The whole “Allah” issue has somewhat been a thorn in our flesh. Just recently, Selangor MB, Azmin Ali exclaimed that the siezed Bibles belongs to the Christians and should thus be returned to them.
Abu Bakar Yahya (Selangor Perkasa chief) then expressed his concern that Azmin’s action of returning the Bibles with the word “Allah” in them would “…threaten the future of Malay Muslim youth. This means Islam is under threat”
Despite the fact that the Christian Federation of Malaysia wrote an article explaining when, why, and how the word “Allah” is used in the Al-Kitabs, there is still a general lack of understanding amongst Malaysians.
Let me now clarify that I’m not a religious scholar or even remotely trained in the field of comparative religions. I am just a Malaysian who is trying to be objective about the use of the word “Allah” by Christians
Let us consider the following propositions:
Proposition 1: “Allah” is an arabic word
Many academics hold the view that the word “Allah” is derived from the arabic words “al” (the) and “ilah” (god/deity).
“Allah is formed by joining the definite article al meaning ‘the’ with Ilah (God). Literally, Allah means ‘The God’.” [Huston Smith, The World’s Religions, p.222]
“Etymologically, Allah is probably a contraction of the Arabic al-ilahh, “the God,” although the Aramaic Alaha has also been proposed. The origin of the name can be traced to the earliest Semitic writings in which the word for god was Il or El, the latter bring in the Old Testament synonym for Yahweh. Known to Arabs even in pre-Islamic times, Allah is standard Arabic for God and is used by Arab Christians as well as Muslims.” [Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia (Vol. 1; p. 250)]
Renowned Iranian-American scholar of religious studies, Reza Aslan also supports this proposition
[d] (k) r ‘l’-’lh bn’mt Mnfw w-Tlh’ bn Mr’ l-Qys w-Srgw bn S’dw w-Strw w-Syl [.] thw.
The apparent scribblings above is actually a pre-Islamic archaeological inscription (dated ca. 512AD) found in Zabad (60km south-east of Aleppo) that shows the word al-ilah was already used by Christians then
Operating on the assumption that “Allah” was derived from “al” and “ilah,” the only apparent requirement to the use of the Arabic word would be monotheism. As we all know, words must be used according to its meaning, and in the proper context
A huge misconception is that Christians believe and worship three gods, hence their usage of the “Allah” word is erroneous. That could not be further from the truth!
The doctrine of the Trinity refers to ONE God who exists as THREE distinct persons. The fact that Christians believe in and worship only ONE God would render their usage of the word “Allah” according to its meaning and in the proper context
If “Allah” is truly an Arabic word, it’s definition would be based on its meaning and not what the Qur’an says in Surah Al-Ikhlas (112th Sura of the Qur’an) or what other sources say are the prerequisite to the use of the word
Many scholars have also brought forward the idea that the use of “Allah” predates Islam
The word ‘Allah’ was a term used for the supreme God in a pantheon of gods, before the revelation of Islam. (The Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam ed., H.A.R. Gibb & J.H.Kramer and The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, ed. John L. Esposito)
“The name Allah is also evident in archaeological and literary remains of pre Islamic Arabia” (Dr Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret , New York:OUP, 1956, p. 31)
“Allah is found . . . in Arabic inscriptions prior to Islam” ( Encyclopedia Britannica, I:643)
The translation of the Al-Kitab is not from the English translation but based on the Hebrew and Greek text of the Bible. In the Hebrew language, the word ‘God’ has the same root form as the Arabic language. So, when the word ‘God’ was first translated into Bahasa Malaysia, the translators merely followed the Arabic Christian usage and retained the word ‘Allah’
Historically, Malay-speaking Christians in South-East Asia have used ‘Allah’ to refer to God. The proofs are as follows:
• The Kitab salat as-sawai or Christian catechisms in Malay written in 1514 and published around 1545,
• The printed version of the Gospel of Matthew in Malay by A.C. Ruyl in 1629,
• Malay-Latin Dictionary was printed in Rome in 1631 (The Dictionarium Malaicum-Latinum and Latinum – Malaicum)
• The translation of Genesis by D. Brouwerius (1662),
• M. Leijdecker’s translation (1733),
• H.C. Klinkert’s translation (1879),
• W.A. Bode’s translation (1938), and
• The complete Malay Bible of 1731-1733 containing the word ‘Allah’ for God.
There is also a book from the 19th century titled “Porkara Terakhir” (The Final Matter). It is a book of prayers for Catholics in native Malay. A text in the book goes, “Ia, Maha Penebus ku, tiap kali beita sudah buat dosa, sudahlah beita mengalau angkau deri hati ku, sambel choba membunoh Allah sabuleh nha…” It is a day-to-day language of the ancient or olden Malay Language; sentences like that do not exist in the Indonesian language
Furthermore, there is a Catholic prayer book titled “Worship Daily”, published in 1890, which also used ancient Malay. An example of a text in the book is “Sapuloh Penhurohan Allah”, which is the 10 Pillars of Biblical Commandments (Ten Commandments). Note how both of those books use the word “Allah” to mean God
Not many of us are aware by this but even the Sikh holy book mentions “Allah” quite a number of times. Surprisingly we don’t hear the likes of Perkasa and ISMA creating a ruckus over this fact.
Proposition 2: “Allah” is not an Arabic word
“Allah … is a proper name applied to the Being Who exists necessarily, by Himself, comprising all the attributes of perfection, a proper name denoting the true god … the al being inseparable from it, not derived…” (Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon)
If Allah is not an arabic word, is it only exclusive to muslims considering their worldwide usage? In January 2013, PAS’ Syura Council decreed that “Allah” is a specific and holy word used to refer to the Muslims’ god
However, former Perlis mufti, Dato’ Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said that Islam allows for followers of other faiths to call their gods “Allah” if they are referring to the Supreme Being
Swiss-Muslim theologian Dr Tariq Ramadan is also of the opinion that “Allah” is not exclusive to the Muslims
According to Francis Edwards Peters , “The Qur’ān insists, Muslims believe, and historians affirm that Muhammad and his followers worship the same God as the Jews (29:46)
If indeed no one but the muslims are allowed to use “Allah,” wouldn’t Saudi Arabia (where Islam came from) and Indonesia (the country with the largest population of muslims in the world) have said/did something about it a long time ago?
Instead, what we see is that the usage of “Allah” is tolerated and is not even a point of contention in those countries (unlike here in Malaysia)
Now let’s look at some frequently asked questions
FAQ 1: Why must the Christians use BM?
First and foremost, BM is the national language. On top of that, more than 60 per cent of Malaysian Christians only speak Bahasa Malaysia, and the word used for God in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible (Al-Kitab) since its translation in 1731, is ‘Allah’.
The word is used by Bumiputera Christians who only have Bahasa Malaysia as their common language in Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia, and by the Baba community in Malacca.
Nowehere in English, Tamil or Mandarin church services would you hear the word “Allah” being mentioned
FAQ 2: Why don’t Christians use “Tuhan” as the BM translation for “God”?
The current position in the Al-Kitab is that “Tuhan” is used as the BM translation for “Lord” while “Allah” is used for “God.” In Isaiah chapter 41 and verse 13; also 43:3 and 51:15. “For I am the LORD, your GOD…” is translated as “Akulah TUHAN, ALLAH kamu…”. (ALKITAB : Berita Baik. 2001. 2nd edition. Published by the Bible Society of Malaysia).
It creates an absurd situation if Christians have to translate the biblical phrase ‘Lord God’ as Tuhan Tuhan. The repeated words Tuhan Tuhan indicates plurality in Bahasa Malaysia, and creates the false impression that Christians believe in many gods, which is fundamentally incorrect theologically
FAQ 3: Why doesn’t the Vatican or Christians in the West use “Allah”?
The answer is pretty simple. If “Allah” is an arabic word for “God”, the Vatican and the Christians in the West wouldn’t need to use it because they have other word(s) in their language(s) to mean “God”
A basic analogy would be the word “makan” which is the BM word for “eat.” How come we never ask why the Vatican or Westerners don’t use the word “makan”? That’s because it’s common sense that in whatever language they speak, there would be a word/words that mean “eat,” hence there is no need for the word “makan”
In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI used “Al-Rab” when giving a blessing in Arabic. Many Malaysians then got the idea that instead of using “Allah,” why not follow the Pope and use “Al-Rab”?
First of all, Al-Rab is arabic for “The Lord” and NOT “The God.” Therefore, even if the Christians in Malaysia were to use “Al-Rab,” it would only be replacing the word “Tuhan” and not the word “Allah” in the Al-Kitab
Besides that, the literal meaning of the word “Rab” is Sustainer , Master and/or “Nourisher” which bears more resemblance with the English word “Lord” than “God”
FAQ 4: Why not use “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” instead?
The answer is similar to that of FAQ 1. Jehovah is a Latinisation of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH). YHWH is in ancient Hebrew which has no vowels, thus its pronunciation is not agreed on.
However, most academics agree that “Yahweh” is the most accepted way to say it. In some English language Bibles, YHWH is written in all capital letters as “LORD,” as in Jewish tradition
Jehovah and Yahweh are in English. The issue is, how do we convert the original Hebrew word to BM in order that it may be used in the Al-Kitab? And even IF that’s possible, how do you change hundreds of years of using “Allah” to this new word?
– Christian Federation of Malaysia’s article
– Project Dialogue’s interview of Father Andrew
– The Micah Mandate
– Bible Believers
– PLIM Report
– Sikhi Wiki
– The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
To view this protected post, enter the password below:
There is a grave misconception amongst non-christians that the Bible is no longer accurate as its meaning has been lost due to translation
First of all, let us understand why the Bible is translated. The Old Testament (OT) was originally in Aramic and Hebrew while the New Testament (NT) was in Koine (common) Greek.
How many of us are able to read in those languages? That is exactly why the Bible needs to be translated! It is basically so that people all over the world may be able to read the Bible in their native language
For example, in Malaysia, we have the bible in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin, Tamil, and in the Iban language (a.k.a Bup Kudus). Without a Bible in a language understood by the reader, one may not be able to practice & profess his religion properly
After you have understood that, you may be wondering why then are there so many English translations? Wouldn’t it be easier if everyone used the same first ever English translation?
The explanation is quite simple. Over the years, certain English words like “jangling”, “subtil”, “privily”, and “holpen” are no longer used and need to be replaced by words of the same meaning that are understood by the reader
Although there are various versions of the English Bible, the different translations always use the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and texts as their textual basis.
For the NT, the New International Version (NIV) relied on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament while for the OT, the NIV looked into the Biblia Hebraica Masoretic Hebrew Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, Latin Vulgate, Syriac Peshitta, Aramaic Targums, Juxta Hebraica of Jerome
Meanwhile, the New Living Translation (NLT) used the Greek New Testament (UBS 4th revised edition) and Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 27th edition in translating the NT, as well as the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, with some Septuagint influence for the OT
If you are still unconvinced as to the accuracy and consistency of the Bible after translation, let us look into the popular verse of John 3:16 in different translations
1. New International Version
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
2. New Living Translation
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
3. English Standard Version
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life
4. Holman Christian Standard Bible
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
5. NET Bible
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
6. Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son, The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life.
7. GOD’S WORD® Translation
God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life
8. World English Bible
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
So is the Bible inaccurate due to translation? Absolutely not! Although the Bible has been translated into many languages, the translation is done without altering the meaning of the original word used. No one who translates the Bible dares to change anything because of what is said in the Word of God
6 Do not add to his (God’s) words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar
2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll
19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll
In actual fact, the Bible is very much like the Al-Quran in the sense that has been translated into various languages. Everyone knows that the Al-Quran is originally in Arabic but did you know that English and Bahasa Malaysia translations exist?
On top of that, the different sources (e.g. Sahih International, Muhsin Khan, Pickthall, Yusuf Ali, Shakir, Dr. Ghali) have come up with transliteration of the Al-Quran. What is all this for if not for the convenience of the readers?
Similar to the Bible, I believe no scholar/organisation in charge of translating would dare to alter the meaning of the original word for fear of divine repercussions
*Featured at The Malay Mail Online
Homosexuality by far is one of the most controversial issue that plagues today’s churches. Some denominations have openly declared their support for same sex marriage & relationships while some have maintained their stance that it is a sin in the eyes of God
There is no point debating this issue from a human rights point of view as it is a religious point of contention (for Christians at least). Therefore, it would only be correct to look to what Scriptures have to say about it
Point 1: God’s plan
It is a fait accompli that in the beginning, God created Adam and Eve. Eve was created as a companion/helper for Adam (Genesis 2:18)
The Bible then goes on to say in Genesis 2 that a man will be united to his wife and they will become one flesh. This is reaffirmed in Mark 10
22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.”
24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh
6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’
7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.
9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
If Jesus approved of homosexuality, why would He mention the exact opposite? Jesus (in Mark 10) reiterated God’s stance that homosexuality is NOT a part of His plan. God intended for the unity of flesh to be between a man and a woman
It is important to note that thousands of years existed between Genesis and Mark yet Jesus articulated heterosexuality, thus reaffirming what was said in the Old Testament
Point 2: The example of Sodom and Gomorrah
1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them,
he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.
2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.
4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old- surrounded the house.
5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him
7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one often used to illustrate that God is against homosexuality. As a result of all the grievous sins committed, God “rained down burning sulfur” (Genesis 19:24) on Sodom and Gomorrah.
The fact it is stated that “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old” surrounded Lot’s house and wanted to have sex with Lot’s guests shows us that homosexuality was prevalent then
There is an interesting argument I came across recently. Matthew Vines brought up Ezekiel 16:49 in his video to support his claim that God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality
49 ” ‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I
did away with them as you have seen
From Ezekiel 16:49, it looks as if God rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah for reasons other than homosexuality. Verse 50 goes on to say that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah did things that were detestable before God
Just looking at Genesis 19 and Ezekiel 16, it is very subjective as to whether homosexuality amounts to a thing detestable before God. However, Matthew Vines failed to look at Judges 19:22-23 (another biblical example about homosexuality) and Jude 1:7 (which is also about Sodom and Gomorrah)
22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”
23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this disgraceful thing”
“Disgraceful thing” is also translated as “outrageous thing,” “godless thing,” “folly,” and “horrible thing” in other versions while “evil” and “wickedly” is used to replace “vile”
It seems now that homosexuality is something God detests. If God was fine with it, why would it be regarded as evil, wicked, or vile?
7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire
The King James Version uses “going after strange flesh” to replace “perversion” while the International Standard Version and God’s Word Translation replaces “perversion” with “homosexual activities”
Romans 1:26-27 tells us that unnatural relations, indecent acts with those of the same gender = perversion
Matthew Vines’ point about “love,” “commitment,” and “faithfulness” is irrelevant as the Bible regards unnatural relations & indecent acts with those of the same gender as perversion. The motive does not render the detestable act acceptable!
After analysing Judges 19:22-23, Jude 1:7, Romans 1:26-27 and its various translations, we can conclude that homosexuality was one of the reasons why Sodom and Gomorrah was wiped out.
Point 3: Jesus did not abolish the Law
Matthew Vines used Hebrews 8:13 and Romans 10:4 to show that the Law (including that in Leviticus 18:22 about homosexuality being detestable) has been fulfilled by Jesus, thus making it completely acceptable now
13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear
Jesus in Matthew 5:17 explicitly tells us that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. Does it mean now that the Law has been fulfilled, it is no longer applicable and relevant?
If Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law renders it inapplicable, does it mean we can now misuse the name of the Lord, commit murder, commit adultery, steal, worship idols, curse our parents, and have sexual relations with our close relatives?
Of course not! What Matthew Vines failed to do is read Hebrews 8:13 in its context. Just a few verses before, we see that even in the New Covenant, the law has a role to play
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people
3 Since they (the Israelites) did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes
Reading verse 3 as well gives “the end of the law” a completely different meaning. In the Old Testament, the Israelites strictly obeyed the law in order to get right with God and be righteous (Deuteronomy 6:20)
Christ came and brought that specific law to an end in order that God’s righteousness may be available to all who believe (Jews and Gentiles alike)
However, the Ten Commandments, the law on homosexuality being an abomination (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), etc are still required to be followed although we are now saved by grace!
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
Obedience of the law does not guarantee our salvation or gain us God’s righteousness. What is does is help us identify what is sinful and what needs to be avoided!
Point 4: Homosexuality = sexual immorality
Oxford Dictionary defines ‘sexual’ as
(1) relating to the instincts, physiological processes, and activities connected with physical attraction or intimate physical contact between individuals;
(2) relating to the two sexes or to gender;
(3) (of reproduction) involving the fusion of gametes
“Immorality” is defined as
(1) the state or quality of being immoral;
From the definition of the two words, it is very apparent that homosexuality falls within the ambit of sexual immorality. What is intriguing is that the Bible has plenty to say about sexual immorality.
(i) Hebrews 13:4
4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral
(ii) 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God
* The phrase ‘men who have sex with men’ translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts
* Arsenokoitēs is a portmanteau of arsen, the Greek word for man, and koite, the Greek word for bed (active homosexual act)
* Malakoi literally means “squishy.” Linguists generally understand this word to be a form of showy effeminism (passive homosexual act)
(iii) 1 Timothy 1:9-10
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine
The Bible’s stance on homosexuality is very clear cut. God regards it as a sin/an abomination/something detestable and He definitely did NOT create humans to be homosexuals
However, what is also important is that Christians are called not to judge others(Matthew 7:1). The duty of Christians is to lead the lost (all those who are living a life of sin) back to the right path and Christians have to do so with love!
1 John 1:9 tells us that “if we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 Corinthians 6:11 adds on that although we were once ‘sexually immoral, isolators, adulterous, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers’, we are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God
It’s not too late to turn back to God regardless of what sin(s) we have committed!
The 23rd of June 2014 will go down as one of the darkest days in Malaysia’s history. On that very day, the Federal Court (Malaysia’s apex court) decided not to grant the Catholic church leave for appeal on the use of the word “Allah” for its weekly newsletter publication called ‘The Herald’
The whole saga began in 2007 when the Home Ministry of Malaysia decided to issue a ban prohibiting The Herald from using the word “Allah” in its newsletter. The Herald had been peacefully doing so since 1995
The Catholic church was in a state of shock as the weekly publication was meant for internal circulation, thus dispelling any fears that it would be used to propagate to Muslims
The High Court in 2009 ruled in favor of the Catholic church and quashed the prohibition. Subsequently the government appealed and the Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the High Court
The Catholic church exercised their legal right to further pursue the matter up the hierarchy of courts but was turned down by the Federal Court. 4 out of the 7-man bench decided against allowing the leave for appeal
The leave for appeal is basically a permission to appeal a previous judgement/ruling. Without the leave for appeal, one is stuck with the decision of the earlier court
So what is the aftermath of the decision? It can’t all be that bad because Putrajaya has assured that the decision is only applicable to The Herald and would have no effect whatsoever on Christians that practice their faith in the national language
Putrajaya’s assurance counts for nothing as even their 10 point solution is not legally binding whereas the Court of Appeal’s decision is binding precedent and has to be followed by courts of equal and lower status
The Federal Court’s refusal to grant The Herald leave for appeal means that the Court of Appeal’s decision is good law. The obiter dicta (persuasive precedent) is that the word “Allah” is not an integral part of the Christian faith
Obiter dicta can crystallize into ratio decidendi (binding precedent). For example, if a court in a future case (e.g. the 321 Bibles seized by JAIS) decides to use that “mere observation” made by the Court of Appeal as the basis for its decision, the mere observation becomes a binding precedent.
Tell me again how that legal principle will only be bound to The Herald? From then onwards, whenever a case appears before the courts regarding the use of “Allah” in any Christian publication, all lower courts will be bound by the decision of the court which based its decision on the Court of Appeal’s obiter dicta
This has major ramifications on the rights of Christians to practice and profess their religion as per Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. Christians that practice their faith in Bahasa Malaysia will be unable to read the Bible in the language they have used all this while
That is only the beginning of the aftermath. Before we know it, the holy book of the Sikhs will also be seized and prohibited because of the use of the word “Allah”
What is most saddening is that the highest court of the land (i.e. the Federal Court) which has the ability to remedy this wrong refused to get involved. May we never forget this dark moment!
*Read it also at The Malay Mail Online
Malaysia’s very own Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education was of the opinion that the seminar on Allah and Christology at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) was just a form of “intellectual brainstorming which should be viewed positively”
Let’s do a simple recap. The seminar was an academic programme to explain problems related to the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.
Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (Muafakat) general-secretary Abdul Karim Omar as well as Indonesians Masyud SM, Irena Handono, Menachem Ali dan Insan LS Mokoginta were amongst the speakers at the event
Insan LS Mokoginta claims to be a former priest but the Bishops Conference of Indonesia said it had no information or data on him.
Furthermore, Irena Handano did not complete her “education.” She was only briefly with the Congregation of the Ursuline Sisters as a novice
Isn’t it amazing how individuals with such questionable backgrounds were invited to speak at an academic seminar? One would at least expect a public university of UiTM’s prestige to have vetted its guest speakers
After all, the topic is about the problems related to the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims. Shouldn’t only the qualified be allowed to speak on such a sensitive matter?
Funny enough, it was Insan LS Mokoginta and Irene Handano who came up with statements completely unrelated to the topic of discussion and contrary to the claim that the event was not aimed at ‘belittling other religions or attacking the faith of other races’
The former said, “Every Jesus follower should enter Islam. If not, it would be a betrayal to Jesus” while the latter’s input was that, “We shouldn’t wish Merry Christmas because it means that Jesus is reborn.”
Masyud SM (another speaker at the seminar) went on to say that the “Christian gospel is a fake gospel.” Mind boggling huh? What is mind boggling is how our Minister of Education considers that brainstorming!
That is an outright attack on the Christian faith! There was nothing intellectual about it, and there was definitely nothing positive to be taken from it
In order to fully understand how the Christians feel after such a distasteful event, let us switch shoes. Let us envisage a hypothetical situation where a private university conducts a seminar about the “Persecution of Non-Muslims” but ends up talking about the “threat of Islamisation”
As if that wasnt bad enough, a few half past six ulamas and former muslims were invited to openly criticise Islam and its beliefs. On top of that, the seminar was labelled a form of “intellectual brainstorming which should be viewed positively”
As a non-muslim, even I would be offended that such an abominable event took place! In a multi-religious country such as Malaysia, there’s no room for religion-bashing
Daniel H. Pink once said, “Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.”
Our politicians need more empathy instead of opening their mouths to defend or support such revolting events!
*Read it also at The Malay Mail Online , The Malaysian Insider and at Malaysia Today