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Sunday, 17 January 2010

West Malaysia Allah, East Malaysia Allah

This is part 2 of the letter I received from Persatuan Peguam2 Muslim Malaysia.


 

The Birth of Allah's Son-Part 11


 


 


 

The Judge presiding the case of the Herald, Datuk Lau Bee Lan, in her decision disallowing MAIS, MACC and Majlis Agama of States as interveners, made special mention of the fact that the applicants in this case were unable to provide concrete evidence that the use of the word "Allah" is sensitive to the Muslim community and would cause disharmony, disunity and confusion among the Muslim community. As such, it may be inferred that the Judge was of the opinion that the usage of the word "Allah" by the Herald and the Church would not be of material consequence as far as the Muslim community is concerned.


 

Events that unfolded during the days immediately succeeding the decision proved otherwise. NGOs, Islamic organisations and various other organisations whether politically connected and apolitical were greatly moved by this outright disregard of the Muslim's community sensitivities. The government, initially unsure of the correct stand to be taken, followed the stance set by our former premier in this issue, where Tun Mahathir in his statement immediately after the Court decision was handed down stated that "….the word "Allah" is specific for Muslims.." and "…in Peninsular Malaysia we have never heard of Christians using the word Allah when referring to God in the Malay language, why are we using the word now?..". Tun Mahathir's sentiment is shared by many Muslim groups in Malaysia who questioned the motives behind the application by the Church to use the word "Allah" in the Herald which may, subsequently lead to the use of the word of "Allah" in a Malay language version of the bible. The other versions of the bible, which is the English, Chinese and Tamil language, do not include the word "Allah" in their publications. As such, it seems that the word "Allah" and as such, "Allah's Son" are meant to be used exclusively for a Malay language version and targeted for the largely Malay Muslim community.


 

The demonstrations of opposition to the Court decision that took place all over the country culminated in sporadic attacks against Churches in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak, Malacca and Sarawak, hinting to possible civil unrest if left unabated. A news report dated 11th January 2010 in the Star which states "…Some 1,700 members of the Protestant Church packed the hall for the joint Mandarin and English services from early yesterday…" points blankly to the age old customary usage of English and Mandarin in their Church services, which reinforces the suspicion of the Muslim community towards the intention of the Church in using the word "Allah" in the Malay language pages of the Herald-Weekly and the Malay version of the bible.


 

In respect to the attacks against the Churches, there have been notable efforts by the government to pacify the Christian community whereby monetary compensation and contribution to repair the Churches were offered. The Muslim community generally do not condone the attacks and belief that these attacks are isolated incidences and committed by extremist individuals. However, similar efforts by the government to pacify the Muslim community are wanting and the Christian community have not come strongly forward to state their disagreement with the application by the Titular Roman Archbishop to use the word "Allah" in Malay language pages of the Herald-Weekly. In order to contain extremist individuals and comfort the wounds of the Muslim community inflicted by the Church's Court application, a more decisive stand has to be made by the government authorities.


 

Although the stand by the government authorities in this issue is uncertain and lacking in direction, the Yang Dipertuan Agong Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin ibin Almarhum Sultan Madmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah ("Yang Dipertuan Agung") came forward to point the direction that the government is supposed to drive in this issue. In the statement issued by the Yang Dipertuan Agung dated 9th January 2010, the Yang DiPertuan Agung reminded all parties to respect Islam as the religion of the Federation and emphatically stated that the use of the word "Allah" shall precisely follow that as understood and complied in the Islamic context. The statement made by the Yang DiPertuan Agung had to a certain extent, provided some semblance of relief from the black abyss that currently envelopes the muslim community.


 

The statement by the Yang DiPertuan Agung that Islam is the religion of the Federation is of great significance in its meaning and effect. Under the Constitution, Islam holds a special position that is unquestionable. This special position is entrenched in Article 3 of the Federal Constitution that states, "Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace in harmony in any part of the Federation." Therefore, Article 3 establishes the sovereignty of Islam as the religion of the Federation and the rights of other religions to be practised shall not encroach on the rights of Muslims to practise Islam nor cause disharmony to Islam. The description of Islam as a religion above others under the Constitution is aptly described by Judge Mohd Nor Abdullah in a decided case in the year 2000 (Meor Atiqurahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors [2000] 1 CLJ 393), where Islam is likened to a majestic tree known as the "Pokok Jati" which is tall, strong and luminous. It stands and walk before others, its presence is in the main arena with its voice heard loud and clear. If its nature is not as such, then it cannot be said to be a religion above others in the Constitution.


 

The Yang DiPertuan Agung, in taking the office of Yang DiPertuan Agong, is subject to the Oaths he had pledged as stipulated in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution. In accordance to the Oaths taken under the name of Allah, the Yang DiPertuan Agong has an undisputable sacred duty as custodian and protector of the religion of Islam and Malay rights.


 

In the case of the Herald, the Yang DiPertuan Agong, having been advised by Constitutional experts, came instantly to the defence of the Islamic religion and being an institution by itself, was the first to pledge support for the Sultan of Selangor in the intervener application. The Majlis Agama of Terengganu, being the state directly under the Yang DiPertuan Agong was initiated as a party through its Majlis Agama Islam to the intervener application. For states that have no Sultan such as Malacca, Pulau Pinang and Wilayah Persekutuan, the Yang DiPertuan Agong took upon himself to instruct the Majlis Agama of these states to join in the intervener application. The Sultan of Johor, meanwhile, came into the intervener application through the advice of their Mufti.


 

The main thrust of the Yang DiPertuan Agong's and Majlis Agama States' concern is the confusion that the misuse of the word "Allah" would cause among the Muslims and non Muslims alike. The concept of Allah as understood, embraced and practised by the Muslim community in Malaysia is totally distinct and separate from the concept as understood by the Church conceptually, culturally and theologically. Whereas, the concept of Allah embraced by the Muslim community in Malaysia as defined in the context of Muslim and Malay tradition is Allah in a MONOTHEIST (TAUHID) sense as opposed to the concept of TRINITY of God as understood by the Church.


 

In the aftermath of the Church attacks, calls were made for the Muslim community to remain calm and not to disrupt harmony. Some opinions chided the Muslim community for their intolerant behaviour towards the Court Decision and even advised that the issue of the use of the word "Allah" in the Malay language pages of the Herald-Weekly has been unjustly magnified. The nation has forgotten one critical aspect in all of this mayhem; the Muslim community did not start the encroachment of the rights of other religious communities. Instead, the act of the Church in bringing the matter to Court is seen by the Muslim community as a belligerent and provocative act and this fact should be acknowledged by all, as a first step towards healing wounds.


 


 

Information Secretariat

Persatuan Peguam Peguam Muslim Malaysia.

4 comments:

Are You Gonna Go My Way,  17 January 2010 at 14:20  

At last and finally I have to admit UMNO and BN and the government are to be blamed for this ALLAH issue and other issues. They are incompetent and weak and allow their weaknesses to be manipulated and exploited by everybody. They are not airtight in their management of this country.Even a penarik beca can give comment on how to run a country better than Nazri Aziz can. They are the executives and they don’t know shit about what their duties are. Can we blame PAS, PKR and DAP for taking this opportunity to attack the government? This is politics. They only know politics among them, how to win ketua this and ketua that. Just look at the lineup of the cabinet, a koperasi can have a better lineup that that.
Admit it Dato’ whenever we meet most ketua bahagian or political secretary for some teh tarik session all their topics centered around how to acquire some projects or when will the next trip to Bandung for fucking session with 19 years old part time student whores. This country is left on auto pilot. Try to sway the topics to something more serious, they will say lets go to the SPAs and we’ll talk about it there. Nobody is serious anymore on how to run this country. Jom let you and me run this country, it couldn’t get worst.

ServiceB4Self,  18 January 2010 at 10:52  

Based on this website http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/country/scmy2.html the percentage of Roman Catholics in Malaysia is 3.19% as of 2005.

In terms of the percentage for Peninsular Malaysia the percentage is much lower being 1% of the total population.

Of this 1% in Pen Malaysia, how many of these Roman Catholics conduct their masses in Malay language? Maybe 10% of this 1% - 0.1%?

Nazri's proposal may have some merits wherein don't use the word "Allah" for Pen Malaysia. Looking at the statistics, this only impact a 0.1% of the population in Pen Malaysia?

I feel that everyone should take a step back and really look at the statistics and balance it with the circumstances and sensitivities of the majority.

ServiceB4Self,  18 January 2010 at 11:09  

Many commentors in various Blogs have been so quick to blame BN and UMNO.

When the petrol price went up - UMNO is at fault. When a slope failure - UMNO is at fault. When a private bridge collapse - UMNO is at fault. When MACC don't charge - UMNO is at fault. When MACC charge a person - UMNO is also at fault.I won't be surprised that the dragon boat incident reported today - UMNO is at fault too!

When the Sedition Act is used on certain individual eg RPK, UMNO is evil. But when the same act is used to charge the "Cow Head" protestors, not a whimper from those so call championing "Human Rights" and "Democracy"! Weren't these protestors exercising their rights "Freedom of Expression" as enshrined under the Federal Constitution eventhough it may be sensitive to the Hindus? After all, this line of argument is being used by the 1% of the Roman Catholics in Peninsular Malaysia or 3% of in the whole of Malaysia that their constitutional right to practise their religion eventhough such acts may be sensitive to the Muslim?

Come on, have we all ceased to be rational? Who are we to say laws don't apply to some but applies to others.

Ramlan 19 January 2010 at 02:27  

Dato,
There are ommissions here too ---
Prior 2 PMs OK the use within their own community
http://www.thenutgraph.com/pms-assured-christians-use-of-allah

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