Thursday, December 27, 2007

Allah Controversy - KL High Court Plays For Time

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has deferred the hearing of a Sabah church's application to sue the government over non-Muslims' right to use the word 'Allah'. The professed reason for this deferment is to allow both parties to 'discuss' the issues.

This unnecessary controversy was sparked by that unthinking idiot Johari Baharum, deputy Internal Security minister who sent a directive ordering the weekly to drop the use of the word "Allah," when referring to the God who Christians worship. Instead, the newspaper should use the word "Tuhan," which is a general term for God. He further compounded his ignorance by saying that "Allah" referred only to the Muslim god, and its use was designed to confuse Muslims.

"Malaysians are truly dumbfounded that the use of a single, widely used term to refer to the Almighty could be the basis for denying a basic right -- the freedom to publish," cried Aliran in a statement. It challenged Prime Minister Ahmed Badawi, who touts the 'moderate' Islam Hadhari to speak out and clarify the issue.

Aliran and others have observed that the Arabic word "Allah" was used as a name for a supreme being even before Mohammed established Islam in the seventh century. Many Christian Arabs use the same word for God.

Fr. Lawrence Andrew, the Herald editor, said the ministry was trying to suppress the Bahasa Malaysia section of the newspaper. He pointed out that the word for God in the Bible in the Malay language is Allah, and said it was thus natural that that word be used.

"Surely we all know that no one can change the words of the Koran, likewise no editor can change the words of the [Bahasa Malaysia Bible]," he argued.

Andrew said many Bahasa Malaysia-speakers read the Herald, and by forcing the paper to stop publishing that section, the government was "curtailing the rights of Christian citizens who want to practice their faith -- to know more of the faith activities or be informed of faith events that are going to take place."

"This amounts to interfering in the internal activities of a religious group and ... contradicts the constitution," he said.

This isn't the first time the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims has caused contention in Malaysia.

In 2003, the issue prompted a government decision to ban a Bible published in the tongue of a small indigenous ethnic group. The ban was later reversed after protests.

In another recent sign of cracks along ethnic and religious lines in Malaysia, tens of thousands of ethnic Indian Hindus took to the streets in November to protest what they say are discriminatory policies that favor ethnic Malays at the expense of minorities. Among other things, the Hindus complained about the destruction of temples which officials say are illegal.

"The rights of one religious group should not trump the most basic of all individual human rights, the right to follow one's own conscience," said Michael Cromartie, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a statutory body that advises the administration and Congress.

With this High Court decision to defer the case, the ball has cleverly been placed in no one's court in particular and since there has been apparently no time limit being imposed for the 'discussions' we can safely assume that the controversy will be swept under the carpet. But things could have been worse if some spineless Malay judge putting his/her religious prejudices ahead of his/her sacred oath of office had abdicated his/her sworn obligation and duties and pushed the whole thing over to our Syariah courts. Luckily that didn't happen and we must thank Allah for small mercies.

In the meanwhile if the government has some brains and a true understanding of freedom to practice one's religion in a democracy, they will enable The Herald to continue publishing unmolested and allow the continued use of the word Allah as the editors have been doing all these years without converting or 'confusing' Muslims.


People like Johari Baharum who worry that Muslims are in danger of being pulled towards Christianity just because of the use of that one word, have actually deeply insulted fellow Malays and Muslims by insinuating that they are so shallow of mind and of so little faith. Johari B and his ilk exhibit symptoms of classical paranoia and therefore of unsound mind and should be referred at the earliest to a Muslim psychiatrist for professional help.
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13 Comments:

Anonymous truckmuncher said...

i have one question,

why the word allah is used in bahasa version only but not the english version as well since it is an arabic word.

12:52 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Seeker of the Truth said...

Because in BM the word for God can be either 'Allah' or 'Tuhan' as reference please see various State Anthems, Rukun Negara e.g.

JOHOR
Lagu Bangsa Johor
Allah peliharakan Sultan
'Nugrahkan dia segala kehormatan
Sihat dan ria, kekal dan makmur
Luaskan kuasa, menaungkan kami
Rakyat dipimpini berzaman lagi
Dengan Merdeka bersatu hati
Allah berkati Johor
Allah selamatkan Sultan.

KEDAH
Title: Allah Selamatkan Sultan Mahkota

PERAK
Title: Allah Lanjutkan Usia Sultan.

PAHANG
Title: Ya Allah Yang Maha Kuasa


'Rukun Negara',
* KEPERCAYAAN KEPADA TUHAN
* KESETIAAN KEPADA RAJA DAN NEGARA
* KELUHURAN PERLEMBAGAAN
* KEDAULATAN UNDANG-UNDANG
* KESOPANAN DAN KESUSILAAN

etc., but 'Tuhan' is more commonly used as the BM word for 'Lord'.

1:21 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Johari is a Fool said...

That bastard called Johari, was brought up in the slum. No wonder he answered like a jack ass about Hindraf in the parliament. Now he is thinking like narrow minded pussy.

Fellow Malaysians, ask your self, do u want morones leading your country? Again racist UMNO is trying to create a mockery out of evrything. Once upon a time, the Shariah court was like a fatherless court. Now Shariah Court is as strong as Civil Court. What is next? It becomes the Supreme Court?

UMNO racist are trying to play sandwara just to please Malays so that they dont support moronic, inward thinking fools called "PAS"

Malaysians, use ur head when voting the next round.

3:10 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous juslo said...

i've got a similar perspective.

Believing in 'Islam' Would Make You Stupid and Vulnerable?
http://juslo.blogspot.com/2007/12/believing-in-islam-would-make-you.html

3:53 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

Juslo,

Once upon a time I would have not believed you but now...well...it's being proven time & time again!

9:20 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Another Arab said...

Dear Members of this Forum

Allah is a word that Bahasa Melayu has adopted from Arabic. Despite the fact that Malaysia is a Muslim country, Malaysia refused to embrace Arabic as one of its official languages.

Therefore, no Malaysian authority has the right to determine/restrict the usage of any word that is purely Arabic in origin. That right belongs to the Arab League and its 22 member countries.

I would suggest that a request be made to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to declare that ALLAH is Arabic in origin. Give them two weeks to respond failing which we can get the Arab League to declare in a statement that ALLAH is an Arabic word. That statement from the Arab League will end all these stupidity gushing from idiots at UMNO.

All Malays please remember this - embracing Islam and being a Muslim does not make you a native speaker of the Arabic Language. Likewise, not all native speakers of the Arabic language are Muslims - there are Christians, Druzes and Jews amongst us.

The word ALLAH had been in existence before Islam. So, do not forget that ALLAH in English is simply God. If you insist that ALLAH is a Muslim God, you should also explain that TUHAN is a pagan deity for the Malays.

Dear Malays, please stop making fools of yourselves!

by Another Arab

10:20 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

Another Arab,

Well written summary.
However, I am sorry but you are wasting your time...those idiots have a history of making fools of themselves & they will continue to do so. The Social Restructuring (read: NEP) in Malaysia all these years has ensured that!

12:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Purple Haze said...

This is going to put non-Muslims in a quandary when singing the state anthem. Do they sing Allah or Tuhan ?

If using the word Allah, then according to the govt re-branding exercise, it denotes the Muslim God and not God, generally speaking.

Does that mean that one section of the crowd sings Allah and another section sings Tuhan ? Will the Sultan be insulted?

3:44 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Another Arab said...

Dear SM

Sometimes, you need to give the Malays a thundering slap on the face to make them realise their own crass stupidity.

Since Bahasa Melayu is 60% Arabic in vocabulary, why should we not get the Arab League involved?



Dear Purple Haze

The word 'Sultan' is also adopted from Arabic. The applicable word in Bahasa Melayu is - Penghulu Yang Mesti Disembah.

Can somebody explain to me why these Raja2 Melayu have Arabic names and titles? Don't they know that they are not Arabs? Please remind them to change their names and titles to reflect names that are authentically Malay (e.g. Awang)!

8:54 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

Guys,

They fail to realise that more than 2/3rds of their language has been "copied" from other languages!
Compare the difference between Bahasa Indonesia & Bahasa Melayu.
Look at our local Bahasa Newspaper articles. You can't find a Paragraph that does not have a "bastardized" English word (e.g. ide for idea, merealisasikan for reliazation, serius for serious & the list goes on & on!)!
They can only copy!

9:22 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Another Arab said...

Dear SM

The origin of Bahasa Melayu is FROM Riau (in Sumatra). Bahasa Melayu came to the Peninsula in the same manner that Arabic arrived into Morocco, Mauritania, Mali etc.

10:01 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Another Arab said...

Dear SM

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka consists of 4 words. Two of these words are Arabic in origin (see below for clarification). That by itself speaks volumes of how Arabic has enriched BM!

Note:
Dewan (or Diwan) = Chamber
Bahasa is from Bahath = To talk

10:12 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

Dear Another Arab,

Now if we can only make these idiots (the one making policies) understand!

11:21 AM GMT+8  

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