is this decision sending to these countries?” he asked.
He also urged Christian BN politicians to speak out against the judgment.
“I am glad that James Masing has spoken out against the judgment and I hope all other Christian BN ministers, assemblymen and women and parliamentarians will follow suit,” Bian said.

Allah Issue: Beginning of the End of Malaysia Unless …
If the PM accepts the reasoning of the Muslim NGO, it is time to start dis-engagement talks and allow Sabah and Sarawak to depart Malaysia and the Peninsula can revert back to Persekutuan Tanah Melayu by itself.
Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Chairman, STAR Sabah 
“It‘s not the Court of Appeal ruling but the non-action and continued policies of the Umno/BN ruling regime that will cause the ultimate demise and break-up of Malaysia unless the Prime Minister and Umno/BN show a genuine and sincere all-encompassing transformation of government and politics of inclusiveness and reconciliation” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in response to the Court decision to ban the The Herald from referring and using “Allah”.
The PM and his federal government needs to be reminded that the issue started with the then Home Minister in banning the reference to Allah arising from the Minister’s discretionary powers under the Printing Presses and Publications Act, 1984. It was an unequivocal act of the ruling Umno/BN government.

From there, the downward spiral of race relations quickened with Umno’s political strategy to play the “race and religion” card to regain its Malay heartlands. It shook the very foundation of the official “Malaysia – Truly Asia” and the PM’s own “1-Malaysia” rhetoric and hollow slogan.

It is pretty obvious that the PM and his Umno-led federal government never meant to honour the “1-Malaysia” theme which is now discarded in favour of “Endless Possibilities”. There is no other possibility other than a most probable break-up of Malaysia if the race and religion division is allowed to continue.

The Umno/BN federal government has forgotten that they are the government for all Malaysians and not only the Malays or only in the Peninsula. They have forgotten that it is not the Federation of Malaya that they are ruling but the Federation of Malaysia where the founding fathers of Sabah and Sarawak were promised religious freedom.
Religious freedom was so important that the natives in the interiors of Sabah erected a Stone Monument, known today as the Batu Sumpah in Keningau, to etch into perpetuity such freedom. If not for these promises, there is no Malaysia today.

The use of “Allah” in the Borneo States, or even in neighbouring countries, pre-date the formation of the Federation of Malaya and the Federation of Malaysia. There were no turmoil or any threat of racial disruption.

On the contrary, in Sabah and Sarawak, it was a tranquillity of racial and religious harmony without the rhetoric of “1-Malaysia”. There was no need for a Muslim-Malay NGO to declare that “Christians are our brothers and sisters” because in true life in Sabah and Sarawak, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives were Christians and Muslims and other religions.

The Umno/BN federal government have also forgotten that they are mere passers-by and trustees in their reign of government but think themselves so high and mighty to decide on banning and purportedly seeking exclusivity of the use when nowhere else in the world is any government claiming as such.

The rest of the BN component parties particularly those from Sabah and Sarawak are equally to be blamed for the quagmire and quicksand that they are now finding themselves to be in. Some are quietly contemplating leaving the BN fold but are fearful not for their parties but for themselves with the police, anti-corruption, special branch, income tax, waiting to take the next flight out to arrest them.

The situation now calls for true leadership of the PM and the Umno-led federal government and politics of inclusiveness and reconciliation for all Malaysians. The PM may be reluctant to act because of the pending Umno elections but he needs to remember that the country he is leading today is the Federation of Malaysia not the Islamic Federation of Malaysia.

Perhaps, the PM should consider the calls of the Muslim-based NGO that the Malaysian Christian community can choose to move to any country if they cannot bear to accept the sovereignty of Islam.

Lest it be forgotten, no Christian Malaysian is questioning or challenging that Islam is the official religion of the Federation. It is the treatment of the minority faiths and the actions and policies of the ruling government that is the root cause of marginalization and disenfranchisement. In Sabah, it is sad that the natives are being pitted against each other due to differences in religion when no such problems arise.

If the PM accepts the reasoning of the Muslim NGO, it is time to start dis-engagement talks and allow Sabah and Sarawak to depart Malaysia and the Peninsula can revert back to Persekutuan Tanah Melayu by itself. There is no point in retaining Sabah and Sarawak within the Federation of Malaysia when the ultra-Malays in Malaya keep trying to break it up and without any appropriate response or with the silent acquiescence from the federal government.

Court of Appeal judges influenced by right-wing forces in Allah issue, says PAS lawmaker

October 15, 2013

An opposition lawmaker believes that the three Court of Appeal judges were influenced by right-wing Muslim groups when they unanimously banned the word Allah from being used in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald.
PAS’s Parit Buntar MP, Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic), an advocate of interfaith dialogue, said the decision was a setback to interfaith relations and that right-wing forces were responsible for the current predicament.
Malay rights groups Perkasa, Jalur Tiga and Pertubuhan Pembela Islam have been at the forefront of protests against the use of the word Allah in this issue.
The Court of Appeal, which allowed the appeal by Putrajaya to reverse an earlier High Court ruling that the Herald could use the word, relied on religious and political reasons to come up with yesterday's decision, said Mujahid.
A three-man bench led by Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali said the name Allah was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice.
The court said it found no reason why the church was so adamant in wanting to use the name Allah.
Apandi said such usage, if allowed, would inevitably cause confusion within the community, adding that the welfare of an individual or group must give way to the majority community.
Mujahid, who is also a PAS central committee member, said he respected the court decision but disagreed with the way the issue was handled by Putrajaya.
"There has been a lot of media coverage by the government media, representing the extreme right-wing views. These are people who are not able to understand the need for interfaith relationship. They were given attention as if they represent the whole (Muslim) society, which is not the case," Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.
The son of former PAS president Yusof Rawa said he begged to differ on the threat of proselytization among Muslims as highlighted by the judges.
He said this only went to indicate that the followers of Islam were weak.
Mujahid said Muslims should protect other faiths to ensure freedom of religion and show others that there was no compulsion in Islam.
"We should see the bigger picture. But the decision only meant that people of all faiths cannot be united if we continue to be like this," he said.
Mujahid said the ruling would have a wider impact, especially among Christians in Sabah and Sarawak who use the Bible in the Indonesian and indigenious languages.
He said it was upsetting that the right wing was influencing Putrajaya to the extent of calling for a ban of the word Allah in Sabah and Sarawak.
"If this is done, it would create more problems as the natives had been using the word in their worship for a long, long time," he said.
Since the High Court ruling four years ago, Mujahid has been holding dialogues with Malaysians of different faiths.
He has visited more than 30 churches to meet Christians in interfaith dialogues and assure them Islam would protect all places of worship.
This was after some churches and mosque were vandalised following the High Court decision in 2009 where the Herald was allowed to use the word Allah. Following that decision several churches were vandalised while a pig's head was thrown near a mosque.
Mujahid said these meetings had managed to bridge the gap and that followers of various religions should continue to sit down and talk in a civilised manner. – October 15, 2013.

Muslim clerics at loggerheads after “infidel” label on those who oppose Allah ban

October 16, 2013

Former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (pic) has scoffed at a suggestion by an Islamic bureaucrat that Muslims who question the "Allah" ban on non-Muslims could be regarded infidels.
Asri was responding to a statement by Datuk Noh Gadut, a former Johor mufti turned adviser to the Johor Islamic Council, who warned Muslims who questioned the ban of the word Allah in non-Muslim religious texts.
"Even if you are a diehard supporter of the goverment and everything that they do, you cannot say things that will make you look foolish," Asri told The Malaysian Insider today, referring to Noh Gadut's statement.
Asri pointed out that the use of the word Allah was only an issue in West Malaysia.
"In Arab-Muslim countries, there is no such problem and non-Muslims are allowed to use the word. Countries like Jordan and Egypt see Allah being used in big churches which date more than 1,400 years ago.
"So, is he (Noh) saying that all the Muslim scholars and clerics around the world, except for those in Peninsular Malaysia, are infidels?"
Asri warned that Noh's statement would have wide repercussions as  the Allah issue was non-existent in other Muslim countries.
"He is accusing the other Muslims around the world of being apostates for allowing Christians to use the word. This is big," he charged.
Umno's Utusan Malaysia had quoted Noh as saying that those questioning the decision were deviant and disloyal to the religion.
“If the Muslims question it consciously they can be ruled as being infidels or becoming apostates,” he said.
On Monday, the Court of Appeal banned the use of the word Allah in Catholic weekly Herald, ruling that the word was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice. It said such usage, if allowed, will inevitably cause confusion within the community.
Asri clarified that as long as the word Allah was used to refer to 'the most supreme being', the non-Muslims could use the word.
"So actually it is non-issue. Muslims believe in one God. So how can we say your God is different from mine?" he asked. - October 16, 2013.
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