the herald needs your help


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the herald, the catholic weekly, embroiled in the ‘allah’ controversy with the government will be going to court at end of feb. the editor of the herald is appealing to anyone of you who have or know of anyone who have old prayer books and bibles (published in the 18s or early 19s hundred) to loan it to them for the hearing. this is to substanstiate the fact that the malay language had been used in catholic worship for a long time and with the use of the word ‘allah’.

please, if you have old prayer books/bibles in malay, please let me know and i’ll get in touch with herald.

the right to use the word ‘allah’ in worship is not only the concern of the catholics. other christians too if they use the national language in their worship, they have a right to use ‘allah’. we also understand that the sikh in our country use ‘allah’ too.

many write-up, debates and discussion had already been going on in my blog, other blogs, forums and so on on this issue so i guess i should not talk about it anymore? oh well… but looking at the circumstances at what had happened during the past weeks, i have to on these 3:

no. 1 – about one clown homey minister’s threat.
no. 2 – a malay muslim letter wrtiter from malaysiakini
no. 3 – what the mnister in the PM’s dept, dompok said

no. 1
it did sound like a threat, yes? from the malaysian insider:

The case is not yet disposed of by the court. They should have waited for the court’s decision and not think as if they have all the rights and others don’t.

 "as if they have the rights and others don’t" – just what he meant by that? what a moron!

doesn’t sound like a threat? wait till you hear it again, from malaysiakini:

"Religious issues are a sensitive matter. That is why I refrain from debating the issue but if a religion decides to show its strength and numerous other actions, I think it is verging on dangerous territories.

whoa!! "show its strength and numerous other actions", "verging on dangerous territories".
what the hell was he talking about?

then when he said "the case is not yet disposed of by the court. they should have waited for the court’s decision…" i was thinking what a super moron. i was thinking herald had been using allah all along, then when the govt. disallowed them to use it, they decided to take the govt. to court to fight for the right to use allah – this means, they should continue using allah. simple as that.

another thought that came into my mind too was that who the hell syed hamid think he is when he said herald should not use ‘allah’ – is he the judge? wait till the court hearing lah. if after the hearing and the judge rule in favour of the govt. then that is the time that herald should stop using ‘allah’, not now. botak hamid is trying to be the judge!

no. 3
well thank god we have a sensible minister who agreed with me. the minister in the PM’s dept, bernard dompok said:

“It is not for the Home Ministry to pre-empt the decision of the court,” said Dompok, also the president of the United Pasok Momogun KadazanDusunMurut Organisation (Upko), in Kota Kinabalu on a return visit for Chinese New Year. “I understand from the lawyers that the Herald should be allowed to publish as they published before, until the outcome in the court.”

exactly my sentiments! good for dompok to tell botak hamid off the leave herald alone!  (full article below).

no. 2
just as i always said countless number of times, when botak hamid said the use of ‘allah’ by herald will confuse muslim, he is insulting his own fellow muslim. well, one spoke up recently – a letter to malaysiakini.

Please, Mr Syed Hamid Albar, you speak for yourself or the government which you are a part of, but not on behalf of all Muslims. It is an insult to a majority of the Muslims here when it is implied that we can be influenced just because other faiths use this word.

exactly my sentiments! this writer, abdul rahman also commented on other parts of what botak hamid said. first read what the botak hamid had to say, then read his letter in full.

—————–

1.  homey botak’s threat and showing strength:

Malaysiakini
Ministry to probe Herald’s use of ‘Allah’ despite ban
Jan 21, 09 4:51pm

The Home Ministry will investigate claims that ‘The Herald – The Catholic Weekly’
MCPX
was still using the word ‘Allah’ despite the government’s decision prohibiting the publication from doing so.

Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the decision to disallow the weekly from using the word ‘Allah’ was a government’s decision and not that of the ministry.
 
"The case is not yet disposed of by the court. They should have waited for the court’s decision and not think as if they have all the rights and others don’t.
 
"We have been tolerant towards other religions; If we decide to ban the publication, they will get angry and accuse us of stifling freedom," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Sensitive matter

In May, the High Court granted leave to the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to apply for a judicial review against the Home Ministry’s decision to prohibit the weekly from using the world "Allah".

"Religious issues are a sensitive matter. That is why I refrain from debating the issue but if a religion decides to show its strength and numerous other actions, I think it is verging on dangerous territories.

"To me, it is better that we resolve this in a non-confrontational manner," he said.

On a blog found to be insulting Prophet Muhammad, Syed Hamid said, investigation papers had been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chamber for further action.

Yesterday, Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said this week’s edition uses the banned word and that he intends to continue doing so until the courts rule on the issue next month.

"We find this restriction on the use of ‘Allah’ unacceptable when we have been using it as a translation for ‘God’ for centuries in Malaysia," he told AFP.

Herald, circulated among the country’s 850,000 Catholics, nearly lost its publishing licence last year for using the disputed word.

—————–

2.  the letter:

‘Allah’ ban: We Muslims not easily ‘confused’
Abdul Rahman
Jan 23, 09 5:10pm

I refer to the Malaysiakini report

Ministry to probe Herald’s use of ‘Allah’ despite ban.

As a Muslim, I find it quite incomprehensible why the home ministry or government – as exemplified by our Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar – keeps talking about banning the use of the word ‘Allah’ by people of other faiths. If I’m not wrong, besides the Catholics, the Sikhs also have laid claim in that they use this word in the context of God.

And I’ve also seen it being used by people of other religions when I was in Indonesia or in the Middle East. No Muslims there make any fuss over it. Why in Malaysia does the government makes such an issue over it?

If it is true that this word has been used by people of other faiths and that it was used even in the pre-Islamic era, then what is the fuss of it being used to describe God?

Also if it is true that the terms ‘Allah’ has been used by other faiths for centuries in Malaysia, why is this ban being enforced only now but not in the past? Could some learned Islamic scholars verify these facts ?

—————–

3.  Leave Allah alone for Christ’s sake, appeals Dompok
Joe Fernandez
Jan 24, 09 1:13pm

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Bernard Dompok, who isn’t known for mincing his words, opines that the Herald has the right to use the word Allah in its Malay pages until the court rules otherwise.

The Herald is a Roman Catholic weekly with a circulation of 14,000 and publishes in Malay, English, Tamil and Chinese. About half the country’s estimated two million Christians, largely in Sabah and Sarawak, are Roman Catholics.

It is not for the Home Ministry to pre-empt the decision of the court,” said Dompok, also the president of the United Pasok Momogun KadazanDusunMurut Organisation (Upko), in Kota Kinabalu on a return visit for Chinese New Year. “I understand from the lawyers that the Herald should be allowed to publish as they published before, until the outcome in the court.”

Dompok was commenting on Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar’s warning in recent days that the Herald’s “(continued) show of defiance (against the Home Minister) could cause conflict and anger among other races in the country”. “If anything happens, then don’t put the blame on us,” continued Syed Hamid who has since “referred the matter to the ministry’s legal unit”.

“If we decide to ban the publication, they will get angry and accuse us of stifling freedom. If a religion decides to show its strength and numerous other actions, I think it’s verging on dangerous territory.”

Wisdom prevailed then

Muslim groups and PAS, the Islamic party, have so far remained silent on the matter. In Islam, according to some scholars, no one should be forbidden from using the word Allah, the chief of all the deities in pre-Islamic times until Prophet Muhammad re-affirmed that there was only Allah and, in the oneness of God, no other deity should be worshipped.

“This matter (Allah) could have come up during the time of Dr Mahathir (former prime minister) but it didn’t because wisdom prevailed,” added Dompok and suggested that Home Ministry officials were out of control despite their political masters having established “clear and correct guidelines in line with known precedents in Malaysia and elsewhere”.

If the question of “confusion among Muslims” is a problem, pointed out Dompok, the Herald is sold only at Roman Catholic churches and has also complied with the Home Ministry’s requirement that every copy of the newspaper be stamped with the Malay word Terhad” (limited edition or restricted). 

Dompok deplored “the Home Ministry’s use of strong language against the Herald and its continued harassment of the newspaper” which he described as “needless and only creating further controversy” and asked the ministry’s officials to cease and desist on the matter. 

It was only after the recent Cabinet meeting, during which I brought up the matter, was the Herald given back the right to publish in Malay,” clarified Dompok on the Home Ministry’s initial condition, when renewing the weekly’s publishing permit for this year, that it must not publish in Malay until and unless the court rules on the use of the word Allah in Malay by Christians. “Lately, the Home Ministry has been harassing the Herald to such an extent that they had no choice but to go court on the matter and now we are awaiting the hearing.”

“The Home Ministry need not get worked up over this matter or become kelam kabut (disoriented and confused).”

Revisiting familiar territory, Dompok reiterated that the issue before the court is the historical use of the word Allah for God not only among Christians in the country but also among Christians in Indonesia and Arabic-speaking countries, among others.

Other factors in support of the continued use of the word Allah, as cited, include the question of “whose language is Malay”, the status of Malay as the national language, the historical use of language by the people in Borneo, the Rukun Negara (National Philosophy), the letter and spirit behind certain relevant provisions in the Federal Constitution, the rule of law against the arbitrary dictates of the Home Minister, human rights and the democratization of government.

“I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that some people in this country want to even disallow worship in Malay by religions other than Islam,” cried Dompok. “How can that be? Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) does not belong to the Malays – an umbrella term in Malaysia for various ethnic groups – alone. This is the language of all Malaysians. It’s your language and my language.”

“So, I feel if there is continued objection to us using the Malay language in worship, then perhaps it’s time for us to look for a new national language so that there would not be ‘confusion’ among Malaysians.”

Malay is the country’s national language, is the main medium of instruction, has a place in the Federal Constitution and is the lingua franca among the great majority of the Christian population as well.

Confused and weakened?

The Malay word Tuhan was used for God until the coming of Islam to Southeast Asia from India about 500 years ago when Allah crept into popular usage but even now is used interchangeably with Tuhan. Apparently, the Home Ministry has no problems with Christians using the word Tuhan for God when using the Malay language but this suggestion has been rejected outright by the faithful who want to defend their right to use the national language unhindered.

In Brunei, the Sultan is still referred to by one of his titles as Seri Begawan (Begawan being the Hindu term for God) and this is also reflected in the name of the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, formerly Brunei Town.

The Home Ministry ostensibly fears that since the al-Quran is almost wholly a re-affirmation of the Old Testament and the Bible, Muslims may “become confused and weakened in their faith” if Christians use the word Allah for God when praying, preaching, writing or speaking in the Malay language even if among themselves. Christian and other non-Muslim groups charge that “not enough credit is being to the Malays for their intelligence”. 

Malays, as defined by the Federal Constitution, are not allowed by law to profess any other religion, besides Islam. Malays must also not be seen as “going against Islam”, and this factor alone has often sorely tested the faith of practicing Muslim members of the Judiciary in the past on matters involving faith and sowed widespread public dissatisfaction over court rulings especially on matters that brought the syariah (path of God or Islamic law) into conflict with civil law, secularism and the Federal Constitution.

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ok this is a long post. to made it even longer, i gotta end off with these. oh yeah, all my post on this issue, will end with these (i had these up once before).

From The Catholic Encyclopedia:
The notion of Allah in Arabic theology is substantially the same as that of God among the Jews, and also among the Christians, with the exception of the Trinity, which is positively excluded in the Koran,

From Godallah:
The word "Allah" is the perfect description of the "One God" of monotheism for Jews, Christians and Muslims!
Is "Allah" only for Islam and Muslims?
[No! It is for All Three Abrahamic Faiths.]
"Allah" is the same word used by Christian Arabs and Jewish Arabs in their Bible, centuries before Islam came.


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