Category Archives: Allah

Police report on Muslim men spying in Malaysia Catholic churches

Let me just reproduce the press statement by two persons recently (on 8 July):

Al-Islam Police Report

We are deeply concerned that two Muslim men acting on false information that the Catholic Church was converting Muslims into Christians had recently entered a Catholic Church service for the purpose of gathering information as to whether this was occurring.

They were also investigating whether the word ‘Allah’ was being used in church services. These men participated in the church service and even took part in the rituals that are strictly for Catholics and in doing so violated the sanctity of what Catholics hold very sacred.

These men later wrote about their experience in an article entitled “Tinjaun Al Islam Dalam Gereja:Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad” which was published in the May 2009 issue or the Al Islam magazine.

Al-Islam May09

The men had consumed the ‘communion’ which is a white wafer which is blessed by the Priest in a Catholic ritual that dates back 2000 years. Via this ritual the ‘white wafer’ is supernaturally transformed into what Catholics believe to be Jesus Christ and when consumed allows Catholics to experience life after death. The ‘communion’ is held with great reverence and cannot in any way be mishandled or with a lack of respect. Even Catholics are not allowed to take home the ‘communion’ but are instructed to consume it immediately during the service. Catholics go through an elaborate process of preparing themselves to receive this ‘communion’ worthily and those who have not done so are advised to refrain from receiving it.

As such we are outraged that these Muslim men consumed it only to spit it out later, have it photographed and have its image published in the Al-Islam magazine. The total disrespect shown to what Catholics hold in closest to their hearts and believe to be most Holy strikes deep into our hearts and invokes much anger. While we are resolved not to allow anger to guide our actions and instead pray that these ignorant will be forgiven by the Allah, we want to know what has become of this most holy ‘communion’ and demand its immediate return to the church authorities.

We are further outraged that these Muslim men have violated our sense of privacy to freely worship. Would these men tolerate non-Muslims entering the mosque and violating the sanctity and holiness of their worship? We believe that all places of worship and the form of worship practiced in these places must be respected with the greatest sensitivity and reverence be they the church, mosque, temple or gurdwaras. Entering these premises with the intention to spy and worse to violate the sanctity of the worship only serves to incite anger and hatred that could lead to potentially dangerous consequences that would tear this country apart.

Al-islam May09 (2)

As such, as concerned Catholics, we have made a police report at the Patani Road Police station on 8th July 2009 and thereafter held a press conference at the same place. We requested that the police investigate this matter with great urgency and bring to books those responsible for acting to incite hate and resentment among the Catholic Community. We also call on the police to investigate both the Al-Islam magazine and the writers of the article.

Joachim Francis Xavier & Sudhagaran Stanley

Penang

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“Non-Muslims have no locus standi”

By Deborah Loh, The Nut Graph

The non-Muslim family members of Mohan Singh a/l Janot Singh cannot be a party to the dispute over his body as the core issue of his religious status at the time of death can only be determined by the Syariah Court, the High Court here heard.

Lawyer for the Selangor Islamic Council (Mais), Hanif Khatri Abdullah, said only “in the event” that the Syariah Court determines Mohan as non-Muslim at death, would his family members have lawful claim over his body.

“The argument of the applicants that they cannot be made a party in the Syariah Court is a non-starter … the applicants do not have locus to be a lawful party on this issue,” Hanif said in his submissions to the court which began hearing arguments on jurisdiction on Friday, 19 June. The court will also continue hearing submissions tomorrow.

Hanif’s submission was adopted in total by the federal government and the Selangor government which are also respondents in the judicial review filed by Mohan’s family, who are all Sikh.

The federal government is represented by senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan and the Selangor government by deputy state legal adviser Md Azhari Abu Hanit.

Mohan’s body is still being held at the Sungai Buloh Hospital mortuary. His family has filed for a judicial review on the hospital’s refusal to release his body to them for burial. The case is being heard by judge Rosnaini Saub.

Besides Mais, and the federal and Selangor governments, Mohan’s family have also named as respondents, the Health Ministry director-general, the Sungai Buloh Hospital director-general, and the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

Film director Mohan, who died of a heart attack on 25 May, had allegedly converted to Islam on 11 Aug 1992.

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Church not allowed to use ‘Allah’ till court’s July 7 decision

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — The Catholic Church failed in its bid to get permission to use the word “Allah” while its suit to overturn the government ban is still being heard in the High Court.

Fr Lawrence may28

Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew

The High Court here said the Catholic Church must wait until it decides conclusively on whether it is allowed to use “Allah” to refer to the Christian God.

“This means don’t use ‘Allah’ until the court decides,” said church lawyer S. Selvarajah.

Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew who edits the Catholic newspaper, The Herald, visibly drooped when he heard the news.

The editor-priest had seemed in high spirits earlier and was confident the High Court would allow the church to use the word “Allah” for the time being. He had smiled frequently while speaking with reporters earlier.

Judge Lau Bee Lan set July 7 for the next hearing after dismissing the church’s request to stay the government ban, lawyers for both the church and the state told reporters this afternoon.

The arguments were carried out in the judge’s chambers instead of in open court.

If the High Court allowed the church to use “Allah” in a non-Muslim context, it would be helping the church commit an offence under state laws, a lawyer for the government explained to The Malaysian Insider.

According to a lawyer representing several state Islamic religious councils, it is an offence for non-Muslims to use the word “Allah” to refer to any God other than the Muslim God.

Abdul Rahim Sinwan referred to the Control and Restriction of the Propagation of non-Islamic Religious Enactment that was passed into law by 10 states in 1988.

The states are: Selangor, Malacca, Perak, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Perlis.

The Catholic Church is suing the Home minister to overturn the Home minister’s ban.

The lawsuit stems from the government’s assertion that “Allah” should strictly refer to the Muslim God in Malaysia. This is a view that the Catholic Church has been challenging.

The word “Allah”, the church argues, does not belong only to the Muslims.

The Herald is published in four languages, including the national language Bahasa Malaysia (BM), which caters to the indigenous Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak, who are mostly Christians.

Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam filed the suit on February 16 to get a declaration from the courts that the church has the right to use the word in print and in church services.

The Home ministry, which issues the annual printing permit for all publications, had warned the church to stop using the word.

Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who headed the ministry then, claimed the church’s use of the word “Allah” in any literature published in BM would confuse Muslims, who make up the biggest religious group in the country.

This is the second consecutive year in which Archbishop Murphy Pakiam is suing the Home minister to settle the dispute over the use of the word “Allah”.

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Challenge to Allah ban allowed

(Reuters) – A MALAYSIAN court granted permission to a Christian to challenge the authorities for seizing religious material that used the word ‘Allah”, national news agency Bernama reported on Monday.

The decision represents a minor victory for Christians in this mainly Muslim country who have challenged a ban imposed by the Home Ministry against the use of the Arabic word to describe God by all except for Muslims.

The government has said the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims might confuse Muslims or offend their sensitivities. New Prime Minister Najib Razak has had to balance promises of greater freedoms against the feelings of the majority Muslim population, some of whom feel their rights are being infringed.

Islam is the official religion in this Southeast Asian country, where Muslims make up about 65 per cent of the 27 million population.

Last month when the government said that it would not allow forced conversions of children, a number of Muslim organisations were opposed to the move, saying it was unfair to the Muslim parent.

Christianity is practised by 9.1 per cent of the Malaysian population, many of them either ethnic Chinese or from Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo Island, according to government data.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday allowed Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill permission to seek an order directing the Home Ministry to return eight CDs seized from her last May, as well as a declaration that she had the right to use materials with the word ‘Allah’ to describe God.

Home Ministry officials seized the CDs from the 27-year-old clerk after she disembarked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The CDs, containing Christian teaching materials, were brought in from Indonesia, where the national language shares much in common with Malay and where ‘Allah’ is routinely used by Christians to describe God.

The confiscated CDs bore titles including, ‘The way to use the keys to the kingdom of Allah”, and, ‘True worship in the kingdom of Allah’.

Jill, a native of the mainly Christian state of Sarawak in Borneo island, claimed she used the word ‘Allah’ in her prayers, worship and religious education. The case is the second legal challenge against the ban.

Insha Allah, The ban will be lifted as Catholic have their locus standi.

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Malaysia Catholics oppose non-‘Allah’ Bible

bibleKUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — A Malay-language Bible that does not use the word “Allah” has caused controversy among Malaysian Catholics, as the church here fights a court case to guarantee its right to use the word. The Catholic Herald newspaper, in its Sunday edition, criticised the release this week at an international bookfair of the new Bible, which uses the Hebrew word “Elohim” instead of “Allah” for God. “The Catholic bible that the church uses has the word ‘Allah’ for God whereas in comparison, this one does not,” the paper’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew told AFP. “The new Malay bible weakens the argument for using the word Allah because some groups are trying to substitute God with a foreign name, whereas Allah is the Malay word for God and has been the accepted translation for centuries,” he said. “The publishers have copied substantially from the Indonesian bible which was approved by the Indonesian Bible Society and the Catholic Church but this new version has not been approved by the society or the church in Indonesia or here.” The publishers of the bible could not be reached for comment. The Catholic Church has taken legal action against the government after it was ordered not to use the disputed word under threat of having its paper’s publishing permit revoked. Malaysian authorities argue the word should be used only by Muslims, who form the bulk of the country’s multicultural population. ctl1Andrew said Malaysian Christians have been using the word “Allah” for centuries in translations of the Bible, and in popular prayers. The opposition has also called for the ban to be revoked. “The term ‘Allah’ has been used in Indonesia and the Middle East by Christians without prosecution or controversy, despite both being overwhelmingly Muslim-majority regions,” opposition lawmaker Tony Pua said. “It has been proven beyond doubt that it is not a term specifically monopolised only by Muslims,” he said in a statement Saturday. A court is expected to decide on May 28 whether the Church has the right to use the word. Around 60 percent of Malaysia’s 27 million people are Muslim Malays. The rest includes indigenous tribes, as well as ethnic Chinese and Indians, variously practising Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism, among others.

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A response to Prof Dzulkifli by Fr Martin Harun on ‘Allah’

heraldInconsistent, insensitive translations of ‘Allah’?By: Dzulkifli Abdul Razak (Wed, 11 Mar 2009)
Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak in his article in The Sun on Mar 11, wrote about the Christian Bible and its translation in Bahasa Indonesia (Alkitab). Unfortunately he manifested not only his lack of understanding in the specified field of bible translation but also an inadequate knowledge of basic Christian concepts. Hence we have asked Fr Martin Harun, OFM, a biblical scholar, to respond to his article. Fr Martin is a member of the Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia. Please note that we have not altered the original article of Prof Dzulkifli. The response of Fr Martin is in bold beneath those statements that are inaccurate or which do not measure up to good scholarship.

 

Prof Dzulfikli Abdul Razak: The use of the term ‘Allah’ has captured the attention of the media again. Of late, even a newspaper from down south carried a commentary on the issue. The slant is usually political, and not religious, and does not throw any new light on the issue. It also does not appeal to the intellect; instead, it seems to border more on emotions that further confuse the issue.

[We disagree with the above sentence. In our response to what follows we challenge the subjective views of the author. Our statements are based on historical facts and intellectual objectivity. (Editor’s Note)]

To all Muslims the term ‘Allah’ is laden with the concept of Tauhid — that ‘Allah’ is “the One and Only” as defined in the Quranic language, which happens to be Arabic. ‘Allah’ cannot be understood without this concept of his oneness. Any attempt to do so will amount to a vulgarism of sort, and an affront to Muslims.

Fr Martin Harun: All Christians in the Arabic world and Indonesia and Malaysia who use the word ‘Allah’ for God, confess ‘Allah’ yang Esa. Christian Trinitarian belief is monotheistic, although not in the same sense as Muslim monotheistic belief. Each religion has of course its own specific definitions, as has been acknowledged by Muslims and Christians from the very beginning.

Prof Dzulkifli: Moving forward, let us briefly try and understand the reasons for Muslim misgivings by using the Bahasa Indonesia version which is translated from the English New King James Version and authorised by Konperensi Waligerja Indonesia (Edition, 2004). Let us randomly take The Gospel according to Luke, translated as Injil Lukas, to briefly illustrate the point.

Fr Harun: Alkitab Terjemahan Baru and Alkitab Bahasa Indonesia Sehari-hari both are translated not from any other modern language like English but from the original Hebrew and Greek text. When translating Elohim and Theos with ‘Allah,’ the translations follow an already long established translation tradition. Since the seventeenth century bible translations in Malay have used the word ‘Allah’ as the best word available in the Malay language to express the monotheistic concept of Elohim and Theos.

Prof Dzulkifli: In Luke, ‘God’ is generally substituted by ‘Allah’, whereas ‘Tuhan’ is commonly used to substitute ‘the Lord”. Note the article ‘the’ applies to ‘Tuhan,’ but not to ‘Allah’. Hence, where there is ‘the Lord God’ in the English version, it becomes ‘Tuhan Allah’. ‘The Lord their God’ becomes ‘Tuhan, Allah mereka’. Note the use of a comma!

Fr Harun: Alkitab is not translated from English, but from Hebrew and Greek. ‘Allah’ is not chosen as an Arabic word, but as an already Malay/Indonesian word that best expresses the meaning of Elohim and Theos in the biblical texts, and Tuhan best expresses the meaning of Adonai / Kurios in the biblical language. So every comparison with English and also Arabic is irrelevant and highly confusing.

Prof Dzulkifli: On some occasions though, ‘God’ is also translated as ‘Tuhan’, though ‘God’ in this example does not carry the article ‘the’ as in ‘the Lord’. So does it mean there is a time when ‘God’ is not ‘Allah’? Or that ‘Tuhan’ is ‘Allah’ after all?

Fr Harun: This happens only in the Old Testament, more often in the book of Ezekiel when the Hebrew text says Adonai YHWH (pronounced Adonai Adonai, harfiah Tuhan Tuhan). In many bible translations in many languages, starting from the Latin Vulgate this repetition has been avoided by translating ‘Tuhan Allah’, ‘Dominus Deus’, ‘Lord God’, ‘Herr Gott’, ‘Seigneur Dieu’. The Indonesian Alkitab Terjemahan Baru follows this old use, but could also opt for a different way, e.g. ‘TUHAN Yang Mahatinggi’ (BIS), ‘like Sovereign LORD’ (NIV).

Prof Dzulkifli: Yet, on other occasions, ‘Allah’ is used as substitute for ‘the LESUS.’ But then, ‘the LESUS your God’ is rendered as ‘Tuhan, Allahmu’ — note again the comma!.

Fr Harun: There is no word as ‘the LESUS.’ Prof Dzulkifli may have meant ‘the Christ’ meaning ‘the Lord.’ The word ‘Allah/Theos’ is never used for Jesus in his earthly existence, but some times in liturgical contexts for either the preexistent Logos, Word (John 1:1) or the Christ (John 20:28) as Thomas said to the risen Jesus, “My Lord, My God”, ‘Tuhanku, Allahku’, so always in celebrating his unity with the One God.

Prof Dzulkifli: Just from these few random examples, one can already sense the complexity and confusion in the use of ‘Allah’ in the translated version. To make matters even more confusing, the biblical name ‘Mary’ is rendered as ‘Maria’ — when the Quranic equivalent would have been ‘Maryam’; And ‘John’ as ‘Yohanes’ instead of ‘Yahaya.’ Or for that matter ‘Gabriel’ is not even translated but kept as it is. The Quranic ‘Jibrail’ as an equivalent is not even considered! How about ‘Jesus’ himself? Why is this rendered as ‘Yesus’, rather than ‘Isa’? In the Quran both are the sons of Mary or Maryam.

Fr Harun: Names are a different question. They are not translated, but can be transliterated from the original language in different ways according to the use of the receiving language group. The confusion is 100 per cent created by Prof Dzulkifli himself who keeps on forgetting the Bible is not translated via English or Arabic, but from Hebrew and Greek direct into Malay/Indonesian language. Not knowing Hebrew and Greek Prof Dzulkifli should not judge any translation from those languages, as I myself not knowing Arabic would not dare to judge any Indonesian translation from Arabic.

Prof Dzulkifli: If the worry is that the use of the word ‘Isa’ in the Quran is limited only to him being the son of man and not of ‘Allah’; unlike what is understood for the biblical ‘Jesus’ — then should not the same consideration and sensitivity for Muslim feeling be shown when ‘Allah’ is used in the translation, without any concern for the Quranic Tauhidic concept. This inconsistency, indifference and arrogance is rather obvious when it comes to the biblical ‘the Son of God’ and the use of ‘Anak Allah’ as an equivalent in the translation — something which is conceptually outright not acceptable to Muslims. In fact, it tantamounts to the denial of the concept of ‘Allah’ as explained in the Quran, Surah Al- Ikhlas 112: 3 that “He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none co-equal or comparable to Him”.

Fr Martin: In any language the same common word for God is filled with different concepts, since the users of this same language have different religious convictions. These differences are to be respected, without anyone claiming monopoly to the common language. The more so in this case, since the use of the word ‘Allah’ in early Christian circles precedes its use in the Quran.

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‘Allah’ Words: Jeffrey urges Najib to step in

drjeffrey1Kota Kinabalu: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Vice-President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan on Saturday appealed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to immediately revoke the fatwa (decree) on the use of 32 words by non Muslims in Sabah. He said this is so that Malaysians here can practise their religion freely without any fear of interference as provided for under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. “I think this is the time for the new Prime Minister to show what he meant by the ‘One Malaysia’ concept in his maiden speech on FridayÉI think there is need for this matter to be brought to his attention,” said Jeffrey at a press conference, Saturday. Jeffrey said it came as a surprise to him that the State Mufti had on June 1, 2003, already gazetted the prohibition on 32 terms through the Warta Kerajaan Negeri Sabah dated Dec. 11, 2003. “We are not here to create controversy but to find a solution and nobody can give a better solution than the new Prime Minister. “He (Najib) could withdraw the ban on the opposition newspapers and there is no reason he cannot withdraw this prohibition on the use of words.” According to the Warta Kerajaan Negeri Sabah a Fatwa was gazetted by the State Mufti under Section 35 of the 1992 Islamic Law Administration Enactment. It prohibits the use of the 32 words in religious propagation other than Islam and also their use in any form of media by non Muslims. The prohibited terms include Allah, Wahyu, Iman, Nabi, Injil, Ulama, Hadith, Kaabah, Syariah, Kiblat, Mufti, Dakwah, Fatwa, Nabi, Zakat, Surau, Fitrah and Quran, among others. “Fatwa is only meant for Muslims and yet the prohibition is on non-Muslims, said Jeffrey, adding there is need for clarification on this matter. “If they can issue fatwa concerning other religions at any time, to me that means you are interfering with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which allows the freedom of religion.

najibsmile1“The effect of this is many churches cannot function as some of the churches use the terms that have been prohibited. “So since we have a new Prime Minister whose intention is to bring Malaysia to a higher level of government, unity, peace and progress, we would like to appeal to him that this fatwa be withdrawn immediately.” Jeffrey also questioned why the matter was passed without any knowledge or discussion or debate in the State Assembly before it was gazetted. “I want to question the non-Muslim State Assemblymen as to why they did not raise this matter in the Assembly. How come it went through without any discussion. There was nothing in the newspapers,” he said.

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