The religion that derived from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, is about love. However, in Malaysia some of the church leaders are deliberately provoking the Malay-Muslim majority and in directly, advocating fury and hate amongst Malaysians.
It started when Home Ministry (KDN) banned the use of kalimah “Allah” in place of God for the Catholic Church publication, The Federal Constitution clearly enshrined the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation, as per Article 3(1) and prohibition of propagating Christianity to Muslims, as per Article 11(4).
Instead, the Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew took KDN to court.
The controversy was then politicized further and church leaders such as Bishop Paul Tan, Phillip Lok and Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam issued blind-sided statements which angered the Malay-Muslim majority that brought the matter in deeper pit of contentious.
The matter became very serious when HRH Rulers as Constitutional Heads of Islam intervened and sounded out about this opposition against the authorities enforcing the prohibition for Non Muslim (Christians ) to use kalimah “Allah’ in the context of the church and propagation of Christianity.
However,that did not stop nor slowed down the church leaders. Instead, they became more aggressive. The even made statements of their defiance on HRH Rulers decree on the highly contentious issue, which should be seen as nothing but a serious insult against HRH Rulers and gross disrespect of the law.
Riong Kali dot com story:
We will keep on using Allah in Selangor churches, says priest
BY EILEEN NG
DECEMBER 27, 2013
LATEST UPDATE: DECEMBER 27, 2013 09:07 PM
The word Allah is used in the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia version of the Bible used by Sabahans and Sarawakians both in East Malaysia and the peninsula. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 27, 2013.Catholic churches in Selangor will continue to use the word Allah during its weekend services in Bahasa Malaysia despite the state’s Islamic Religious Department (Jais) intention to send them reminders on a 1988 state enactment prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word.
Catholic weekly Herald editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew said Article 11(3) (A) of the Federal Constitution prescribes that every religious group has its right to manage its own religious affairs.
“Our religion cannot be managed by any Muslim group. It is against the Federal Constitution.
“We will continue to use the word Allah in our masses,” he told The Malaysian Insider today.
He said that Jais as an Islamic body has no jurisdiction over other religious bodies.
“At the moment, the case is still in court and no decision has been made yet. They can’t pre-empt this,” he added.
Aside from the Catholic church, other Christian churches, such as the Sidang Injil Borneo, also conduct services in Bahasa Malaysia and other native languages from East Malaysia, with the use of the word Allah.
In an interview with news portal The Malay Mail Online, newly-appointed Jais director Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad had said the Islamic authority would draw up a list of Selangor churches before writing letters asking them to comply with the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.
“We will write letters to all the churches in Selangor to respect the law that is in force in relation to this,” he was quoted as saying.
The enactment, which was passed by the Barisan Nasional state government, prohibits non-Muslims in Selangor from using 35 Arabic words and phrases in their faith, including “Allah”, “Nabi” (prophet), “Injil” (gospel) and “Insya’Allah” (God willing).
The Catholic church has been on a collision course with Putrajaya over the use of the word Allah.
Many Islamist groups in Malaysia had insisted that the word Allah belongs exclusively to Muslims, although Christians and other faiths have argued otherwise.
In December 2009, the High Court made a landmark ruling in favour of the Catholic Church, when it said Allah, which means God in Arabic, was not the exclusive right of Muslims and the Catholic weekly Herald could publish it in its Bahasa Malaysia section, which caters to its East Malaysian Bumiputera congregation.
This led to the Home Ministry appealing against the ruling in January 2010.
On October 14 this year, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court decision, and said the ban was justified as “the word Allah was not integral to the practice of the Christian faith”.
The church’s leave application to appeal the appellate court’s decision will be heard on February 24.
The decision spooked Christians in Sabah and Sarawak as many felt the ban was not exclusive to Herald but was binding to all Christians.
This led to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak assuring Christians in East Malaysia that they could continue using the word and that the Federal Government will honour the 10-point solution.
Under the 10-point solution announced in 2011 by Datuk Idris Jala, it was agreed that bibles in all languages can be imported into the country, including Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia.
The 10-point solution also states that bibles can be printed locally in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.
The Court of Appeal decision also received worldwide attention, with respected American Muslim theologian Reza Aslan, among others, criticising the decision.
The debate on the matter continues, with the Sun newspaper reported on October 30 that the Bar Council was considering following in the footsteps of the Sabah Lawyers Association (SLA) and throwing its weight behind the Catholic weekly in the appeal process.
This raised the ire of Muslim Lawyers Association, who strongly opposed the move. – December 27, 2013.
That drew tremendous upset which tantamounts to anger amongst Malay-Muslims. Some Malay NGOs even advocated that a demonstration is held in front of the catholic church where Father Lawrence Andrew is a parish leader.
Today, Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia called for “Tolerance”:
Archbishop Pakiam calls for religious tolerance
JANUARY 08, 2014
Concerned with the “religious polarisation” happening in Malaysia, the Archbishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam (pic) has called on religious leaders to ensure tolerance of other faiths.
Religious leaders, he said, have a “great role to play” in teaching their followers to accept the differences of other religions.
“They have to bring about this moderation. This respect for their religious differences… this is vital,” Pakiam told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) yesterday.
Pakiam’s statement to the WSJ came after the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia in Damansara Kim, and seized more than 300 Bibles in Malay and Iban languages, which contained the word “Allah”.
The Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 prohibits non-Muslims from using 35 Arabic words, including “Allah”.
The raid had dampened the already-strained relationship between Christians and Muslims following a Court of Appeal ruling last October which ruled that Catholic weekly Herald was not allowed to use the word in its Malay section of the publication, fearing that it would confuse the Muslims.
On religious polarisation, Pakiam said that the Catholic church has started “educating” its people to accept that other religions were different.
“But it has to come even from other religious leaders,” he was quoted as saying.
The priest at the centre of the Allah row, Herald editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew, recently allegedly said that Catholic churches in Selangor would continue to use the word “Allah” despite the law forbidding it.
His comments created uproar, with more than 80 police reports lodged against him.
Selangor Umno and several Muslim groups also threatened to protest in front of churches in the state Sunday, but the protests were called off at the last minute.
Andrew is being investigated under the Sedition Act and has since had his statement recorded. – January 8, 2014.
Archbishop Pakiam must take into consideration that the Malay-Muslim majority have been very tolerant to the Non Muslims, which include the Christians. In fact, very accomodating.
There are less than 9% Christians amongst Malaysians and yet they are allowed to so much privileges.
Neither the Federal nor any of the State Governments made it conditional for Christianity to be regulated, unlike Islam where each states there are religious regulatory agencies that monitor clergies and mosque officials. Most states practice the submission of Friday sermon (khutbah) before they are allowed to be delivered to the congregation.
Some states also enforce religious teaching registry, to monitor those who are allowed to give classes in mosques must adhere to the necessary qualification and experience.
None of the state authorities have even seen churches registry of pastors, vicars or priests. As such, foreign clergies move freely in and out of the country in their activities of Christian missionary work.
Some, together with local church leaders are believed to have been protelysing Malay-Muslims into Christianity. That was what discovered during the raid on Damansara Utama Methodist Church on 3 August 2011.
All these are aggregated into continuous provocations and even insults, against the sentiments of the Malay-Muslim majority. Naturally, that drew gross displeasure and eventually anguish.
Considering to systematic but continuous provocations and insults, the Malay-Muslim majority have been rather level headed and relatively mild in their expression of displeasure, which is also directed to some of the church leaders. If all of these provocations and insults were to go on, it would drive the nation divided into ugly sides of hatred.
Archbishop Pakiam should put the money where his mouth is.
He should start by demonstrating ‘love’ and demand that the matter of kalimah “Allah” which the Herald is still pursuing at Federal Court be withdrawn. Then, the call to adhere to the provisions in the Federal Constitution pertaining to Islam and State Constitutions in the enactments of practice of Islam and prohibition of propagating Non Islamic religions to Muslims.
Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad also asked that Father Lawrence Andrew respected the 14 October 2013 Court of Appeal decision:
08 January 2014| last updated at 09:15PM
Dr M: Father Lawrence should respect court’s decision
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PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has asked Catholic priest Father Lawrence Andrew to respect the court’s decision on the use of the word, ‘Allah’ in the Malay version of the Bible.
The former prime minister said the editor of ‘The Herald’, a Catholic weekly magazine, should respect the sensitivities of the Muslim community in the country, just as Muslims respected other religions.
“The case was referred to the court by them, but when the court made its decision, they did not bother. What will happen when society does not respect the court’s decision?
“The usage of the word, ‘Allah’, in Sabah and Sarawak has been around for a long while, never mind, but why all of a sudden (they) want to use it here?,” asked Dr Mahathir when met by reporters after presenting a keynote address at the Tabung Haji (TH) Corporate Directors seminar in Kelana Jaya here today.
He was commenting on Father Lawrence’s statement last Dec 27 that the Catholic church in Selangor would continue to use the word, ‘Allah’, in its weekly services in the Malay language, even though the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) sent a reminder notice disallowing its usage by non-Muslims.
His statement has met with some opposition from various quarters, particularly Muslims in Selangor, and yesterday he stood his ground in not wanting to apologise as demanded by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Selangor Umno and Malay rights group, Perkasa.
Dr Mahathir reminded that Malaysia was a peaceful country despite having people of diverse religious and racial backgrounds, which needed to be maintained by avoiding matters which could touch on the religious sensitivities of others.
Meanwhile, he said the establishment of entertainment premises in Putrajaya was a non-issue because it was not a religious town but an administrative town.
“People need entertainment. If we cannot drink liquor in Putrajaya, its alright with me, but to the extent of not having any entertainment, this is difficult, lah,” he said when asked on the proposed opening of the Hard Rock Cafe branch in Putrajaaya that was met with opposition by certain quarters.
The media reported that a branch of the Hard Rock Cafe was expected to be opened in Putrajaya – the brainchild of Dr Mahathir – following discussions with Putrajaya Corporation president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat and businessman Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir.
Asked whether he agreed to a Hard Rock Cafe branch to be opened in Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir replied: “I do not agree on (a) Hard Rock Cafe (branch). I agree there should be entertainment there. But if we want to disallow the sales of liquor, that is up to them (the relevant authorities).”
However, Aseh was reported to have clarified that there was no official request on any proposal to open entertainment centres in Putrajaya.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Mahathir said TH was a unique entity that was incomparable in the world, in terms of collecting the people’s money to enable them to perform the haj. — BERNAMA
It is certain that the Malay-Muslim majority would reciprocate immediately. After all, they deserve a peaceful and harmonious Malaysia too.
*The title translate to “Religion of love, but provoking hate”.