Everyone who’s serious about engaging in this issue MUST read this. And if possible the 57-page judgment too. Here’s an excerpt:
On why the Home Minister’s ban is illegal
“The Applicant submits the 1st Respondent has failed to take into account one or more of the relevant considerations…
1. The word “Allah” is the correct Bahasa Malaysia word for “God” and in the Bahasa Malaysia translation of the Bible, “God” is translated as “Allah” and “Lord” is translated as “Tuhan”;
2. For 15 centuries, Christians and Muslims in Arabic-speaking countries have been using the word “Allah” in reference to the One God. The Catholic Church in Malaysia and Indonesia and the greater majority of other Christian denominations hold that “Allah” is the legitimate word for “God” in Bahasa Malaysia;
3. The Malay language has been the lingua franca of many Catholic believers for several centuries especially those living in Melaka and Penang and their descendants in Peninsular Malaysia have practised a culture of speaking and praying in the Malay language;
4. The word “God” has been translated as “Allah” in the “Istilah Agama Kristian Bahasa Inggeris ke Bahasa Malaysia” first published by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia in 1989;
5. The Malay-Latin dictionary published in 1631 had translated “Deus” (the Latin word for God) as “Alla” as the Malay translation;
6. The Christian usage of the word “Allah” predates Islam being the name of God in the old Arabic Bible as well as in the modern Arabic Bible used by Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and other places in Asia, Africa, etc;
7. In Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, the word “Allah” has been used continuously in the printed edition of the Matthew’s Gospel in Malaysia in 1629, in the first complete Malay Bible in 1733 and in the second complete Malay Bible in 1879 until today in the Perjanjian Baru and the Alkitab;
8. Munshi Abdullah who is considered the father of modern Malay literature had translated the Gospels into Malay in 1852 and he translated the word “God” as “Allah”;
This would show the sincerity of the Government, if not it’s hard to believe all this renewed zeal for interfaith dialogue.
The DAP advisor asserted that it was the government’s prerogative to demonstrate its sincerity in starting the inter-faith dialogue.
“The government must walk the talk when it comes to this matter. They say they are sincere in this dialogue, but they have never invited any parties for a roundtable to address this issue,” said Lim.
Yesterday Muhyiddin reminded all parties not to undermine the peace and harmony enjoyed by the nation at the moment, in reference to the ongoing furore over the “Allah” issue.
“We will not politicise the issue because this is not a political issue. This is about peace and harmony in the country. We should defend it at all cost. We should not be careless or adopt a lackadaisical attitude,” he said.
I suspect many will feel the same way Tony does in this post.
Did I fathom the day I would say this? To be honest, no, not before March 2008 anyway. So here’s 3 cheers to Mujahid, 3 cheers to PAS for changing the face of Malaysian politics, for championing reason and defeating over-zealous parochialism.
It will be interesting how this article will add to the debate. But Prof. Faruqi has a point that emotions are part and parcel of the equation. That will be essential especially going beyond this impasse perceived due to reactions to the High Court judgment. Unfortunately, the Home ministry and the current reactions from the Government did not and does not consider Prof. Faruqi’s quote from Jesse Jackson applied to themselves. The Ball is in their courts.
Fair and moderate solutions will require leadership and sacrifice. As the Rev Jesse Jackson said “leaders of substance do not follow opinion polls; they mould opinion, not with guns or power of position but with the power of their souls”.