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The Malaysian ‘Allah’ verdict cuts deeper than what is being argued

Since the eve of a universally revered observation of the Hari Raya Haji – in commemoration of Abraham’s test of faith and fidelity and in whose ancestry is also rooted several traditions that are also shared by the Abrahamic religions, Malaysia has been drowned in heated debates, arguments, flow of emotions and of course a media spotlights globally.

This 'Allah' verdict is certainly storm in a tea cup. It has blown a deep gorge between west and east Malaysia apart from setting a dangerous precedent in the world of tomorrow.

Shock, suspicion, disappointment and anger on the one hand mixed with sense of jubilation and vindication on the other are indeed potent concoctions that can split, divide and pit man against man.

In a world where spiritual leaders and learned theologians are working relentlessly to bridge humanity across religious borders, we have now witnessed politics and justice concocting a potent poison that will only suffocate and strangulate the very global efforts for peace, tolerance, acceptance and co-existence.

Will the world community sit and watch the unfolding events or will responsible governments and leaders initiate the administration of quick-thinking remedies to arrest such potential cancers from spreading and destroying human civilization is yet to be seen.

In the meantime, in Malaysia, for some the battle is not lost; for others this may be the end of the road.

On the one hand Christians are comforted by that hope that they have the Federal and Apex court room avenues to further their cause. And on the other side the Muslims who are in alignment with the Appeal courtroom’s verdict are demanding that all should accept the verdict and move on or face ugly backlashes.

The government’s indication through its tentacles of power that this verdict only applies to the Herald publication and its use of the word ‘Allah’ and that East Malaysians are free to use ‘Allah’ in their worship and propagation of faith now adds deeper undercurrents to the already frayed and hurt feelings of Christians and right-thinking Muslims alike.

It appears that this entire politically motivated court room exercise has unleashed more problems than provide solutions that enable co-existence built on the universally undisputed frameworks of freedom, liberty, honor and rights to existence.

It brings to the fore several issues that can go seriously wrong not only for Malaysia but even set dangerous precedents in the region that is already embroiled in religious extremism. It in fact could very well prove to go against the very grain of global initiatives in a time and season where human civilization is experiencing precarious challenges.

When you ban Christians on mainland Malaysia from using the ‘Allah’ word but state that Sabah and Sarawak is spared of this verdict, it raises soul searching questions. 

In the first place how would East Malaysians living and working on mainland Malaysia then pray, worship and propagate their faith?

If the Herald which serves Catholics in both mainland and East Malaysia cannot use the ‘Allah’ word for its followers, then does it not mean that the Catholic Church will need to have two different sets of publishing licenses – one for Peninsular Catholics and another for East Malaysian Catholics?

Likewise when an East Malaysian Catholic comes to peninsular Malaysia to pray and talk about his faith, he or she must switch off the ‘Allah’ word and call his or her God by other ‘approved’ names.

There are many more rationale considerations as well as deep seated theological fundamentals along this line of thought but suffice for now to state that the Malaysian government leadership under Datuk Seri Najib’s stewardship and the influential right-wing UMNO power brokers has not only shot itself in the foot and mouth but with its seemingly plausible affront has instead invited the world’s ridicule including from the Muslim nations around the globe.

Yes it is rather too late in the day for efforts to retract. Any amount of APCO-brand public relations spending is not going to remove the leaf of distatse from the annals of human civilization.

Malaysia’s affront on the sanctity of religion and religious beliefs and its failure in the sacrosanct duty to bridge humanity in the name of God or Allah or Yahweh or in any of the name-forms known to civilization, has entered the history books of the world.

What the UMNO-fired-up politicians have offered the world is a classic politico socio religious case study of how a government failed to ride on the global initiatives although it had been making clarion calls for ‘Think Global, Act Local’.

How Najib will face the Papal leader again is a good guess. How he will measure up in the eyes of the USA whose State Secretary just weeks before appraised that Najib was the man behind a ‘moderate’ State and served as an example to the rest of Asia is also an amusing speculation.

How the nation will be treated by other Muslim governments that continue to work hard at moderation, peace and co-existence as they protect the freedom, rights and honor of religions and their followers will be hard to bury in this age of the internet.

This is a badly hatched war game that UMNO must remember will also be the cause for its own demise. For we must know, no human has ever succeeded in deciding on and fighting over God’s Plan for all of humanity. 

No one government throughout the ages has conquered the Creator Almighty’s domain of freedom, rights and honor granted to humanity.

In summary, the question that respectful Muslims in Malaysia need to ask is have they allowed their political party representation and leaders to drown the beauty of Islam that is celebrated and embraced the world over and recognized and respected even by non-Muslim?

J. D. Lovrenciear
Kuala Lumpur

1 comment:

  1. We can adapt in any situation even under prosecution and make it as an advantage for future generation..imagine if our malay bible banned even burned..we still can get english bible thus mandatoriZe english literacy among christian in the end who get this benefit?you knew it allready...god always act in misterious way...


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