Thursday, July 10, 2014

‘Allah’ exclusive to Muslims, former home minister tells churches

Don’t create trouble, ‘Allah’ exclusive to Muslims, former home minister tells churches

Former home minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar says the Allah issue has gone through the judicial process and everyone should respect the court's decision. – The Malaysian Insider pic, July 10, 2014.Former home minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar says the Allah issue has gone through the judicial process and everyone should respect the court's decision. – The Malaysian Insider pic, July 10, 2014.Churches should respect that the word Allah is exclusive to Muslims as it refers to the concept of Allah being the one and only God, said Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, the man responsible for barring Catholic weekly, Herald, from using the word in 2009.
The former home minister said applying the word Allah in other religions would cause misunderstanding among society.
“Before this, the understanding was that the word Allah was for Muslims but after Herald used it (we) issued an order for them not to use it.
“For Muslims, it is not just a word but a declaration of faith. When it has gone through the process in court, please respect the decision by the courts, regardless of what the court's decision was," Syed Hamid told The Malaysian Insider.
However, Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have been using Allah for more than 100 years while the Catholic Herald has been using the word in its Bahasa Malaysia section, meant for East Malaysian Christians, since its first publication in 1994.
On December 5, 1986, the home ministry had announced a ban on Christians’ use of four Arabic words: “Allah”, “Kaabah” (the sacred Muslim shrine in Mecca), “Baitullah” (house of God) and “solat” (prayer).
The Allah issue cropped up in 2007 when the Home Ministry issued a warning to the Herald not to use the word. But following court appearances and negotiations, the Catholic publication received permission to use the word Allah as long as it stated on its masthead that the Herald was for Christians only.
Syed Hamid had even signed the order and it was gazetted on February 16, 2009. But 12 days later, he backpedalled and banned the Herald from using the word Allah.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) had last month maintained that the community would continue using "Allah" in Bibles, church services and gatherings.
This was despite the ruling by the Federal Court to reject the Catholic Church's leave application to appeal the ban on the use of the word in the Herald.
CFM chairman Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng, who expressed disappointment with the apex court's failure to rectify flaws in the previous ruling by a Court of Appeal, had said that the community can only treat the decision as being confined to that particular case.
"We maintain that the Christian community continues to have the right to use the word Allah in our Bibles, church services and Christian gatherings in our ongoing ministry to our Bahasa Malaysia-speaking congregation, as we have done all this while," he said in a statement.
Syed Hamid said the Church should not question the Federal Court's decision as it could jeapordise interethnic harmony in the country.
He said peace in Malaysia was grounded on mutual respect and trust among different communities, and use of the word Allah among non-Muslims would only spread confusion.
"It doesn't matter if the decision was 4-3 or otherwise. That is not the issue. We have gone through the judicial process.
"The country will be more peaceful and harmonious if we respect the constitution. If everything is confused, what will the impact be?
"If they wish to continue challenging it, we will face misunderstanding," he told The Malaysian Insider.
He said Christians should not try to create trouble in the country and offend Muslims who felt the word Allah was sacred.
He said justice could only be upheld if there was no misunderstanding between the races.
"This is a matter of faith, and if they challenge it, we must be careful that they do not offend people or stir up trouble.
"We don't understand how from 'Lord' and 'God', they were able to translate it to 'Allah' in Malay.
"We cannot refer to the Indonesians because they have a different system. They even call their newspapers the Koran," he said.
On Monday, The Malaysian Insider had reported that Muslim non-govermental organisations had said that Christians were not alone in their struggle to use the word Allah, as they too were making efforts to teach Muslim Malaysians that the word predates Islam.
Sisters in Islam (SIS) and Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) had said they were using social media to educate society on views that were a far cry from the teachings espoused by right-wing groups Isma and Perkasa.
IRF chief Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa had said efforts to support the Church's right to use the word Allah were an uphill battle as most‎ Malays were not open to discourse on Islam, and were only concerned with the issue of "halal" and "haram".
‎"They are very orthodox and conventional in their understanding of Islam, they don’t understand the discourse of the 21st century," Farouk had told The Malaysian Insider. – July 10, 2014.
Syed Hamid should focus on his present job that is looking after taxis and the taximens' conduct and not stoke the flames of religious bigotry. 
It is already sickening that he betrayed the church when he was in the home ministry's office.
Unprofessional people like him no right to speak on religion.
Let God judge him and all behaving like him!!!

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