Common sense prevailed and Weekly Herald is back in publication. Wonder how long this will last... only after the general election?
2 of the biggest denominations in Malaysia seek recourse through Courts to seek justice to the right to worship in Malaysia. Bahasa Malaysia/ Melayu which is the language used predominantly in East Malaysia and various parts of West Malaysia. 50 years after gaining independence through peaceful negotiation & 'give and take', the government decided that some of the words are exclusive only to Muslims and will be a 'threat to national security' if uttered by non Muslims.
Fresh from angering 6.7% of the Indian diaspora in Malaysia, it seeks to do the same to the 10% Christians especially during Lent in celebration of Christmas. Wonder if these affected East Malaysians would have this controversy today if they did not join Malaysia in 1963( hypothetically of course)? Seemed that some quarters are bent in 'changing history' to claim ownership of proprietary that is otherwise communal. The word Allah is of Arabic origin as is now claimed as Malay owned. The recent tension with Indonesia on Rasa Sayange follows the same path. The "Malay Master" disease blurs the sight & distort reality that these elements even when confronted with historical facts, figures & experts. The high and mighty behaviour, emotional decision making & the inability to apologize from mistakes are symptoms of this disease.
East Malaysia's SIB sue Government for banning the usage of "Allah" among natives who are Christians.
Malaysia Catholic Church sue government for not deciding on the HERALD publication's permit. Government banned the use of Allah among Catholics as well.
I think the Malays are not as dumb as the government thinks & they know how to differenciate & not 'be confused'. I solute both denominations for their gutsy quest for justice & for the de facto "Minister Of Christianity" Bernard Dompok ( rather Harry Potterish eh?) to disagree with the government.
Berani kerana Benar! Berani Untuk Allah Maha Kuasa.
Another case of a small Napoleon in the ministry? This story is not carried by any of the official newspaper.
Or are Christians getting a black mark for speaking loudly on injustices. Citing my namesake,
Malaysians, while celebrating Christmas, must respect Islam as the country’s official religion. - Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chief Minister of Penang
May I know what is the Chief Minister insinuating in his Christmas message to Christians? Does he feel that he have appease certain segments of the ruling coalition after recent fight over his Gerakan Youth vice-chief S. Paranjothy ? Two wrongs does not make a right Mr Minister. Say la Merry Xmas or something but this is over the top.
To quote the infamous Citizen Nades from the Sun ..
While the Chief Secretary and Secretaries General of the various ministries are walking the extra mile to live up to the government’s and the people’s expectations of a first-class civil service, Little Napoleons are trying to become Big Emperors. Has anyone got the determination and the will to exterminate them before they spam and infect the system?
PETALING JAYA (Dec 23, 2007): The use of the word “Allah” to refer to God among Christians has been widely practised for generations in many countries and it is not meant to offend or confuse the Muslims, Christian leaders said on Sunday.
Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of local Catholic weekly The Herald, told theSun that its Bahasa Malaysia segment catered to the many Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Catholics in the country.
“The newspaper is only circulated among Catholics and not sold at newsstands and neither is the paper issued to Muslims,” he stressed.
He said The Herald was informed by the Internal Security Ministry in a letter dated Dec 10 to stop its Bahasa Malaysia segment.
He added that the letter said this would be so when the publication permit is granted.The annual permit expires on Dec 31 and the publication has yet to receive the renewed permit.
Lawrence said the term “Allah” used by Christians or in Christian literature was not intended to offend Muslims or create confusion.
We follow the Bible, he said. “The Malay-language Bible uses ‘Allah’ for God and Tuhan for Lord.”
He said since the early 19th century, Catholics in Malaya had prayer books in the Malay language and “Allah” was used to refer to God.
The Maltese Catholics also use the term “Allah” to refer to God and so do Christians in Indonesia, Pakistan and the Middle East.
There are more than 850,000 Catholics in Malaysia, and The Herald has a circulation of 12,000 and a readership of 50,000.
Other than the English segment, it also has sections in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil to cater to the multi-racial and multi-lingual make-up of the Malaysian Catholic population.
Hence it is common for some Catholic religious celebrations to be conducted in Bahasa Malaysia during the Sunday worship, and even on special national occasions such as Merdeka Day.
Lawrence said the ministry had no right to interfere in the internal management of the church, in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
Quoting Article 11 (3) A, he said the constitution allowed every religious group to manage its own affairs.
He said the ministry’s decision to abolish The Herald’s Bahasa Malaysia segment was unconstitutional and had no legal standing.
The weekly is still in talks with the authorities to renew its permit, and would appeal if the government refuses to issue the permit.
The general-secretary of the Council of Churches Malaysia Rev Herman Shastri told theSun each religious community was endowed with the right to translate its respective holy scriptures.
“Christians living in Muslim-majority countries are using the term ‘Allah’ in reference to God during their liturgical celebrations. Even if the authorities disallow the use of certain words, the churches will continue to use them because it has to do with our sacred scriptures,” he said.
Read Farish Noors take on this issue. ( Click here for the whole writeup ) He is a learned man who is a linguist plus other knowledge.
Yet in Malaysia at the moment yet another non-issue has been brewed to a scandal for no reason: The Malaysian Catholic Herald, a publication by and for Catholics in the country, has been told that it can no longer publish its Malaysian language edition if it continues to use the word "Allah" to mean God. Worse still, the country's Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum recently stated that "Only Muslims can use the word Allah" ostensibly on the grounds that "Allah" is a Muslim word. The mind boggles at the confounding logic of such a non-argument, which speaks volumes about the individual's own ignorance of Muslim culture, history and the fundamental tenets of Islam itself.
For a start, the word 'Allah' predates the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad and goes way back to the pre-Islamic era. Christians had been using the word long before there were any Muslims, in fact. Furthermore the word is Arabic, and is thus common to all the peoples, cultures and societies where Arabic - in all its dialects - is spoken, and is understood by millions of Arabic speakers to mean God, and little else. One could also add that as "Allah" is an Arabic word it therefore has more to do with the development and evolution of Arabic language and culture, and less to do with Islam. It is hard to understand how any religion can have a language to call its own, for languages emerge from a societal context and not a belief system. If one were to abide by the skewered logic of the Minister concerned, then presumably the language of Christianity (if it had one) would be Aramaic, or perhaps Latin.