Saturday, February 28, 2009

Now, can use Allah - but put "For Christianity" - Why not just "Not For Muslims"?

Well, the government has now changed its stance and is allowing the Herald to use the word 'Allah'...but alas Christians do not need permission of the government of the day to use the word 'Allah', or do they?

Interestingly - the government wants the words “Untuk Agama Kristian” or “For Christianity” in bold font type Arial of size 16 placed on its front cover.

Firstly, we wonder why it should be so big?

Secondly, we wonder why that this is directed to Christians only, and not other religions as well - is it not discrimination? Should we not require all religious publications to carry bold font type Arial of size 16 with the "for this religion....or that religion".

Thirdly, we wonder why they just did not ask for "Bukan Untuk Orang Islam" or "Not For Muslims" - because the current ruling even goes against the Federal Constitution, and also will prevent what some religions consider as being a duty of their adherents - i.e. the work of evangelization,..In Malaysia, it is wrong to try to convert a Muslim OR maybe we should just have a no proselytizing for all in it shall be an offence for any person to try to convert any other to their faith. No more freedom to choose your religion. You stick to the religion you are born to. Maybe, we should consider this.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Catholic Herald magazine is permitted to use the word Allah provided the publication clearly states the words “For Christians only” in its masthead.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said this was stated in the recently gazetted Internal Security Act signed by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar on Feb 16.

“The next edition of the Herald will contain the word Allah, and we will print the words “For Christians only” on the masthead so as not to contravene the Act,” he said.

It is learnt the Act also forbids the use of the words Kaabah, solat and baitullah.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry’s Quran Publication Control and Text Division secretary Che Din Yusoh confirmed the content of the gazetted Act.

The High Court will today hear the mention of the case about the use of the word Allah in the Herald.

The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, who is the plaintiff, had applied for a judicial review of a Home Ministry directive last year forbidding the Herald publisher from using the word Allah as a synonym for “God.”

The plaintiff’s counsel Porres Royan had argued that the directive was unlawful and that the word was not exclusive to Islam.

On Dec 5, the publisher filed a writ of summons in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to seek a declaration on the use of the word.

The other respondents were the Home Ministry, the Government and the state Islamic Councils of the Federal Territory, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Malacca and the Malaysia Chinese Muslim Association.- Star, 27/2/2009, Herald allowed to use the word ‘Allah’

But, the matter is not over ...

PETALING JAYA: The Catholic Church will discuss with the Attorney-General’s Chambers on the Home Ministry’s order to allow the conditional use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications.

The lawyer representing Catholic weekly magazine The Herald, Porres Royan said there was a need to study the implications following the order that required the publications to indicate that the material was only for Christians.

The directive, made under the Internal Security Act, was gazetted by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar on Feb 16.

Asked to comment on the magazine’s March issue which will carry the words “Untuk Agama Kristian” (For Christianity) close to its masthead, Royan said the order was not only for The Herald.

“It’s not a question of The Herald accepting it (the order), but of following the law as it is gazetted,” he told The Star on Friday.

The magazine’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew said there was now “no fear” on his part as the magazine had included the disclaimer in its next issue.

“So, in a way, there is a sense of security that our publishing permit would be renewed,” he said.

“We want to live in peace and harmony with one another and will do what we can to help ensure freedom and justice,” Father Lawrence added.

In a mention of the case on Friday, the High Court fixed May 28 as the date of the hearing for the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur’s application to recall and set aside the order for intervention from various religious bodies.

The court also decided that the application by the interveners’ to refer the case to the Federal Court be heard on July 7.

The religious bodies involved are the state Islamic Councils of Federal Territory, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Malacca, the Malaysia Chinese Muslim Association (Macma) and the Malaysian Gurdwara Association.

Meanwhile, the Council of Churches of Malaysia has called on the Government to accept the use of the term “Allah” as a heritage that is not exclusive to one religion.

“We further urge the Government not to attempt to regulate or circumscribe its use through the introduction of pre-conditions and by punitive criminal legislations,” said the council’s general-secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri in a statement on Friday.

He was responding to the order issued by the Home Ministry that Christian publications may use the word “Allah” if they indicate that the material is for Christians.

Dr Hermen also questioned why the order was specific to Christianity and cited the Sikh religion as an example of another creed which referred to “Allah” in their sacred texts.

He pointed out that the order would also cause those who have publications using the word “Allah” to be at risk of possessing prohibited documents unless they ensure that the words “Untuk Agama Kristian” or “For Christianity” in bold font type Arial of size 16 placed on its front cover.

“This is an unfair imposition and unwarranted restriction on the practice of the Christian religion in this country,” Dr Hermen said, adding that the conditions was also a limitation on the freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

“We regret that the Government did not see fit to engage with us before introducing this order,” he said. - Star, 27/2/2009 - Church to study implications of permission to use “Allah” (Update)


shankar~selina said...

That should apply to all then... Not for Christians, not for Hindus, not for Buddhist when Muslim publications are put in print.. right?

Gahara99 said...

my opinion..why people always highlight about similiarity among race in malaysia which is state as islamic country..while at the same time they just wacthing what happen at palestine and the muslim community at christian based country like america and france.Do they got their right as muslim????

burhanlong said...

You are exactly as what is expected. The malays say "beri betis nak paha". The use of word "Allah" is irrelevant in the malaysian context because you can alaways use Tuhan. We are not Arabs. The persistent demand to use "Allah" is done with bad intention to convert Muslims. Why canr you leave my kids alone? We do not believe that we are born with original sins, so why bother to seek salvation for us.

Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...


When we believe in the universal God
There can never be any restrictive cord
Since all believers must be of one accord
To call Him by name we must freely afford

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 280209
Sat. 28th Feb. 2009.

soul_keeper said...

shalom mr. burhanlong,

well, i'm not into debating or condeming.just a few words for our own enlightment...

i've been wondering why only now the issue on the usage of the term Allah raise? why? when it could raise way years back ago?

is christianity really spreading in Malaysia? hardly i guess considering the fact that one is not allow to profess any religion with their own free will but merely according to the law. and you know what law.

i wonder why there's a sudden confusion on the term Allah here? in your case, Malaysia is afraid that the younger generation of Islam will confuse with Allah as in Christianity. i wonder why?

i believe this would not happen if you really know your God and have deep faith in Him.. back in East Malaysia. the term has been used for years by the local Christians there. though we hear a lot of the term Allah in television and publication and during our daily activities also we never confused of the term coz we deeply rooted in our faith.

everything regarding Islam in Malaysia are being taken with great deal of care by the government. what book to read, what words to use and there's censorship here and there coz the fear of deviate from the standard acceptance in Malaysia. its like you are being feed with spoon by other people on your self belief whereas you can use your gift of thoughts given by God to think wisely.

i believe there's God in everyone coz the Creator of you and me is basically the same. if you bashing our God who we (non mus) believe our Creator inderectly you are bashing the God Himself.

its our way of beliefs and worship are differ. if we keep on looking on our differences and keep on condeming each other what good will it bring.

peace in the love of God for everyone.