Friday, December 21, 2007

Malaysian Catholic Weekly Told To Drop Use Of 'Allah' In Order To Renew Publishing Permit

A Catholic weekly newspaper in Malaysia has been told to drop the use of the word "Allah" in its Malay language section if it wants to renew its publishing permit, a senior government official said Friday.

The Herald, the organ of Malaysia's Catholic Church, has translated the word God as "Allah" but it is erroneous because Allah refers to the Muslim God, said Che Din Yusoff, a senior official at the Internal Security Ministry's publications control unit.

"Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim god. This is a design to confuse the Muslim people," Che Din told The Associated Press.

The weekly should instead, use the word "Tuhan" which is the general term for God, he said.

Religious issues are extremely sensitive in Malaysia, where about 60 percent of the 27 million people are Malay Muslims. Ethnic Chinese, who follow Christianity and Buddhism, account for 25 percent of the population. Indians, who are mostly Hindus with a sprinkling of Christians and Muslims, are around 10 percent.

The minorities have often complained that they don't have full freedom of religion even though the constitution guarantees everybody the right to worship. The minorities cite the difficulty in obtaining permission to build their places of worship, and the Hindus have been particularly angered by the demolition of temples by government authorities in recent months.

The Herald, which has a circulation of 12,000 copies for its members, publishes reports in four languages — English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil.

The Rev. Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, said the weekly's use of the word Allah was not intended to offend Muslims.

"We follow the Bible. The Malay-language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayers and in church during Malay mass, we use the word Allah," he told the AP.

"This is not something new. The word Allah has been used in Malaysia for a long time. There is no confusion," he said.

The 13-year-old weekly is still in talks with the authorities to renew its permit, which expires Dec. 31, he said, adding that they would appeal if the government refuses to budge on the issue.

Publishers in Malaysia are required to obtain annual permits from authorities under a printing law that has long been criticized by rights groups as infringing press freedoms.

There are more than 800,000 Catholics in Malaysia, Andrew said.

Che Din said Christians don't use the word Allah when they worship in English, so they shouldn't use it in the Malay language too.

There are four Malay words that must not be used by other religions, he said: Allah for God, "solat" for prayers, "kaabah" for the place of Muslim worship in Mecca and "baitula" the house of Allah.

The Herald's permit will only be renewed if they stop using Allah in their publication, he stressed. (International Herald Tribune)
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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the man, why cant herald use another word and not 'Allah' . Muslims take their religion seroiusly, not like christians they made jesus toy..

6:37 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous A Muslim said...

'Allah' (Arabic: Allāh) is the standard Arabic language word for "God", nothing more, nothing less.
In Bahasa Malaysia the standard word for God is 'Tuhan'.

The term Allah, is most likely derived from a contraction of the Arabic article al + ilāh "deity, god" to al-lāh meaning "the [sole] deity, God" (ho theos monos); another theory traces the etymology of the word to the Aramaic Alāhā.

While the term Allah is best known in the West for its use by Muslims as a reference to God *, it is used by Arabic-language-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews in reference to "God".

The term Allah was also used by pagan Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.

Note:* This Western misguided belief is also held by some uneducated persons in Malaysia, such as Malaysian Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum.

The concepts associated with the term Allah (as a deity) though differed from tradition to tradition.

In pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was not the sole divinity, had associates and companions, sons and daughters. There was also a kind of kinship of between Allah and the jinn (spirits).

In Islam, Allah is the pivotal essence of the Muslim faith, Allah is only, the one God, all-merciful and omnipotent, transcendent creator of the universe, and the judge of humankind.

The Arabic-language-speaking Christians today use other words besides Allah for 'God' other than 'Allah', they for example use terms Allāh al-ab meaning God the Father, Allāh al-ibn means God the Son, and Allāh al-ruh al ghodus meaning God the Holy Spirit.

There are both similarities and differences between the concept of God as portrayed in the Qur'an and the Hebrew Bible (Toarh). The Torah and the Qur'an however both reject the Trinitarian (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) conception of God as three persons in one substance.

(Information sourced from Wikipedia and elsewhere.)
God=Allah=Tuhan, etc. you can use such terms as you like, none is exclusive or reserved for use by any particular religion or belief.

So Johari, what are you creating unnecessary disharmony for? Perhaps for a few UMNO gold stars?

9:48 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No kidding, Allah has became a registered trademark in Malaysia ???

10:32 PM GMT+8  
Blogger lucia said...

mental jog

well anony 10.32, yes, it looks like allah has become a registered trademark for malaysian muslim... so said our government.

stupid government lah. by this action of theirs only goes to show they don't trust their own fellow muslims.

apart from the use of the word allah, the gomen also picked on the use of bahasa for its publication. i thought we are encourage to use bahasa? why can't the herald use bahasa now? oh, because the gomen so scared muslim read already ah will convert to christianity. haha. no confidence too.

11:48 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malaysia boleh!! This could only happen in Malaysia. Simply pathetic, sigh....!! So, do u mean Tuhan is not God? And God is not Allah?? Or Allah is not Tuhan???

11:50 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous A GOOD MUSLIM GIRL said...

I always believed there is one God and God has many names e.g. Allah,Samy, God,Tuhan, etc!!!

Now like the self created law, that if someone marries a Muslim they have to convert to Muslim, Malaysia aka Bolehland is making another fuss that Allah is only for Muslims.

Dont be a hypocrit. When you die, try auditing your pahala, and you are definitely going to hell.

I am a Muslim lady married to a loving caring Hindu man. I am livin in Australia. We have no issues. We believe there is one god. The most important thing is love. We believe loving family is more important. So we give alot of love to our kids and our spouse.

So what is Muslim Malaysia is trying to achieve? Talibanisation according to narrow interpretation of Islam. Please be more human. Dont fight over religion.

I also notice while being in Austalia, the Muftis in Malaysia are so narrow Minded. I heard many go to Al-Azhar and they come up with the most ridiculous Fatwa.

People in Malaysia, you dont need to go to Al Azhar to be good in Islam. You can read the Quran and interprate as a sane people.

Malaysia, I hope you remain secular. You are my motherland. Please dont be a racist land.

12:10 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

It's not the point what the Herald uses. The word Allah does not belong to only one religion.
This can only happen in Malaysia!
Malaysia Boleh!

1:23 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Stupid Johari Baharum said...

Malaysian Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum is a bloody racist. He borrowed the word from the ARAB and now he says it is only for Muslims. Johari do u know Malay is a hypocritic language made of many borrowed words. Johari you are an arab ass lover who doesn't like peace. I see no difference between you as a racist and Hindraf. You are Umno racist who dont like peace.
So listen asshole, there is one god and we are the children of god irrespective what they call e.g Christianity, Hinduism, Muslim or Taoism. You are an asshole who interprate religion as narrow as Taliban.
So get lost.

2:23 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous sm said...

Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim god. This is a design to confuse the Muslim people," Che Din told The Associated Press.

AREN'T THESE COMMENTS SEDITIOUS? hE SHOULD BE CHARGED UNDER ISA!
BY THE WAY, HE THINKS THERE IS A MUSLIM GOD & A CHRISTIAN GOD? WHAT KIND OF NUTS DOES THIS GOVT. PUT IN PLACES OF AUTHORITY?!

8:15 AM GMT+8  

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