Ahad, 17 November 2013

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Selangor stand on Allah needs urgent clarification

Posted: 16 Nov 2013 04:16 PM PST

Hanafisah is reported to have said the statement was released after the Selangor Sultan consulted the Selangor Royal Council on Monday.

The decision is made based on Section 9 of the Non Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation against Muslims) Enactment 1988, which classifies use of certain words and expressions of Islamic origin without the state's authority as a religious offence in the state. Allah is one of these words.

The statement also referred to a decision by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council which was gazetted on February 2010, barring non-Muslims from using the word Allah to refer to God.

The first legal issue is that the usage of the Al-Kitab, or the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and the word Allah are matters under the constitution and federal laws. Islam is a state matter under the respective sultans.

Pronouncements and gazette orders made by the respective state Islamic Religious Councils apply only to Muslims in these states and not on federal laws.

The question of whether the Herald can use the word Allah is determined by Federal laws, specifically, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. It is not under the purview of any state Islamic Religious Councils or state laws or fatwas.

This much is clear and implicit from the High Court of Kuala Lumpur judgment of December 31, 2009 as well as the Court of Appeal judgment of October 14, 2013.

The question of usage of the Al-Kitab Bible is also to be determined under Federal laws, in particular, the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) which has been replaced by the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.

The Al-Kitab was banned by the Mahathir administration in 1981 by a gazette order issued under the ISA on December 2, 1981, but was subsequently amended to a restricted ban by another ISA gazette order on March 22, 1982.

Under the Najib administration, the Al-Kitab is allowed to be freely used in Sabah and Sarawak while in the peninsula, it can be used if the words "Christian publication" and the symbol of the cross is embossed on its cover. This was a Federal Cabinet decision made in 2011, known as the 10-Point Solution, during the Sarawak state election campaign period.



What did OIC members tell Malaysia at the UNPR?

Posted: 16 Nov 2013 12:24 PM PST

Those who love to hate Islam won't like the outcome of last month's United Nations Periodic Review (UNPR) because of the concern about human rights expressed by many nations which are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

I wrote the last sentence after studying a UN report which lists recommendations given to Malaysia by UN member nations about how we can improve our position in the global ranking of Human Rights. In case you're unaware, we came out pretty badly.

I've chosen to write about recommendations from Muslim majority nations because the image of Malay-Muslims, has taken a beating in recent days due to the Malaysian Court of Appeal denying Christians (in October) the right to continue calling God Allah and also because some Malaysian groups have been misleading Malaysians about the outcome of the UNPR.

The Malaysian Government sent 36 delegates to the 2013 UNPR to represent our progress on commitments we have made over the years to the UN. The status of our conformance and the our sincerity in uplifting our conformance with universal agreements on Human Rights will make a huge impact upon investment in our nation and in our global status. We cannot deny that as a nation we have, for many years, funded local and international efforts to move us closer to our goals.

The Malaysian Government delegation took pains to 'explain' the Allah Judgment. It needed to be explained because the conclusions of the Court – and Malaysia's official Islamic authorities – were considered laughable not only by secular nations, but also by Muslim-majority nations worldwide. For Muslims around the world, Malaysia's arguments sound as strange as the last century's claims of racial superiority by white South Africans.

I won't discuss the differences between the UN and the OIC. Suffice to say that in 1990, the OIC – which now has 57 members – produced the Cairo "Declaration on Human Rights in Islam" as the next level up from the UN Declaration on Human Rights. We will not be far of the mark if we think of the UNPR as a stepping stone to compliance with the Cairo declaration.

So, what did these Muslim-dominated countries have to say to Malaysia about Human Rights?

First, let's note the names of the 35 OIC nations who gave us recommendations, and the number of recommendations from each nation:

Afghanistan (x2); Albania (x3); Algeria (x2); Azerbaijan (x3); Bahrain (x3); Bangladesh (x2); Benin (x2); Brunei Darussalam (x2); Chad (x1); Djibouti (x2); Egypt (x3); Indonesia (x2); Islamic Republic of Iran (x4); Kazakhstan (x3); Kuwait (x2); Kyrgystan (x1); Lebanon (x2); Maldives (x3); Mauritania (x2); Morocco (x1); Mozambique (x2); Nigeria (x1); Oman (x1); Pakistan (x2); Qatar (x2); Saudi Arabia (x2); Senegal (x2); Sierra Leone (x4); State of Palestine (x2); Sudan (x2); Tunisia (x2); Turkey (x4); Turkmenistan (x2); Uzbekistan (x3) and Yemen (x1).

In summary, 35 OIC member nations provided Malaysia with 77 recommendations. This compares with an overall total of 104 UN member nations and 249 recommendations.

Therefore, in percentage terms, 34% of the nations which provided Malaysia with recommendations are members of the OIC; these nations contributed 31 % of all recommendations.

Read more at: http://write2rest.blogspot.com/2013/11/what-did-oic-members-tell-malaysia-at.html 

Can sing but cannot read 'Allah' word in Selangor

Posted: 16 Nov 2013 12:14 PM PST

Apparently, according to Mohd Tamyes Abdul Wahid, the Selangor Mufti, if you're a non-Muslim you can still sing the word 'Allah' contained in the Selangor State anthem, even though HRH Sultan Selangor, via a fatwa, has just warned non-Muslims against using the word 'Allah'.

HRH is of course the Head of Islam in Selangor and he can fatwa on all issues on Islam in the state as much as he likes. But his most recent fatwa prohibiting non-Muslims from using the 'Allah' word has, with all respect to HRH (ampun tuanku), unfortunately further muddied the murky waters spilled out by the Appeals Court on issue. 

I don't propose to start from the very beginning of the 'Allah' word issue as I've blogged amply on it but I take this opportunity to reiterate my personal stand, that as a non-Muslim, repeat, as a non-Muslim I do NOT support the Catholic Church on its obdurate insistence to use the 'Allah' word as the Malay language reference to the Christian god in its Bahasa section of its weekly newsletter, The Herald.

If you want to know why I have adopted this stand (an unusual one for a non-Muslim Chinese - no, I'm not nor related to Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, wakakaka), please read my earlier posts:

(a) Allah, Elohim or Yahweh? on 12 Jan 2010

(b) Catholic Herald & the 3rd Pandora Box on 01 Apr 2010

(c) Now, who are the Arab wannabes? on 29 Dec 2012

(d) The Church & Allah posted on 01 Jan 2013

(e) The elephant in the room posted on 19 Oct 2013

Just prior to HRH's fatwa on non-Muslim use of the 'Allah' word, the situation or imbroglio has been best summed up by Dr Ronnie Ooi of Aliran who stated that Malays could interpret the Appeals Court's ruling as:

  • That the Court of Appeal decision is completely wrong and the use of the word Allah should be unrestricted. This is certainly the view of the MP for Sepang and Pas central committee member Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, expressed in a very well written article for Malaysiakini, and of Professor Abdul Aziz Bari.
  • That the decision applies to The Herald only and not to East Malaysia. This appears to be the position of Muslim Lawyers' Association of Malaysia president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya and the Malaysian government.
  • That the decision implies a blanket ban on the use of the word Allah by all non-Muslims including in East Malaysia and presumably in the Sikh holy books as well. This appears to be the view of the lawyer for The Herald and is demanded by Perkasa. It seems to be implicit in what Pas syura council deputy chief Haron Din wants when he says the "holy name is exclusively for Muslims only"

Note the 3rd dot-point in which the right wing elements, comprising The (Catholic) Herald, Perkasa and PAS Syura Council are 'together with one heart' in pushing the envelope kau kau - bloody ornithological species of identical plumage - semua nak cari pasal saja, pordah!

Father Lawrence Andrew, editor The Herald
who told us that Elohim is a foreign word for God, while Allah is a local (Malay) word


But forget about those Huns and let's return to HRH's fatwa.

Two legal facts are undeniable, namely: (1) HRH is the Head of Islam and thus Islamic Affairs in Selangor, where he can issue fatwa on Islamic issues and make rulings on Islamic matters, and (2) there is a law (state or/and federal legislation) prohibiting non-Muslims preaching and converting any Muslims in Malaysia.

I want to discuss one confusing point which liesoutside the above two legal situations. Initially I had thought the best example would be to use the Sikh religion which has the word 'Allah' in its Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of Sikhism, ...

Guru Granth Sahib

see if you can spot the 'Allah' word which appears 12 times in it

... BUT I decided not to because the Book is in the Punjabi language, and as I have been repetitively saying, the Muslim government authority in Malaysia doesn't give a f**k about any language (eg. Punjabi, Chinese, Iban, Swahili) using the 'Allah' word other than Malay (Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia) and in a media form just all too easily circulated, to wit, The Catholic Herald.

But of course, HRH's recent fatwa as the Head of Islam in Selangor has now infringed on the Sikhs' rights to freely practice their Sikh religion in Selangor, and may I mohon ampun tuanku again, has now weakened the government's position and credibility via-a-vis its insistence that the Appeals Court's ruling only applies to The (Catholic) Herald. It has been said HRH had received very bad advice on the fatwa.

Now, what if very religious (wakakaka) kaytee, while in the state of Selangor, uses the word Allah in his Christian wakakaka or Taoist or Buddhist or Shinto or Hindu prayers in English or Chinese or Pali or Japanese or Tamil (my late dad spoke Tamil fluently and taught me a few words, while I acquired a few additional but very naughty and sexy ones as well, wakakaka)?

Just what legal authority does the Selangor Head of Islam have over a Christian, Taoist, Buddhist or Shinto or Hindu (etc) who prays in English or Chinese or Pali or Japanese or Tamil/Hindi/Malayalam/Telugu in the state of Selangor?

HRH as the Sultan of Selangor is only a constitutional monarch, and outside of the religion of Islam and Islamic issues, he has no legal authority over a non-Muslim [though we suspect he has lots of extralegal powers and persuasion).

Read more at: http://ktemoc.blogspot.com/2013/11/can-sing-but-cannot-read-allah-word-in.html 


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