Jumaat, 15 November 2013

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Catholics protest Pope's interfaith program

Posted: 15 Nov 2013 12:16 AM PST

"A Mass isn't celebrated in a synagogue, nor in a mosque. The Muslims don't accept it. In the same way, we who are Catholics cannot accept the presence of another faith in our church."

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Ultra-traditionalist Catholics have openly challenged Pope Francis by disrupting one of his favorite events, a ceremony that he and Jewish leaders led in the Metropolitan Cathedral each year to promote religious harmony on the anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust.

The annual ceremony brings together Catholics, Jews and Protestants to mark Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led mob violence in 1938 when about 1,000 Jewish synagogues were burned and thousands of Jews were forced into concentration camps, launching the genocide that killed 6 million Jews.

A small group disrupted Tuesday night's ceremony by shouting the rosary and the "Our Father" prayer, and spreading pamphlets saying "followers of false gods must be kept out of the sacred temple."

Buenos Aires Archbishop Mario Poli, named by Francis to replace him as Argentina's top church official, appealed for calm as others in the audience rose up to repudiate them, and the protesters were soon escorted out by police.

"Let there be peace. Shalom," Poli then said, urging everyone to take their seats for a ceremony that was also led by Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a close friend of the pope who co-wrote a book of dialogue seeking common ground between Judaism and Catholicism.

"Dear Jewish brothers, please feel at home, because that's the way Christians want it, despite these signs of intolerance," Poli said. "Your presence here doesn't desecrate a temple of God. We will continue in peace this encounter that Pope Francis always promoted, valued and appreciated so much."

The Rev. Christian Bouchacourt, the South America leader of the Society of Saint Pius X, said Wednesday that the protesters belong to his organization and that they have a right to feel outraged when rabbis preside over a ceremony in a cathedral. "I recognize the authority of the pope, but he is not infallible and in this case, does things we cannot accept," Bouchacourt said in an interview with Radio La Red.

"This wasn't a desire to make a rebellion, but to show our love to the Catholic Church, which was made for the Catholic faith," Bouchacourt added. "A Mass isn't celebrated in a synagogue, nor in a mosque. The Muslims don't accept it. In the same way, we who are Catholics cannot accept the presence of another faith in our church."

The Vatican spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment emailed by The Associated Press.
The Society of St. Pius X has no legal standing in the Catholic Church. It's a schismatic group of traditionalist Catholics who are attached to Latin Mass and follow the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who founded the Swiss-based society in 1969 in opposition to the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The Vatican II meetings made a point of reaching out to Jews and people of other faiths.

Pope Benedict made reconciling with the society a priority, but Pope Francis has made clear he has little or no interest in courting the traditionalists. Francis has disparaged "restorationist" groups as being out of touch with today's Catholic Church, and his decades-long friendships with Argentine Jews is a testament that he is fully a pope of the Vatican II church.

The same society was in the news in October when one of its Italian priests offered to celebrate the funeral of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke after the Rome archdiocese refused to allow him a church funeral. The society's funeral service was later called off at the last minute because protesters and Priebke's supporters clashed outside.

Priebke had lived in Argentina, unnoticed, for nearly 50 years after the war until he was exposed as being a Nazi SS captain by an American TV station. He was deported to Italy in 1995 to stand trial for one of the worst atrocities of the German occupation, the massacre of 335 civilians outside Rome, and was serving a life sentence under house arrest when he died in Rome at age 100.


Church leaders steer clear of sultan’s decree

Posted: 14 Nov 2013 08:11 PM PST

Deeming it a sensitive matter, Church and Sikh leaders say they would leave it to the Federal Court to decide on the use of the word 'Allah'.

Vignesh Kumar, FMT

In the wake of a royal decree banning non-Muslims from using the word 'Allah', Christian and Sikh religious leaders refused to be drawn into commenting on the matter.

Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) secretary Rev Hermen Shastri said he does not want to make a comment regarding the Allah issue as it was a sensitive matter.

"For now I have nothing much to say," said Council of Churches Malaysia(CCM) secretary Rev Hermen Shastri.

Yesterday, the Sultan of Selangor, Sharafuddin Idris Shah, decreed that the word 'Allah' is exclusive to Muslims and non-Muslims should refrain from using it.

He said this was to avoid confusion among Muslims over the use of the word when used by other religions.

As such, he called on the Selangor people to respect and abide by the decision of the Selangor Fatwa Council on the matter.



Allah issue: Wee disagrees with sultan

Posted: 14 Nov 2013 08:07 PM PST

MCA Youth chief says Christians should be allowed to use the word 'Allah' in their worship and that the ruling was 'against national reconciliation'. 

Leven Woon, FMT

MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong has voiced his objection to the Sultan of Selangor's decree barring the non-Muslims in the state to use the word 'Allah' to refer to God.

"I think it is okay, we should allow the Christians (in Peninsular) to use the word. Why? We have given you a two-page explanations," he said without elaborating today.

Wee said for the Sabah and Sarawak people, the government should continue to honour the 10-point solution made in 2011.

Under the solution, it was agreed that bibles in all languages, including Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia, can be imported into the country and printed anywhere in the country.

Yesterday, Sultan Sharafuddin of Selangor ordered the Malay version of Bible and The Herald to cease using the word Allah, specifically in Selangor.

The sultan directed the people in the state to abide by the Selangor Fatwa Council decision banning the use of the term.

He said this is to "avoid the confusion" among Muslims.

The Allah controversy resurfaced following the Court of Appeal's ruling last month barring Catholic weekly The Herald from using the word Allah in its Bahasa Malaysia publication.

MCA vice-president Gan Peng Sieu has described the court ruling as "ignorant of national interests" and "against the principle of national reconciliation".

"There is terrible ill-will and bad faith generated over the Allah issue. For generations the natives in Sabah and Sarawak have been using 'Allah' in their worship.

"The Home Ministry's ban of its usage is tantamount to criminalising a long-accepted practice," he said.

MCA central committee member Loh Seng Kok also said Allah is "not a monopoly" of any race or religion, because Christians in Middle East and Arab countries have used it for generations.



Hudud won’t stop crime, says PAS chief supporter

Posted: 14 Nov 2013 04:11 PM PST

(MM) - Hudud enforcement in not the solution to crime prevention, PAS's election nominee Hu Pang Chow has weighed in amid strong hints PAS-led Kelantan may soon mete out stiff punishments prescribed under the controversial Islamic penal code.

Hu, who has been backing the Islamist party, also said that criminal laws, whether those prescribed under the Islamic justice system or Malaysia's civil justice system, only served to punish lawbreakers without necessarily helping deter more crimes from happening.

"I don't think there is punishment or penalty that can stop all the crime. The most important thing to tackle the matter is to know why people turn into criminals in the first place," the chairman of PAS's non-Muslim Supportes Congress was quoted as saying in an interview with The Star Online published today.

"To me, the important thing is to educate, to explain and to prevent. But the existing system has one purpose, that is to punish you. That's all there is to it."

Hu's comments come after the head of Kelantan's Syariah Court indicated earlier this week that they are ready to implement hudud.

"Insya Allah (God willing), Kelantan is able to implement hudud. The law is already there and if there's a need for more judges, we will add," Syariah chief judge Datuk Daud Muhammad was quoted as saying by Bernama on November 13.

The northern state's religious authorities have voiced support for hudud to be meted out.

Kelantan mufti Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad was today reported to urged Muslims in the state to take cognisance of the pending enforcement and brace themselves for it.

"I support the views of the Kelantan Syariah chief judge and now it is up to the state government. I advise that the people be ready to make a migration of feelings and thoughts.

"The people should be prepared to accept the implementation of hudud laws because this hudud enactment was passed by the state legislative assembly that represents the people," Shukri was quoted saying by Sinar Harian's portal today.

Shukri was likely referring to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment II that was passed by the state assembly in 1993, which paved the way for the state to use hudud laws.

But two members of the state government's executive council appeared more cautious when commenting on the implementation of hudud in the state that has been ruled by PAS for decades.

Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said that only the judiciary would know the requirements for the implementation of hudud, such as the number of judges required.

"I don't know what to comment and if he did say that, but he has to explain what he means by already ready.

"Only the court department knows what they need," he told Malay daily Utusan Malaysia today.

Datuk Mohd Nassuruddin Daud said that the Kelantan syariah chief judge's explanation was sufficient and declined to comment further, Sinar Harian reported.

"I think what he explained is sufficient, later after this," said the Kelantan exco for Islamic development, propagation, information and regional relations.

Malaysia has a parallel legal system of civil laws and syariah laws, with the latter applying only to Muslims, the main religious group in the country.

The use of hudud laws in the country have been floated over the years, but opposition have often arisen from political parties that remain wary of the law. 


Social media a threat to Islam, internet controls a must, Muslims told in Friday sermon

Posted: 14 Nov 2013 04:06 PM PST

(MM) - Putrajaya should rethink its decision against policing the internet as Islam's "enemies" have resorted to launching cyber attacks to challenge the religion of over 60 per cent of Malaysians, the country's foremost Islamic authority said in today's sermon disseminated to Muslims nationwide.

The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) alleged that "enemies of Islam" were prowling social media platforms, purportedly to topple the governments of Muslim-majority nations, with a nod to the conflict-riddled Middle East as an example.

"The pulpit would like to state that the abuse and misuse of the internet and telecommunications technology is against religious obligations, laws and community conduct.

"Believe it, using social media to weaken the resolve of Muslims is actually a sly strategy by the enemies of Islam which have been successful in bringing down several Islamic countries in the Middle East," Jakim stated in its sermon, which is also available on its website.

"Therefore, the suggestions that the internet should be censored and controlled must be considered so that this facility does not end up destabilising the public and country."

The people of Egypt, Libya and Syria had joined in the Arab Spring revolution to overthrow authoritarian rulers despite full Internet shutdown by their governments, but social media was said to have played a part in spreading their message to a global audience.

Jakim's suggestion today followed calls by Malaysia's former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for the internet to be filtered due to rampant abuse in the distribution of pornography, questionable news and slanders.

Dr Mahathir, who had promised the federal government would never censor the internet when he opened up Malaysia's information superhighway over a decade ago, has been pressing the Najib administration for a policy change, arguing that today's changing situation warranted the introduction of controls to stem the spread of offensive material online as it could threaten national security.

In today's sermon, Jakim accused international powers of an organised ploy to spread teachings such as liberalism and pluralism to the youths through the internet.

"They have launched subtle and organised attacks by spreading news that insult Islam and its adherents whether through symbols, websites, blogs, or social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and so on," the sermon said.

Jakim has been steadfast in its attack on what it perceived as a global conspiracy against Islam, singling out ideas such as liberalism, pluralism, feminism, socialism and even positivism.

In a sermon for the Aidilfitri celebration in August, Jakim had warned Muslims nationwide against a conspiracy by "enemies of Islam", suggested that "colonial" ideas were being used to incite challenges against Islam's position in the Constitution.

Malaysia is already practising internet censorship, with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announcing last week that it has blocked 2,753 websites for violating the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and other regulations so far this year.

Of those, 15 websites were blocked for allegedly infringing the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment, while the bulk of it at 2,611 were phishing sites. 


Malaysia Agreement back in the spotlight

Posted: 14 Nov 2013 03:50 PM PST

In the wake of parliament's refusal to debate the Malaysia Agreement, Amanah has invited Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to talk about the "non-fulfilment" of the terms.

Joseph Bingkasan, FMT

Parliament's rejection of a motion by Sabah MP to debate the 18/20 points Malaysia Agreement has spurred Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) here to organise a public talk and round table discussion on the issue.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah will present a keynote address at a discussion on the 20-Points Malaysia Agreement.

Amanah deputy president Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing said the forum follows parliament's rejection of the motion which was brought by Penampang MP Darrel Leiking.

"Razaleigh has agreed to come and repeat a speech he gave at a forum held in Kuala Lumpur recently entitled "The Non-Fulfilment of the 20 and 18 Point Agreements with Sabah and Sarawak," the Tamparuli assemblyman told FMT Friday.

The organisers are also inviting other personalities to be panelists at the round-table discussion and once confirmed will set the date and venue of the forum, he said.

"The result and resolution reached during the round-table discussion will be further extended to the National Supreme Council of Amanah before formally present it to parliament for tabling," Bumburing added.

Amanah Sabah, he said, shared Leiking's disappointment at the Deputy Speaker's decision.

"It all zeroes-in on whether the federal government has honoured their obligation to protect and honour the safeguard guaranteed to Sabah as part of the condition for Sabah to join in forming Malaysia.

"All these are clearly recorded in the Inter Governmental Commigttee (IGC) report and summerised in the 20-points safeguard which was incorporated in the Malaysia Agreements of 1963 and later enacted as Malaysia Bill 1963," he said.



On Fridays, political sermons force Pak Samad to Masjid India

Posted: 14 Nov 2013 10:37 AM PST


(TMI) - Islam's holiest day Friday is where Muslims perform a weekly communal prayer and listen to sermons to guide their life. But for the past two weeks, national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said has been attending the Friday prayers at Masjid India in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur where the sermon is preached in Tamil.

He does not understand Tamil but that does not bother him one bit. In fact, he is relieved.

Relieved because he prefers not to understand what the message is as the sermons have turned too political for his liking.

Fondly known as Pak Samad, the octogenarian revealed that he used to go to the National Mosque on Fridays, but stopped doing so two weeks ago because the "preacher was reading the sermon and not preaching".

He became disillusioned as politics and Barisan Nasional propaganda are being preached in mosques these days through sermons prepared by the federal Department of Islamic Development (Jakim).

"I moved to the Masjid India mosque on purpose, I do not understand Tamil, so I feel more relieved," he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Samad used to fulfil his Friday religious obligation at the As-Syakirin mosque in Kuala Lumpur City Centre where they called on the people not to demonstrate, but right after prayers, the congregation demonstrated.

That made him feel uncomfortable, so he moved to the National Mosque. But he found no relief there as the sermon was on the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which will be effective April 1, 2015.

Now, Samad seeks solace in Masjid India.

"The purpose of a sermon is to deliver positive messages and not to be used as a campaigning tool," said the man with the white flowing beard.

Samad said the sermons should be used instead to make Putrajaya realise its wrongdoings that have caused losses to the country.

"For instance, they should be talking about the sudden increase in the number of guns in the country. There is also a high influx of foreigners into Malaysia.

"Then the message that can be delivered is for our immigration laws to be tightened. Sermons need not be used to lay blame, but to rectify situations," Samad suggested.

After Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the GST in Budget 2014, Jakim had in its sermon promoted the new consumption tax, stressing that it will not burden the people and Muslims should support it.

The sermon reminded Muslims that the task of strengthening the economy of the community was entrusted by Allah and would be taken into account in the afterlife.

It had also said the GST would enable the tax system to be administered more efficiently, effectively and fairly to avoid taxpayers from paying "hidden" and overlapping taxes while overcoming leakages and misappropriations.

Muslims were urged to give Putrajaya their cooperation.

In the sermon titled "Strengthening the community's economy", the faithful were also told that Budget 2014 would be implemented based on the Islamic spirit and the "al-adl wal ihsan" (justice and goodness) principle.

And in its Friday sermon just before the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment on the Allah issue, Jakim called on Muslims to do their best to ensure the religion is protected from any attempt to insult or misuse the word.

The message from Jakim was also that any attempt to use the word Allah anywhere else other than the al-Quran will cause conflict in their faith, and added that they rejected the ideology of the Trinity (God, the Son and the Holy Spirit).

Some, like Samad, are uncomfortable with the tone of the weekly sermons. Hence, the need to go where the sermons are not understood.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/on-fridays-political-sermons-force-pak-samad-to-masjid-india 

Muslim Countries Also Pressing Malaysia To Do More For Human Rights, Says Lawyer

Posted: 14 Nov 2013 10:34 AM PST


(TMI) - Apart from Western nations, Muslim countries also want Malaysia to protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and to do more for freedom of expression and assembly by signing on to more United Nations conventions on human rights, a Malaysian lawyer has revealed.

Bar Council human rights committee member Andrew Khoo (pic, top left) said the message to Malaysia from countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria is that these conventions do not threaten the position of Islam in Malaysia.

The international calls to Malaysia were revealed in a list of recommendations in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Malaysia's human rights record at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on October 24, said Khoo who attended the review.

He said the recommendations from Muslims countries and several African and Asian nations refuted the claims made by local Muslim groups that the review of Malaysia's human rights record is a "Western, Christian" agenda.

"Malaysia has signed up to only three of the nine major human rights treaties. Compared to Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, which has signed up to five or six of them.

"So it's not just Western countries that are making these recommendations. Every recommendation is important... Malaysia cannot take for granted that it is doing well in certain areas and that it can ignore other aspects of human rights," Khoo told The Malaysian
Insider after a meeting last night with local human rights group PROHAM to discuss the UPR report.

PROHAM is a human rights group made of ex-human rights commissioners such as Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Prof Datuk Hamdan Adnan and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria.

Of late, a group of Malaysian Muslim NGOs have attacked the UPR process as a threat to Malaysian sovereignty and the position of Islam in the Federal Constitution.

The group has claimed that recommendations made by a coalition of local human rights groups to the UPR were a campaign backed by Western powers to undermine Islam in Malaysia.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/muslim-countries-also-pressing-malaysia-to-do-more-for-human-rights-says-la 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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