Random Links 206 (“Boxing Day” Malaysia edition)

I’m doing a quick catching up before Boxing Day ends tonight.

Catholic Weekly in quandary over permit

Ouch … The Herald is one of my favorite source of input and inspiration!

Allah, Tuhan, God, Shang-Ti, Dio!

What word do you use for “God” in your mother tongue?

Is It Really Just About The Terminology?

This paragraph alone takes us beyond terminology 🙂

“Unfortunately the dear Minister may have overlooked the fact that there exists a very strong counter-cultural and anti-empire message in Christianity. Despite Christendom having being a party to the very same empires that her core message has taken a stand against many times in history; to our chagrin and shame; there had always been a self critique mechanism that existed within the Church’s polity and the raising up of reformers and prophetic voices throughout her history. Perhaps the Minister may be trying to add a new term of reference to the Internal Security Ministry – one of theological interpretation and doctrinal policing?”

Herald permit: Divide-and-rule rears its ugly head?Anil’s column in the Herald is one of the reason’s the weekly is my favorite … 🙂

“Four years ago, Christian Malaysians were overjoyed when Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi sent Christmas greetings to their various churches and congregations. It was an astute gesture that touched many Christians, and many of them voted in droves for the BN in the 2004 general election.

How times have changed.

Now, as we observe Christmas 2007, the mood in many churches is decidedly sombre. The Catholic Church has not yet received its new publication permit for its weekly Herald newspaper for the coming year, ostensibly because of its use of the term “Allah” to refer to God in its Malay-language section.

As a columnist for The Herald, I am deeply disappointed. The Herald’s use of the term “Allah” is nothing new; it has been using the word for years in its Bahasa Malaysia section. See the Aliran statement here.

In fact, “Christian Arabs of today have no other word for ‘God’ than ‘Allah’” (Wikipedia).

So why has this become an issue now?”

Do Malaysian Muslims understand what ‘Allah’ means?

This is where academics who write in ways we can understand come in handy …

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.

The Minister’s remark not only demonstrated his shallow understanding of Muslim culture and the clear distinction between Arab ulture and Muslim theology, but it also demonstrated his own lack of understanding of the history of the Malays, who, like many non-Arabs, only converted to Islam much later from the 13th century onwards. Among the earliest pieces of evidence to indicate Islam’s arrival to the Malay archipelago are the stone inscriptions found in Malay states like Pahang where the idea of God is described in the sanskrit words ‘Dewata Mulia Raya’. As no Malay spoke or even understood Arabic then, it was natural for the earliest Malay-Muslims to continue using the Sanskrit-inspired language they spoke then. Surely this does not make them lesser Muslims as a result?”

May Allah open Johari’s eyes

I wonder how Johari will face his Christian friends, or Malaysian citizens who are Christians … or anyone who is more informed than him on this matter?

Why forbid that which God has enjoined?

Beautiful verse from the Quran.


PM warns about religious extremism

Hmm … but if I’m not mistaken the one’s making in my humble opinion extremist statements don’t seem to be heeding his advice.

Lim: PM’s X’mas Speech good but …

The “buts” seem to be overshadowing the “good” these days ..

Herald controversy – Is Abdullah leader of Malaysian moderates protecting middle ground against extremists?

The details of what Kit Siang had in mind in the earlier post.

A Christian tells Pak Lah the truth

So, what’s next? … for all of us …

A Flawed Democracy

This is serious stuff …

“Shame on you government of Malaysia; you are as guilty in the eyes of God as exactly as you accuse the Hindraf leaders. May the Lord God judge you appropriately on this action which you do unjustly and without the due process of natural justice.

You did not even bother to read their memorandum and now you accuse them of “becoming a danger to the Malaysian society and public interest.”

And you abuse the ISA meant for communists. Just tell me why? May we all continue to pray and ask for God’s Mercy on Malaysia!”

Why are Malaysians so restless these days?

Today has been a little more restful than usual though … but perhaps it will be short lived.

Thursday date for Subashini decision

That’s tomorrow, and it reminds me this season to remember those who are often not in our immediate circles of concern .. for those who are impatient .. here’s a good summary possible outcome:

” There are three likely possible outcomes from the Federal Court tomorrow:

1. The court may decide against Subashini on technical grounds – over the date of Subashini’s divorce petition which was within three months of her husband’s conversion date.

According to the law, the petition should be filed three months after the conversion date. Subashini argued that she was not aware of the date of her husband’s conversion. If so, the case will be thrown out and lawyers can choose to file her divorce petition again.

2. The court may decide against Subashini on substantive grounds – that the Syariah Court has jurisdiction and orders her to take her case there. This effectively rules that civil courts have no say in conversion cases especially after syariah proceedings have commenced.

3. The court may decide for Subashini – she will get remedy in civil courts, her husband may not proceed further in syariah courts and he has to go back to civil courts because their marriage was originally solemnised under civil law.

Whatever the Federal Court decision, it will be considered a landmark judgment.”

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