- Allah edict masks power play
- The Malaysian 'Allah' ban is about putting minorities in their place
- Wrong to deny fundamental rights just because some will be confused
- Allah, the Malay God
Posted: 16 Oct 2013 09:58 PM PDT
Posted: 16 Oct 2013 12:22 PM PDT
The 'Allah' ruling is as ridiculous as a UK law saying that 'God' is a Christian designation, and other religions can't use it
Nesrine Malik, The Guardian
The issue is made more complex by the fact that "Allah" is an Arabic loan-word and, when imported into other languages, can come to be thought of as a proper noun. On my first day at a British school, a teacher going around the class and asked us what our respective non-Christian gods were called. When I floundered, she exasperatedly told me that my god was called Allah, and I couldn't quite explain to her why that felt wrong. To me, Allah just meant "God" in Arabic. It wasn't a name.
Posted: 16 Oct 2013 12:17 PM PDT
Having recited that religious sensitivities are a threat to public order and safety, the decision unfortunately serves to reinforce the notion that the use or threat of violence would win the day in court. It is unacceptable that citizens are denied their Constitutional rights of religious freedom and expression on the basis that others who disagree or who are confused would resort to aggression.
Christopher Leong, President, Bar Council Malaysia
Posted: 16 Oct 2013 12:13 PM PDT
We can say that most Malays, even those with kopiah (skullcap) who go to surau, have little knowledge of their own religion, let alone of other religions. So, with their belief that only Muslims worship Allah, there is no doubt that a typical Malay reading a Christian article or bible with the word Allah all over would probably think that it is an Islamic text.
Mohd Izzudin Saedon, TMI
It is believed in Malaysia that 'Tuhan' is the general Malay word for the deity of any religion.
The recent Malaysian court ruling banning the word "Allah" from a Catholic newspaper denies religious freedom of the minority Christian community in Malaysia. How true is this?
Christians make up less than 10% of the Malaysian population. Although the percentage is higher than Hindus, the religion is a little uncommon among the native Malay Muslims, especially to those living in the peninsula. As the more familiar religions of Buddhism and Hinduism refer their deity in words alien to the native Malay Muslims, it is unofficially known that the word Allah denotes only the Muslim "Tuhan" or God in Malay.
Most Christians living in the peninsular are of Chinese and Indian ethnicity. While their numbers are relatively smaller than the Buddhists and Hindus, churches of various Christian sects are not rare. These churches do not use the Malay-language bible and no Malay is spoken or written in their sermons and religious stuffs. Instead, they use English or the mother tongue of the followers like Mandarin and Tamil.
God (in the context of Christianity) is never referred to as Allah. Furthermore, the word Allah itself is very foreign to these Christians with some obviously awkward in pronouncing the word. Before the Allah issue, almost all of these Christians would agree that Allah exclusively refers to the Muslim God.
However, things are very different in the other parts of Malaysia, Borneo. Almost 50% of the East Malaysian Bumiputeras (natives) are Christians. These Christian Bumiputeras use their native Iban, Dayak, Penan and other languages in everyday life. All these languages belong to the same group as the official Malay language with many common vocabulary and similar grammar. The use of 'Malayic languages' in their religious matters has lead to a controversial issue just recently. Today these Christians are not allowed to call their "Tuhan" as Allah anymore. Now, must they delete all the Allahs in their circulated Alkitab (Malay or Indonesian translation of the Bible) and think of a new name for their Lord?
The real issue
Christianity is not a new religion in this part of the world. Christian missionaries and traders have long spread their faith here with their gold, gospel, glory thingy ever since the Malay trading ports era. There are many Christian Malays outside Malaysia, maybe within Malaysia too, if one does not constitutionally need to be a Muslim to be considered a Malay.
One of the first men believed to have circumnavigated the world, Panglima Awang, who was baptized and known as Enrique of Malacca, was a Malay. Later in the modern world, there were suspicions that another Malay who sailed around the world, Azhar Mansor, had converted to Christianity. The man eventually denied that accusation. There's this unending, maybe inherited, fear that the Malay Muslims are in constant danger of being converted into another religion (especially Christianity as other religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism are not very popular in this once Hindu-Buddhist society). And there are real situations to base this fear on.
While spreading the teachings of other religions to Muslims is illegal in Malaysia, there are evidences that many Malays were converted into Christianity. Malay Muslims become restless as more and more murtad (apostate) cases are uncovered. Some are even concerned about the Orang Asli community who no Malay Muslim gives a damn about before, being proselytised by Christian missionaries although it is not illegal to do so to the mostly animistic Orang Asli.
Back to the Allah controversy, if non-Muslim non-Malay natives of Borneo have long been Christians and have long been introduced to Yesus Kristus, Ruhul Kudus and Allah as the hypostases in the doctrine of Tritunggal (Trinity), why is it that only recently the non-Islamic usage of Allah becomes controversial nationwide?
Is this not because of all the murtad cases igniting fear among Malay Muslims as I mentioned earlier? Let's not get to the argument over "rights of spreading the truth", "religious freedom", or that "Allah is used in the Arab world", yet. Let us first agree that the sole reason of this controversy is the fear among Malays that their ancient Muslim identity is being threatened by another "Allah-worshipping" religion.
Being born a Malay Muslim myself, like most Malays living in Malaysia, I cannot guarantee that I perform all the compulsory religious duties or that I do not enjoy any religiously forbidden things. What is important is that I believe in God. In contrast to most Malays, I do not believe in "Allah, the Malay God" but in God of the universe. He who creates the worlds but is not in this world. He who I believe has been worshipped by people of religion everywhere post=paganism, maybe earlier.
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