#AceWorldNews (Exclusive) – Opinion – South East Asia News – September 18
For long, Malaysia has been a multi-religious country where most people can adhere to their own religion even though Islam is the official religion. A state with a history of its diverse faith followers that lived in peace with each other. However, recent years have seen a drastic rise in growing intolerance towards the religious and ethnic minorities.
In recent developments, are the infamous Malay Court Ban limiting the use of the Arabic word Allah for Muslims “ONLY.”
The country has come under fire for its systematic evidence of targeting Christian community; the church burnings, grave desecration and the seizure of 300 Bibles. This Bible raid was justified under the Court ruling as it contained the word Allah. Come again.
When one thinks that the word Allah has been used by Malaysians for over 600 years and the name Allah was used in the Gospel printed in Malaysian 400 years ago, we can better comprehend the senselessness and impropriety of this prohibition. Ridiculous:.
The followers of Christ in the Arabian Peninsula, including some 12 million followers of Christianity are using the word Allah without any qualms or statutory rulings.
So why and what is wrong in Malaysian Christians using the word Allah?
The Koran itself is very clear on this subject, by affirming that Muslims should say to Jews and Christians that “our God and your God is one”.
However, many Malay Muslims have a rigid and schematic view of Islam. The challenge is to “educate the masses” and to promote religious freedom. Moreover, the government says Allah should be reserved exclusively for Muslims — who make up nearly two-thirds of the country’s 29 million people — because if other religions use it that could confuse Muslims and lead them to convert.
For crying out loud, is this really happening?
“The Allah ban is a direct result of our failure in Nation Building as a peoples. Everyone is responsible for it and everyone should play a role in the reconciliation process. We will have to look back as a nation and ask where did we go wrong. Then from there, we will need to find new creative ways to bridge the cross cultural gaps that led to this point,” says Malaysian human rights defender and Director, Dignity International (an international human rights based organization) Adrian Periera.
On-ground human rights groups have joined hands with Malaysian Catholics in campaigning against this ruling. One good that came out of this inanity, is the renewal of the Malaysians spirit that is seen into coming together as a united force. Needless, the Malays Catholics don’t find themselves alone in this battle and can count on the support of Muslim groups.
Organizations like Sisters in Islam (SIS) and the Front for Islamic revival (IRF) have launched initiatives on social networks to promote accurate information removed from the ideology and propaganda of the government and extremist movements.
“God, what is your religion?” This cryptic question, spotted on a T-shirt worn by a Malay Muslim woman demonstrator in a public protest for expressing solidarity with minority Christians over who can use the term ‘Allah’.
This debate has crossed national borders and sparked a debate among Muslims around the world.
In Pakistan, the English daily newspaper Daily Times questioned the ruling, asking why Malaysia would deny people of other faiths to “own God in all His attributes”. Similarly a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates called the court ruling “wrong”, and said the word Allah was never exclusive to Islam but used by both Christians and Jews to refer to God even before the advent of Islam.
“So. My God is not your God. And your God is not mine”
Is this making sense to any sane person within Malaysia and elsewhere? I guess not.
Reza Aslam, Muslim Academic writer said that the world was “laughing” at Malaysia over the court ruling that he described as a political decision more than anything else. “That you can control people’s ideas, their behavior, their faith and their minds simply by trying to control the words that they use, is absurd. It is an embarrassment to a modern, constitutional, democratic and deeply Muslim state like Malaysia,” said the religious scholar.
Indeed, congratulations to Malaysia being the first country to ban God’s name and to limit God to themselves.
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