Getting back to the core matter again.
Perhaps this is a message worth repeating, to assuage the obviously palpable fears. This is an important move in ensuring harmony amongst all religions.
Some have argued that the Muslim God is entirely different from the Christian God, and indeed religious scholars have debated this with vastly varying thoughts on the subject.
However, it must be reiterated that the present case is not so much a theological issue as it is one of defending a community’s right to practise its faith, in its natural language of use.
For me, forums like this is one of the ingredients needed to go forward. The people led the way (especially the younger ones), now will the leaders follow? I was present at the forum and was refreshed to witness the healthy diversity.
Scholars and Islamic experts have agreed to disagree on whether or not it is appropriate for the word ‘Allah’ to be used by non-Muslims as a direct translation for the word God.
One of the redemptive parts of this season is the increased visibility of East Malaysians!
When asked what they thought of isolated suggestions from a few Christian laymen to stop using the word “Allah” in order to diffuse the escalating tension in the country, Raut said that they would not stop using it because it has been used for a long time.
“I am from Sarawak, of the Lumbayang tribe, and we have been using ‘Allah’ for a long time. It is used in our mother tongue. ‘Tuhan Allah’ is our God.
“He has his right to say what he wants, but he doesn’t speak on behalf of all Christians,” he said, referring to a suggestion from a Sarawakian Christian, which was highlighted by a number of newspapers yesterday.
I heard yesterday how “pure” and “holy” the reference to God is to a Muslim. Wouldn’t it be the same for a BM speaking Christian? But the focus in this piece has great value to highlight again the contribution of Sabah and Sarawak to the whole of Malaysia.
As Sabah leader Tan Sri Bernard Dompok pointed out, they worship in Bahasa Malaysia as its the national language and Bibles are in that language because it is not feasible to print or translate it to their various dialects.
More importantly, “Allah” is their word for God, the same as for the Malays, who borrowed it from the Arabs.
Semantics aside, the people in Borneo do not see the fuss or problem over the name of God.
The Muslims in Sarawak, Jack (who asked that only his first name be used) reasoned, were not just tolerant of other faiths. They have accepted non-Muslims as a daily fact of life the same way parents accept that their children have different personalities.
A government servant, he had earlier said he hoped the spate of attacks against churches in the peninsula would not spill over into Sarawak.
Though he was upset over the broken windows of the Anglican Good Shepherd Church in Lutong, Miri, Jack’s faith in Sarawak’s Muslims has not been shaken.
“I hugely believe that this is an isolated case, and most Sarawakian Muslims and also Sarawakians are surprised that such an incident could happen at all in Sarawak,” said Jack. Many of the people interviewed for this article asked that their names be changed due to the volatility of the topic.
It is this renowned bond between the non-Muslims and Muslims of Sarawak and Sabah that has often been held up by peninsula politicians as the ultimate model of race-relations.
Opps . but then his comments have been used to muddy the discussion.
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Joseph Kurup (left) questioned the need for Malakun to muddy the waters on the Allah issue with negative comments.
"Malakun has no capacity to advise Christians on the Allah issue even if he spoke as the CJPM president," said the federal deputy natural resources and environment minister. "This matter is before the court. It should be left to the court to decide."
I wish the Home Ministry will back down to demonstrate genuineness in resolving the issue, especially, through all this “inter-faith” dialogue talk. The fact is the public forum yesterday proved that it can be done. And it was well done without their involvement anyway! On another note, there seems to be a lot of twisted reporting going on especially in the Bahasa Malaysia main stream papers. Or lack of proper in depth reporting overall. Why is that so?
The priest told Malaysiakini this when asked to clarify a report which appeared in Malay dailyBerita Harian today under the heading: ‘Herald agrees to stop using Allah’ whereas a sub-heading read: ‘Publisher realises responsibility to safeguard peace’.
"What I said was twisted… what I said is not something new, the decision was made when the AG (Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail) filed the stay application," said Andrew.