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“Allah” issue: The battle over Bahasa

WHAT’s in a name, especially the name of God?

The debate in Malaysia over the word “Allah” in Malay-language Christian texts is a current case in point. No matter what changes occur after the next general election, the issue looks likely to continue bubbling over thanks to politicians who barter religious opinions for partisan gain.

Indeed, the “Allah” issue is likely to spark partisan jockeying and deep division until we build consensus on a fundamental question. Is our national language of Bahasa Melayu — or is it Bahasa Malaysia? — the language of all Malaysians or does it just belong to those who profess Islam and practice Malay customs?

(© Hwa Yue-Yi)

The Bible, in Arabic, English and Malay (© Hwa Yue-Yi)

To translate or not to translate

Lim’s Christmas message sparked off a new round of contestation over “Allah”

I am not dismissing the theological, historical and legal complexities surrounding the “Allah” issue. But I believe the complexities of our linguistic identity are just as salient. Moreover, they may offer a broader basis for dialogue than some of the polarising statements of the last few weeks such as DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s Christmas message or the recent decision of PAS’s syura council.

If we want to resolve the “Allah” debate, we need to discuss the role of language, particularly, BM in Malaysia. Why? Because Muslims and Christians have highly divergent views about scripture and translation that may not create a platform for common ideals and a resolution.

These divergent views are apparent. In Islam, for example, the Qur’an is the culmination of all divinely revealed scriptures. Its perfection encompasses the richly literary Arabic in which it was revealed, such that even the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) Quraish dialect is preserved in the diacritics that indicate Qur’anic vowel pronunciation. The fact that Allah revealed the Qur’an in Arabic is emphasised in verses such as Sura Yusuf, aya 2; Sura Ash-Shu’ara, ayaat 192-195; and Sura Ash-Shuraa, aya 7.

Conversely, numerous passages in the Christian Bible indicate an imperative to translate God’s truth into all languages. Among these passages are the commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” in the gospel of Matthew; the miraculously multilingual Galileans at Pentecost in the book of Acts; and the vision of a kingdom from “every tribe and language and people and nation” in Revelation. The original text of the Bible itself was rendered in three different languages: Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.

For Christians, “the word of God” refers both to the revelation of God’s truth in human languages, and to the “translation” of Jesus Christ from God to man. And as God-come-down-as-man, Jesus spoke a dialect of Aramaic closely related to Arabic. For Muslims, “kalimah Allah” refers solely to the unique, indivisible Deity.

Small wonder then that some Muslims misunderstand why Christians translate the Bible into different languages, and some Christians misunderstand why Muslims value “Allah” above other translations of “God”.

Mutual understanding softens conflict. But the theological divergence remains, and it does not answer the practical question of whether Malay translations of the Bible should be allowed to call God “Allah”.

Legal arguments, historical arguments

Many commentators argue for or against the Christian usage of “Allah” in BM on legal or historical grounds. Justice Lau Bee Lan’s 2009 High Court judgement allowing the Herald – The Catholic Weekly to use “Allah” in its BM section is a masterful legal argument in this debate.

From the historical perspective, Kairos Research Centre research director Dr Ng Kam Weng makes a cogent case both from the etymology of the word “Allah”, and from traditional Christian practice in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Mahathir

Mahathir

Nevertheless, arguments based on freedom of religion and etymology have not been enough to end the “Allah” debate peacefully. Such legal and historical arguments have been put forth since the Herald controversy erupted in 2009. And they were probably presented in some form when the Barisan Nasional government, under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration, first banned the non-Muslim usage of “Allah” in the 1980s.

And in some ways, this debate is not about history. It is important and interesting to note the apparent lack of precedent for prohibiting other religious groups from using the term “Allah” in their worship – whether in early Islam or elsewhere in the world today. However, even if we could cite past cases of such prohibitions, this would not justify current attempts to ban non-Muslim BM usage of the word.

And even if the word “Allah” did not predate Islam, that could not legitimately deny the rich experiences of the many Malaysian Christians and Sikhs who have called God “Allah” for centuries, and still do so today.

This debate is also not essentially about the law. Laws change as apparent in the 1980s ban on “Allah” where before there was no such ban. But laws must draw their authority from shared principles if they are to be legitimate and accepted. Also, as the “Allah” issue has proved again and again, the letter of the law means little if the powers-that-be choose to ignore it.

Free to be us?

When someone makes a claim on someone else’s freedom, the onus is on the claimant to prove the legitimacy of their claim on common terms. In the public sphere, “Because I say so and because I’m the majority” is tyranny — whether that “I” is human, institutional or divine. Bald-faced tyranny is one thing. But tyranny masquerading as a multi-cultural democracy is quite another. I want a lot of things for Malaysia, and hypocrisy isn’t one of them.

In the “Allah” case, the onus should be on the government to prove the legitimacy of the ban on common terms – not terms purportedly drawn from the theological framework of a faith held by a portion of citizens, nor terms fabricated in a struggle for dominance.

Many non-Muslim Malaysians, and the Muslims who stand in solidarity with us, are waiting for explanations for lost rights. No such accounts are forthcoming. Instead, recent years have seen more losses: scriptures restricted; places of worship destroyed or raided; sacraments desecrated. And occasionally, we also see the implication that some religions are more equal than others. Or that we are a threat.

Perhaps the Malay-language translation of the Bible features regularly in this struggle for dominance because Islam is central to Malay identity in Malaysia. Hence, a challenge to certain interpretations of Islam in Malaysia can feel like a challenge to Malay-ness.

As much as Christianity may be fundamental to the different facets of my identity, my identity as a Malaysian is founded on a hope — the hope that accidents of history can bring together a rojak of people who struggle for each other’s benefit.

Only a naïve person would expect unanimous agreement on all aspects of national identity. But I choose to believe that most of us can work toward a general consensus on this question: when we say  “bahasa jiwa bangsa” — language is the soul of the nation — do we mean Bangsa Muslimin Melayu, or Bangsa Malaysia?


Hwa Yue-Yi studied BM for nine years and Arabic for three. She now studies political science and tries to read the Bible every day.

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203 Responses to ““Allah” issue: The battle over Bahasa”

  1. Faz says:

    Good article. if this site has a ‘thumbs up’button, I would give you two.

  2. ellese says:

    The problem is not so much the article but the spins of media both [mainstream media] and [alternative media][...] Why can’t both media publish views of different point of views for understanding? The Nut Graph is the same i.e. never publishing the views of the overwhelming majority [of] Muslims.

    The article is pleasant to read but misses a few points. One point in particular is deceiving i.e. the point [that] Muslims must justify why non Muslims can’t use the word Allah. Actually it’s the opposite. The BM has used Allah to refer to the Muslim god just like the English. Non Muslims should know to Muslims its a very dear term of engagement. It means so much to Muslims and recited and used so many times in a day. To Muslims Allah carries attributes stated in the Quran. No more no less. If one wants to change this dear term, please justify.

    Now to Christians the name of god is immaterial. It appears that its more of a translation issue. So this is a lame excuse. There must be more reasonable grounds to change the meaning of the term dear to all.

    PS. Please. If you can argue that Muslims should not wield keris to consider the feelings of non Muslims, I see no reason for you not being able to emphatise with Muslims on this. Nut Hraph must be fair. This is the problem of all our media. They can’t be objective to seek the truth.

    Ps2. Please don’t use arguments about 400 years of historical usage of Allah in Malaysia as it’s a lie. The writer did not use the argument so I won’t respond.

    • semuaok says:

      Please don’t use arguments about 400 years of historical usage of Allah in Malaysia as it’s a lie.

      ==

      Before you were born the Christians in Indonesia, Sabah and Sarawak were using the Malay version Bible. Now you are thinking that you are arguing here to save Malay Muslims from misunderstanding. Do you think so lowly of the Malay Muslims ?

      [...]

    • JW Tan says:

      Right, so if someone waves a sharp implement while uttering threats, it’s an equivalent, morally speaking, to a translation issue involving a single word? We seem to have lost all sense of proportion here.

      I do not believe that one can appropriate language for specific use, particularly from a legislative point of view. People will use words as they see fit. Anyone fighting such battles might as well be trying to hold the tide back.

      Besides, it smacks of thought crime. How I use words is reflective of how I think. Holding me criminally responsible for how I think is, in general, against the principle of freedom of speech and liberal democracy. Now there are certain exceptions to freedom of speech, like libel or threats, but saying that a particular usage of “Allah” is one of them is surely stretching it.

    • teabagthis2 says:

      That is true. To a Christian, the name of God is immaterial. Some call him Jesus, some God, some Almighty Father, some Allah. No one gives two cents about the way we call our God.

      The problem is not with the word Allah. The problem is you and people like you. You are the very root of the problem. You form an opinion that is not yours. You are in agreement with what people tell you. You are being manipulated. This issue was not an issue until Mahathir said it was an issue when he banned the use of the word Allah. You are just being herded. Like a cow.

      Lately, as in about three years ago when bibles containing the word Allah were confiscated and the incident made its way into the headlines, the whole Malay community went into a berserk-ed frenzy because they were led to believe that the word Allah was exclusive to Malays (yes I use the word Malays because Malays are the only one opposing the use of the word Allah. Muslims are well-behaved).

      But dear Sir, regardless of your opinion, it is utterly useless. Your opinion does not mean [anything] because the court has handed down a judgment which means everyone is entitled to use the word Allah. You have a problem with it, I suggest you pack your luggage and well, move to Saudi Arabia because this is Malaysia (a constitutionally democratic country). We have a constitution which everyone living in this beautiful country agrees to abide with.

      Good luck with your irrational opinion that non-Malays must give leeway to Malays and their agenda.

      • Abdullah says:

        Well, the orthodox scholars and saints of “Allah” and His Messenger do not approve of saudi-wahhabi dogma that ascribes to “Allah” contingent attributes such as places the Essence of God Most Sublime within the fold of the space-time continuum of His creation; He is One, Unique, Incomparable. Similar to the inconceivableness of “Sunyata” in the Buddhism: “the Unborn”, “the Great Void”, “the Source of all things” – including the lord Buddha who humbly referred to himself chiefly as “Tathagata” meaning “thus-come” (from this uniquely unknowable, yet most intimate Reality).

        Talking about the First Cause always leaves us wonderless, at a loss for expression. Not all Muslims may understand the profundity of the issue at hand, nevertheless this mystical non-rational, and sacred idea of “Allah” is what the stewards of the true faith are determined to preserve.

        Recall that not all Christians profess the trinitarian God: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. The Jewish Christians (Ebionites) and Nestorian Christians say that Jesus is not divine, but he is the lord Messiah of God Most Sublime – they are unitarians in belief close to the monotheism of muslims.

        Bahira the Monk who foretold the future prophethood of the 9-year old Muhammad in Damascus was Nestorian. Waraqah bin Naufal, the leader of the Jewish Christians (himself a convert from paganism)was the uncle of Khadijah, the Prophet’s beloved wife. Waraqah testified, when he was consulted about Muhammad’s strange encounter with Angel Gabriel in the cave of Hira that he had indeed received a revelation from “Allah Most Sublime”

        Anyway, these Ebionites and Nestorians were excommunicated on the basis of the trinitarian creed established by the Roman Catholic church in the 5th cent. AD; they were driven to the East to Iraq, Persia, India, as far as China . . .

        The proper name “Allah” constitutes the idea of our Creator and Sustainer which all humanity must encounter for themselves, meaningfully and existentially . . .

      • truemuslim says:

        I wonder, if there was a fight between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, would we hear the non-Muslim shouting “Allahuakbar” as the Muslim would? I wonder if the Bible in the United States will allow the word “Allah” to be used to refer to God? If the answer is “Yes” to both, than feel free to use it as you wish.

  3. kaytee says:

    I have posted more than once on this Allah issue at my blog. I am against the Church using the Allah word in its Malay bible (al Kitab). I base my opposition to the Church’s wish not on grounds of legality, etymology, history (in the development of the Indonesian language al Kitab), royal edicts [smile] or Malay-asserted ownership of the Allah word.

    But just a quick qualification about my ethnic-religious affiliations before I give my two reasons for opposing the Church’s demand – I am a Chinese atheist [smile again].

    Firstly, using the Allah word in a Malay (or Indonesian) language bible to refer to a Christian god will only increase the potential for proselytizing, bearing in mind Christianity is an evangelistic religion.

    It is indeed the combination of Christian evangelism, a Malay language Bible and the Allah word to refer to the Christian god that I fear will not be good for the stability of our society.

    Precisely for this reason (the dreaded combination just mentioned) the Malay-Muslims do not and will not object to the Allah word in Sikhism’s Holy Books, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Dasam Granth, both of which are not in the Malay language nor is Sikhism an evangelistic religion.

    Secondly, on the Church and its supporters’ argument that in some instances, the word Tuhan does not convey the required meaning in a biblical passage, or may even cause confusion in the repetition of the Tuhan word as in “I am the LORD their God …”.

    The Church’s Bible belongs to what we term the Judeo-Christian religion rather than Islam. There is no Allah word in either the Tanakh (Jewish bible) or the New Testament, but instead a generous variety of god’s names such as Elohim, Yahweh (YVWH), its modern derivation Jehovah, El-Olam, El-Elyon, El Shaddai, etc for use in the al Kitab besides the Tuhan word, as in “Akulah Yahweh, Tuhan mereka …”.

    The Church’s demand for use of the Allah word on the second point is not just indefensible but lacks plausible justification.

    • idris says:

      Kaytee, with regard to your thoughts about proselytizing and christian evangelicals – you’re probably going to get replies along the lines of “One secure in his faith will not be easily swayed” and all that. Which is, of course, silly. Regardless of ‘faith’ and ‘intelligence’, anyone who is mentally/emotionally unstable (by this, I mean, for example, the bereaved, those who were rejected etc) can fall for the devious methods of proselytizers (of any sort) and con-[people]. But people often choose to ignore this. After all, better to mock and belittle others by saying – If you acknowledge that you or your people can be ‘turned’, then you acknowledge the weakness of your faith/intelligence. A devious method used to put down others, and often used by people like Ms Surin and others.

      Editor’s note: This column was written by Hwa Yue-Yi.

      • idris says:

        Not only was it not written by Ms Surin, but the author – Hwa Yue-Yi – did not mention proselytisation at all!

      • Marcus says:

        Actually, what’s wrong with proselytizing? Really. I mean what is it with proselytizing that makes it apparently as taboo as murder (or maybe more taboo)? I’m not being funny or difficult here. This is a genuine question because for the love of God/Allah I can’t actually comprehend how it is a bad thing. Am I missing something?

        Shouldn’t it be a religious free market? I mean, if a Christian is convinced in the truth of his religion, isn’t the natural conclusion of it that he would seek to spread it to others? Similarly, if a Muslim is utterly convinced of the superiority of Islam, isn’t it a corollary that he would want to convert others to the “truth”?

        Let there be proselytising by all religions to all peoples! Then let people make up their own minds!

        I mean, if the Muslim majority in Malaysia is afraid of people coverting out of Islam, then work harder to convert the non-Muslims lah.

        In fact, in a religious free market, Islam in Malaysia has all the advantages of a football team playing at home ground:

        1) It is the majority in terms of sheer numbers, 2) It has state/institutional support that no other religion here has, 3) Aside from Christianity, the other religions like Buddhism and Hinduism etc are not aggressively evangelisitc faiths, 4) Islam has a greater claim as the more “natural” faith as it is less of a foreign “imported” “white man’s” religion than Christianity is.

        So really, why the aversion to proselytizing?

    • neptunian says:

      Really? Why don’t we ask “Allah” to answer that question, instead of “[people]” claiming to represent “Allah” banning the use of his/her name or the “word”.

      Reminds me of the Harry Potter story regarding “he who must not be named”.

    • Adam says:

      (Part 1)
      Kaytee,

      I have read your numerous blog posts on the issue and I must commend you on your painstaking efforts in doing the necessary research to come up with your opinion. And I agree with you from the viewpoint of an atheist that it would be ideal for the Malay-speaking Christians to change the name of their God to one of the few you have suggested. The Muslims would of course agree with you, too.

      Yes, Christianity, like Islam is an evangelistic religion. But unlike days of old when the religion could be forced upon people literally by the sword, Christianity today practices complete freedom of belief while Islam [in Malaysia] still uses coercion and intimidation especially when one wants to leave the faith. Perhaps, as Islam comes about 600 years after Christianity, Islam is now going through the same renaissance Christianity has gone through in the 16th century. But Islam need not have to go through the dark periods of Church history. Islam could and should propel itself straight into the 21st century of knowledge, freedom and democracy.

      Coming back to the usage of the word by Malay-speaking Christians, I just wonder how a minority group of perhaps 5% could influence a majority group of 60%. On top of this, Christians and other religions are not supposed to proselytise to Muslims [in Malaysia] by law which, by today’s realities, is not tenable. In addition, you have Islamic programs all over the public media. The Christians would, on the contrary, be more easily proselytised to and influenced by the majority group.

      Now, coming back again to your proposal, it is not yet a solution until you implement it. How are you and the authorities going to push this through? Please bear in mind that any solution should not only be for social or political expediency. It must also be fair and just to all parties concerned. Let us run through the various options that we have.

    • Adam says:

      (Part 2)
      1. Ban the word like what the authorities have done. If we analyse this option, you will find that it will lead to many Catch-22 situations which could further lead to more confusion. If a complete ban is implemented on the written and spoken word, how are the non-Muslims going to sing the various state anthems? Perhaps, they could replace the word with Tuhan and when writing an essay on Islam, they could write Muslim God or Tuhan Islam?

      Then, you have to post signs at all airports and entry points that all Bibles with the word are not allowed into the country and would be confiscated. The word must also not be uttered during worship? Would the authorities also employ people to search through the internet and block all Christian websites with the word to prevent Muslims from reading and downloading them? I guess YouTube should be the first to be blocked.

      Now, comes the tricky part. How are you going to get the Malay-speaking Christians to dispose of their Alkitab and start using new ones without the word? Songs of worship have to be changed and re-recorded. That goes for videos and other materials, too. Christians who have been using the word all their life would have to adopt and adapt to the new term given. Would the Islamic authorities post their people outside of churches to hear if the word is spoken?

      Would church leaders explain to their members that a long, long time ago, the church purposely used the word to ensnare Muslims and convert them, and now that they have embraced Christianity, they could now drop the word and use the correct term? And the response from the members would most certainly be “you can go to hell, why you did not tell us that long, long time ago?”. We really need to have a very creative imagination bordering on the absurd to think like this. And have we also ever considered the feelings of these people who only want to worship their God in peace?

    • Adam says:

      (Part 3)
      2. Another option is not to ban the word but to discuss and appeal to the Christians on the possibility of dropping the word from any new Alkitab to be printed and let the old ones be phased out by themselves. You could also offer to pay for any new Alkitab to replace the old ones which should be properly disposed of by the Church. If the Church could change the name Isa to Yesus Kristus, I feel they could also change the word as well although more difficult, but it has to be entirely the Church’s decision and at their own time. It cannot be forced through without serious repercussions.

      3. The best option is to remain status quo. It has been like this without any problems between the 2 sides until the word, among others, was banned by certain states in the 1980s. Even then, there was no problem when it was not implemented. People were then still happily singing the state anthems. Only when they start to ban the Alkitab and the Herald from using the word were things stirred up.

      The Islamic authorities should explain to their own adherents the differences between the 2 doctrines. It is easier and wiser to educate one’s own adherents rather than attempt to control others. People should know that while Islam uses only one name for their God in all languages, Christianity more often than not, uses a name for God in the particular language it is written. That is why they do not use the word in other languages. Unfortunately, they had used the Arabic term during the first translation to Indonesian language some 400 years ago and subsequent versions continued using it to this day. Most likely, the translator was educated in Arabic.

      So, Kaytee, what are your views on these options? Perhaps, having the flair for words and ideas, you could add on other options to resolve the controversy. The goal is for a win-win situation and not to leave any party in the lurch with unnecessary ill-feeling. Cheers.

    • Kong Kek Kuat says:

      Wow! I think I missed so much already.

      @ kaytee

      Checked out your blog. Did not read your posts on ‘Allah’ and all. Just wanted to see what you are.

      Read this comment of yours here, and thought: Good thinking, but flawed analysis — completely ignorant of the fact that Christian Sabahans and Sarawakians practice their religion differently in the so-called “evangelical” department you termed.

      I would not disagree with you if you were talking about the Christianity (in their charismatic, evangelistic, and other forms) practised in [the Peninsular]. Nor would I agree with you.

      I know where you are coming from in your analysis. Good thinking. But even as you try to be neutral, you obviously don´t know too much about Sabah and Sarawak — which means you did not achieve neutrality.

      Will reply to your other points, if there´s any need, later.

      • Kong Kek Kuat says:

        @ kaytee

        Did I mention that just because you qualify yourself as an atheist doesn´t mean that you automatically qualify as a neutral? Take for instance this Flag of Truth (who also doubles as Addin before he was exposed). He tries to potray himself as neutral, sometimes also as a moderate. Then he makes comments which are similar to what (mild) bigots would make. Check out his comments here and in other columns on TNG.

        • Flag of Truth says:

          kong kek kuat.

          I think maybe you do not read or just refuse to accept my answer or explanation regarding why I have two profiles. Nevertheless I admit that (having two profiles), and I care less what you think of me. I am always firm in my stand. You have an ill intention towards the stability of this country. If you want to question me mr kong keng kuat (which I really am disgusted to type your ‘name’ lol), you should be questioned as well :) . Once you seemed to portray yourself as a muslim and then you release your hatred comments on Muslims. What is your real agenda mr kong keng kuat? :) .

  4. Flag of Truth says:

    Christian missionaries throughout the Western colonization have failed to convert the Malays. it is not the same as Philippines where the Spanish have successfully converted the whole population of Philippines (with the exception of Mindanao). The Muslims here always adhered to Islamic teaching and we understand who is the one and the only God. It is hard for us to accept the concept of trinity because no matter how christian missionaries explain it we just cannot accept it because it is confusing. Christianity and Islam always shared the same roots but the Nicene Decree changed that. The real teaching of the prophet Jesus of Nazareth (Peace be upon him) was forgotten and the Council of Nicea accepted what we see in the Catholic church today.

    • Adam says:

      The Philippines was under Spanish rule for close to four centuries starting almost immediately after the Spanish Inquisition. So, we should not be surprised that the Spanish pushed for conversion of the local populace and also pushed back the tide of Islamisation from the South. The Americans took over from the Spanish in 1898 for about 50 years until the country was granted independence in 1946. The present Muslim population is about 5% and concentrated in the southern part of Mindanao.

      Luckily or unluckily, the Spanish were not the ones to colonise Malaya as otherwise, the Malays would probably be converted to Christians and the Chinese and the Indians would not have found their way here. That would be an interesting thought and I can hear you scream “Allah forbid!”

      And fortunately or unfortunately, the British were the ones to colonise us for close to 200 years. They were more interested in trade and they introduced rubber planting and tin mining to the country. They gave us a good education system which we have messed up. They gave us a sound legal system which has been compromised. They gave us good macadamised roads which we “tolled” over. Most importantly, they gave us English which we have “manglished” beyond recognition. They gave us much but then they took back much more.

      As for your confusion over the concept of Trinity, I will have to explain it in another post later. Cheers for now.

      • Marcus says:

        Hahaha yeah. It’s all about historical forces, really.

        Imagine if the Tokugawa had not managed to defeat the Christian shoguns in Japan.

        Imagine if the Persians had repelled the Arab invasions.

        Imagine if the Sulu Sultanate expanded north first.

        Imagine if it were Arab traders that first discovered the Americas.

        Religious demography would be very different than if it were today.

        The point is, live and let live. All this arguing about whether “Allah” is native to which language, or who should be allowed to call God in a particular way, is totally pointless.

    • Kong Kek Kuat says:

      @ Flag of Truth

      “The Muslims here always adhered to Islamic teaching and we understand who is the one and the only God. It is hard for us to accept the concept of trinity because no matter how christian missionaries explain it we just cannot accept it because it is confusing.”

      Masyaallah… you sound confused, indeed. If it is so hard for you to accept the concept of the Trinity because no matter how Christians explain it, you just cannot accept, then what is your problem with the Christians using the ‘Allah’ word? Don´t tell me it´s because you belong to a higher order group of Malays, and that the rest of the Malays are stupid and wouldn´t be confused when the Christians explain it to them?

      • Flag of Truth says:

        KongKengKuat..

        And now you are an expert in christianity?.. Christians have various sects. The mainstream of christianity are the catholic church and christian orthodox. These churches accepted the concept trinity as dictated by constantine as “nicene creed”. The concept is not the same like the monosyphitic concept adopted by the maronite christians in lebabnon and syria. The churches are against the idea of ‘One God’ where by the maronites in middle east believe that there is only one God.

        So explain it to me my so called Muslim friend who seems to be an expert in Christanity.. why on earth the catholics here in Malaysia are arguing that Christians in the middle east use the word Allah and it justifies to them here? you are being absurd kongkengkuat.

        • Kong Kek Kuat says:

          @ Flag of Truth

          I have no idea why you would think that I am a Christian expert, or that I had even suggested so in my comment. In any case, you definitely appear to be suggesting that you know more about Christianity than anyone of the readers here on TNG. My comment was just a simple question to your expert opinion.

          [...]

          Not that I doubt you, but I am reminded by a fellow commenter here on TNG, Farouq Omaro-san, that Muslim-Malays´ knowledge about other religions is from Islamic sources. And true enough, you have revealed the depth of your knowledge on Christianity from your “The mainstream of christianity are the catholic church and christian orthodox.”

          • Flag of Truth says:

            I do not claim I know more about christianity. But I know my religion (Islam) :) . I am ‘questioning’ the catholic church’s argument to use the word ‘Allah’ here, where the Catholics believe in trinity of gods rather than the monophysitic concept that has been adopted by the christian maronite in the middle east. Now I am questioning why the catholic church is arguing to use the word Allah?.. the catholic missionaries here are not originated from the middle east ( I don’t care whether they study there or not). They are here under VATICAN influence which is Catholic. That is why these claims are baseless. :) you are being absurd :)

  5. farha says:

    I just find it bewildering that this ‘problem’ surfaced out of the blue after many years….why?

  6. Farouq Omaro says:

    Its mind-boggling why there are some groups of Muslims who are obsessed with how other religions should be practised. Very irrational.

  7. idris says:

    “…Non muslim BM usage of the word”. For argument’s sake, would they allow the use of Allah in a non-malay bible? If the answer is no…

    I find it rather silly for you to talk of BM and its status here (Is our national language of Bahasa Melayu — or is it Bahasa Malaysia? — the language of all Malaysians or does it just belong to those who profess Islam and practice Malay customs?) without touching on the issue of vernacular schools, which really is THE problem. That you chose to link the issue with the Allah issue of all things.

    • JW Tan says:

      Languages belong to those who speak them. You can’t ask people to not use a language in a way that they wish (if they are fluent) simply because one ethno-religious group objects. Clearly there are Malaysian Christians who are fluent in Bahasa Malaysia, and have it as their first language. How can you legislate on whether they can use it in their preferred way?

      Maybe it should called be Bahasa Untuk Warganegara Malaysia Berbangsa Melayu Atau Beragama Islam Sahaja. Then I would not claim to be fluent in BUWMBMABIS.

      • idris says:

        I have no idea how your reply has anything to do with what I said.

        • JW Tan says:

          You imply that Bahasa Malaysia somehow belongs to a particular group of people, and that there are others who, by virtue of being fluent in some other language, have less ownership over Bahasa Malaysia. I’m saying that Bahasa Malaysia belongs to whoever speaks and writes in it. If you can speak or write a language (however badly) then you have some influence (however small) over its use.

          The Allah issue is about language. Not about anything else. You can choose to say it’s about something else, but then it becomes posturing. Of course, the real issue here is the fact that Malaysia is not a country with freedom of religion. That’s why there’s all this fuss being raised – between those who think that this state of affairs is wrong, and those who think it’s right.

          • idris says:

            I thought kuat was the only one who didn’t understand. I see you don’t either.

            I certainly did not imply that BM belongs, or for that matter belonged, to the Malays. I don’t know and I don’t give a s**t with regard to this matter (in a way, I don’t give a s**t about the Allah issue either). I am talking about something else. If the way I wrote implied that, then let’s just say I have a rotten command of the English language. OK?

            [...]

    • Kong Kek Kuat says:

      @ idris

      Really? I actually found that people who go to national schools are really just average in their command of the Malay language (or Bahasa Malaysia, as you so call it). In fact, it´s usually those who graduate from vernacular schools who have the better command of the Malay language — better, in fact, than the melayu-melayu yg gi sekolah kebangsaan. Yes, admittedly, those who graduate from vernacular schools typically fall into the extreme ends of the super-command of Malay, on the one hand, and those who can´t even string a proper sentence in Malay, on the other hand. But then again, just because you can string a proper sentence in Malay doesn´t mean you have a good command of the language. It is just a well-known fact that whatever school you go to, you must want to learn the language. If you have people who basically think that they have no use for the language, or that they just want to rebel against certain policies, then that language will not be learnt. Period. C’mon, Idris, I would have thought that you would be intelligent enough to know that already.

      • idris says:

        I always wonder why you bother saying anything to me. You know full well, after all, that my intellect cannot compare to yours (or JWTan’s of course).
        Obviously the Nut Graph agrees, seeing that they needlessly allowed your veiled insult through (as they have allowed so many others).

        That said, I think you haven’t a clue what I was trying to say. Nah, I’m just too dumb to understand.

        Ciao.

      • JW Tan says:

        I don’t think it’s how fluent one is in a language, but what one says in it that counts. Plenty of fluent people say nothing worth listening to, whereas poor command of a language doesn’t have to be a barrier to effective communication. How many people who like Gangnam Style actually understand Korean?

  8. ellese says:

    Semuaok,

    It cannot be 400 years coz Christianity was introduced to the people much much later. For example, Christianity was first introduced in Sabah in the 1880s to the Hakkas. Even then the Hakkas did not use BM and “Allah”. Go dig when BM was used? Similar with Sarawak. James Brooke brought Christianity there in the 1820s. There’s no evidence he introduced the BM bible and used “Allah”. Just doesn’t make sense. Now go dig when BM was used there coz it has a similar history. It’s much later when they tried to convert the bumi. The 400-years claim is a lie. The use of the BM Bible is a recent phenomenon.

    • neptunian says:

      To all the bigoted and semi-bigoted Muslims out there. Please remember:

      “There is one one God and his name is ALLAH.”

      From ALLAH all things come…that includes all the infidels.

      Who are you to tell anyone not to say ALLAH. It does not matter what religion one believes in…as long as one calls out to God, there can only be one ALLAH – that is the ultimate truth…according to the Qu’ran

      So please cease and [desist] all this claiming of ownership. ALLAH cannot be owned, ALLAH owns us all.

      • jim says:

        Well said. If everybody has the same thought, there is no problem. I don’t know whether Allah wants this type of people to monopolise Him. Is it a taboo to say Allah to a Muslim with sincerity to mean God, the only God our Creator? They confuse themselves by being irrational. Use the word “Allah” or “Tuhan” in faith.

      • hanana bt abdulla says:

        That Allah is God to all is true. But if you can say that our Allah [that we Muslims refer to as the

        One] is your God without any other qualifications, you are with us.

        We Muslims have no quarrel with that. You are going into a ‘nothing-but-the truth’ territory when you said your God is our Allah!

        Our Allah is One: no pontianak bersih thingy, no son of anyone, nor is he a father of a son!

        Comprehende?

        Muslims have no quarrel with you!

        Welcome to our fold of Allah!

        Allah is great.

        Allah is great.

        Allah is great.

        No holy [spirit] thingy.

        No son of any father, too.

        We Muslims and Christians can be together!

        • panda says:

          Then you completely don’t know a thing about Allah.

          • Mohi says:

            I strongly support the Malaysian Catholic community to use the term of ‘Allah’ because by doing so, you have helped us Muslims in America to curb the hate propaganda by the Evangelical Dispensationalist movement in America which is preaching towards “Allah”, the Arabic word for God and trying to drive the Middle East into Armageddon. If you guys manage to use the word “Allah” for God, this would put to shame to the bigotry of the Christian right in America who are preaching hatred towards Arab-Muslim nations and lobbying American politics in order to drive America to the next invasion of another sovereign nation. I hope the Malays can open their eyes and see this. It’s time for Christians and Muslims to set their doctrinal differences aside and look at our father, Abraham as the spiritual founder of our monotheistic faith for Jesus himself admitted that he was a descendant of Abraham. Bite the neck of prejudice and hatred!!

        • Mohi says:

          I have one logical question to Muslims. Is it true in the Quran that Allah commanded us to say in Surah Al-Ikhlas “Say: Allah is One, he is begotten never he begets”. But here is something tricky all of you Muslims have to think of. If Allah is not a Christian God, then how on Earth did our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) preach to the Christian in Arabia about God ? What word did he used ?

          Why on earth in the Quran is it mentioned: “Surely they are ungrateful (kufr) who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whose ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Gehena (Jahannam). For evil-doers there will be no helpers.”

          You see, this verse of the Quran actually rejects a certain Christian sect that gave the attribute of Anthropomorphism to “Allah” by saying “Jesus” was actually “Allah”. You see, even the Quran affirms that Christians in Arabia those days used the word “Allah”. Even though the Quran disagrees with the doctrine of the Christians, still it shows clearly there is no restriction or whatsoever towards the Arab Christians regarding to the useage of the term “Allah”. The Arabic term “Allah” is no unique term because it cognates with the Aramaic word “Alaha” and Hebrew word “Elohim (Allah-humma)”. Arabic, Aramaic and Hebrew belong to the same language family which is the Afro-Asiatic language family.

          And by the way, Malays [...] have helped to spread the propaganda of the Christian right in America in spreading false rumours and hate propaganda towards Muslims. Look at these videos to see example how American Christians preach hate about “Allah”:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cIGsrif1ic

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qufxt2VwLyI

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t57Xy08sAQQ

          Well done Malays!!! Keep on screaming your “Hidup Melayu!!”

        • Marcus says:

          Unbelievable. You insist that Christians deny the central tenets of their faith in one breath, than say that it is possible for Muslims and Christians to be together.

          Me no comprende.

    • Farouq Omaro says:

      Dear Ellese,

      Your denial of historical facts in this matter is enough to show that you’re afraid of the truth. Even before Malaysia was formed, Peranakan Christians in Malacca were already using “Allah” in Malay-language services in church.

      As for Sabah and Sarawak, the missionaries simply used the most common lingua franca, Malay, to propagate Christianity. And it has been a British policy not to allow evangelisation among the Muslims, unlike the Dutch and Spaniards in neighbouring regions.

      And I still don’t understand why this Muslim preoccuppation with how Christians worship or go about their religion. Silly…silly….silly.

      And fatwas on Christian terminology? What next, they are going to decide who is archbishop?

    • semuaok says:

      http://www2.holybiblefoundation.org/MalayOT1858/CoverOT

      Have a look.

      [Editor's note: The link which works is http://www.holybiblefoundation.org/home/malay-bible. The link above will ask you to redirect to the homepage.]

    • semuaok says:

      http://sejarah.sabda.org/artikel/terdjemahan_kitab_sutji.htm

      Read when the Bible translation into Bahasa Indonesia started.

      • semuaok says:

        Bahasa Melaju/Indonesia.

        Baru sadja orang Belanda sampai di Indonesia, Kitab Sutji mulai diterdjemahkan dalam bahasa Melaju, bahasa kebudajaan dimasa itu. Dalam tahun 1612 diterbitkan indjil Mateus dan tahun 1638 indjil Markus, dalam bahasa Melaju pakai tulisan Arab. Terdjemahan itu dikerdjakan oleh seorang pegawai Kompeni Belanda jakni Cornelis Ruyll. Dalam tahun 1646, diterbitkan indjil Lukas dan indjil Johanes oleh pegawai Kompeni lain, jakni J.van Hazel. Djadi keempat indjil sudah tersedia dalam tahun 1646.

        Terdjemahan seluruh Kitab Sutji dalam bahasa Melaju jang lama dipakai ialah: “Elkitab ija itu segala Surat perdjandjian Lama dan Baru”, jang dikerdjakan oleh Dr. Melchior Leydekker (sampai Ef. 6,7) dan Ds. P. van der Vorm. Karyanja dimulai oleh Leydekker dalam tahun 1691 dan diteruskannja hingga meninggal tahun 1701; dalam tahun itu djuga karyanja diselesaikan oleh P.v.d.Vorm. Bahasa jang dipakai ialah “bahasa Melaju Tinggi”, djadi bahasa kuno dan bahasa sastera. Tetapi bahasa itu sukar dimengerti oleh rakjat, jang mempergunakan “bahasa pasar”, terutama di Maluku (chusus untuk rakjat di Maluku terdjemahan itu dimaksudkan). Tambahan pula Leydekker menggunakan banjak perkataan asing, kata-kata Arab dan Parsi. Itupun sebabnja, maka terdjemahan itu mendapat perlawanan gigih, terutama dari pihak Ds. Francois Valenteyn. Dia itu telah menterdjemahkan seluruh Kitab Sutji kedalam bahasa Melaju – Maluku. Perselisihan agak lama berlangsung tetapi diachiri oleh Kompeni Belanda dengan menerima terdjemahan Leydekker, setelah Valenteyn meninggal dalam tahun 1727. Terdjemahan itu direvisir sekali lagi dan diterbitkan dalam tahun 1733. Terdjemahan ini dalam abad XX masih beberapa kali ditjetak jakni tahun 1905, 1911, 1916 dan di Ambon masih dipakai djuga.

  9. Vincent says:

    I believe you all have missed the point. It matters not whether Islam and Christianity share the same root. It matters not whether the Christians believe in the Trinity. It matters not whether the Muslims believe that Jesus is just a Prophet.

    The point to understand is that each person has a right to his own view, and should not impose on another. The right thing to do is for the Muslim to be educated and be mature enough to understand the concept of God is different in each religion. It is blasphemous to another religion [when] the Christian believes that Islam is a false religion with their Prophet Muhammad receiving his revelation from an angel where else all previous prophets had direct revelation from GOD; [and when] the Muslims believe that the Bible is corrupted and the concept of Trinity unacceptable.

    Herein lies the problem. It is the lack of maturity of the Malaysian Muslims [and their] inability [to] understand and accept that there are key differences in each religion. The right way to [go] is for them to educate themselves on the differences.

    What is to stop them from saying there is no such thing as reincarnation to the Taoist, or that the concept of Self Enlightenment in Buddhism is false?

  10. ellese says:

    Neptunian, even in English dictionaries, Allah refers to the Muslim God. That’s why Bibles in English don’t use “Allah”. To the Christians, the name is not important but to Muslims, it is. This is more a translation issue. They think Lord can only be translated into “Allah”. This is wrong. Lord of the Rings is not and cannot be “Cincin Allah”. Our Rukun Negara: “kepercayaan kepada tuhan” cannot be “kepercayaan kepada Allah”. “Allah” should rightly mean the Muslim God.

    • JW Tan says:

      Most bilingual people understand that when translating, one can be literal (word for word) or try to convey context and sense. The latter approach requires different words depending on the audience.

      Some Malaysian Christians associate the word ‘Allah’ with the majesty and power of the Christian God. They want to convey this context in their worship, so they use it in translation. To them, it means exactly what it means, an alternative term for Yahweh, for which “Tuhan” would be an inferior substitute. To Muslims, it means their God, distinct from the Christian God. Again, most people aren’t in doubt of the different context.

      Please don’t cite the excuse that it leads to confusion. It only leads to confusion if we don’t have freedom of religion, to inquire into and to question it, and also to leave it behind if we don’t like it.

  11. Flag of Truth says:

    There is something sinister behind this. People who want to destabilise our country and put us all into chaos. Let me remind all of you, Islam in Malaysia has stood well against all odds and will continue to thrive…can’t you see?

    • JW Tan says:

      You shouldn’t equate Islam with our country. There are Malaysian Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and yes, atheists. If we were more secular (and sceptical of religion), I argue that the country would be come more stable, not less.

      • Flag of Truth says:

        Then stop spinning this issue. The Catholic Church started all this nonsense. These strange demands cannot be accepted. FULL STOP.

        • Actually, it was the BN government which started it. Please read: http://www.thenutgraph.com/allah-issue-who-started-it/

          Before the 1980s, it wasn’t an issue at all. And in fact, even after the four words, including “Allah” were banned, Christians were still allowed to use it by two Malay Muslim prime ministers. Please read: http://www.thenutgraph.com/pms-assured-christians-use-of-allah/

          It is not the demands of peace-loving Malaysians who want to use “Allah” for their worship which are “strange”. It is the demands of a particular group of Muslims who want to deny others their right to use the word, without any basis, that should be seen as “strange”. Not just “strange” but anti-Malaysian and unconstitutional.

          • Flag of Truth says:

            You still do not understand it, do you? STOP SPINNING the issue. It was banned but still Christians are insist on using this word. For what price?…No…there is no logic at all for the Catholic church to use the word “Allah” in their Bible.

          • hnana bt abdulla says:

            Cik Surin

            In what way does the constitution

            say it is a right for Catholics

            to use Allah?

            Is it because Islam is the official religion

            of the country?

            While judge Bee Lan held that it was

            ok for the Herald to use Allah to describe

            Allah, she did not say that it was unconstitutional

            for the syariah courts to prevent use outside the

            intended purpose.

            Every pro-Catholic is using the argument that

            judge Bee Lan said that all and sundry can

            use [Allah] to describe the Catholic god.

            Her judgment is limited

            by the definition given by the first sentence of the

            God is a 3-in-1 thingy in the Catholic bible.

            In Qu’ranic definition

            God is One and only one.

            There are two laws applicable to Muslims in the

            country and Bee Lan certainly was not

            intending to make a decision on Islamic laws

            as it would be ultra-vires – outside the scope

            of her competence and power!

            Hopefully , Catholic proponents of the use

            of Allah will come to their senses – otherwise

            PR’s hope of securing Muslim votes will be in jeopardy!

          • @Hnana

            Here’s why it’s unconstitutional: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/220814

            Glad you agree that it’s un-Malaysian :P

        • JW Tan says:

          The ban is wrong. No spin required.

          • Flag of Truth says:

            The use of the word also wrong. No need to discuss :)

          • JW Tan says:

            Then you shouldn’t need to discuss it. Anyone with that sort of certainty ought not to have to place it at risk in this sort of forum.

            Unless you’re trying to convince me that the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Christian bible is wrong, in which case you’ve not succeeded.

      • idris says:

        This I agree.

    • Bisa Ular says:

      Continue to thrive? At what expense? The lack of freedom of religion to others? You can declare “thrive and survive” happily and proudly if it does so by faith and by choice. Not by enforcing regulations on the masses outside of your belief system and forcing others to “take care of your survival” for you. Stripping away the rights of others so you can survive is just what it sounds like. Supremacist. And I can’t, in any way, even accept that as something to be proud of. You may say protecting, sure you will, but if it’ll take away the rights of others, then it’s dictatorship, for me at least. Stop the meddling. Religion is faith, not fear. And Malaysia is not an islamic country. Islam is just the official religion of the federation, not the system itself. Note the federation.

      • Flag of Truth says:

        And what do you expect?.. the 70% of the population to give in to the demands of people like you?. I must remind all of you that, it is with the Muslim’s tolerance that makes it possible for all of us all to live peacefully to this day. You talk about us stripping away your rights? What about our interests? Muslims do not object to other people exercising their freedom of religion but this is rubbish. It is you who are sowing the seed of fear in people’s mind. We do not want anarchy to reign so believe me, Muslims will do whatever they can to stop all this nonsense.

        • JW Tan says:

          Sounds like threats again.

          • Flag of Truth says:

            #JW Tan

            That is not a threat :) . It is a simple logic. Everything must have cause and consequence. You don’t expect things to really fall into place after you make all this demands. especially when it is related to religion.

    • panda says:

      Sir, your paranoia is getting waay out of hand. Please read the links provided by Mdm. Surin [...] you are the one SPINNING out of control.

      [...]

      • Flag of Truth says:

        Lol.. why should I trust someone who has a hidden agenda like Miss Surin?. I am not spinning, guys. You are the one who are being ridiculous. :) A Muslim will never accept or give in to this demand :) . Period.

  12. dt3830 says:

    Religions around the world have been corrupted by so many. What used to be beautiful has been used as a tool throughout our generation for selfish gains.

    Read all 4 major religions and understand their teaching, you will see what I mean.

    The Qu’ran, Bible, Buddhist Sutras and Hindu Scriptures: they all point to one thing, being at peace with each other and living together.

    During the Dark Ages, these were created as guidelines for mankind to better one’s life, not to kill each other.

    What happens to spirituality?

    We all live together on this planet called Earth, like it or not, we have to live with each other!

    Why do people forget that we are actually one species, HUMAN?

    Who cares about nationality or race or colour?

    We are HUMAN, deal with it and be at peace!

    The followers fight for rank and file.

    Until this is settled, they will continue claiming their religion is above all. Only the mature understand this.

    RELIGIONS ARE PATHS TO GOD AND NOT THE DESTINATION!

    • Bisa Ular says:

      RELIGIONS ARE PATHS TO GOD AND NOT THE DESTINATION!

      Exactly what I’ve been telling people, the radical ones especially, whatever their faith is.

  13. HANANA BT ABDULLA says:

    [Vincent], you have made a conclusion without giving a rhyme or reason.

    Read Vincy so that you may receive some enlightenment.

    You rubbished the simplicity of attributes of Allah which the Muslim worships.

    You cannot see my argument of the ridiculousness of a God requiring the attributes of a man – roh or spirit.

    You have not understood why your God was referred as the Holy Ghost. Maybe tell once again how Paul (the man who was responsible for the Epistles (simply, letters)] met the ghost of Jesus. This gave rise to
    the notion of the Holy Ghost. Remember, ghost in BM is pontianak [...]

    But come 2000 years later, the translation of “Pontianak Bersih” is Najib-transformed as “Roh Kudus” = clean roh. Roh [I am not translating it as spirit as I do not really know what spirit is!] is a “gift
    of life” when [a man] is brought into the world. And when he dies the “gift of life” leaves his body.

    Science-wise, Roh = mass of man before death – mass of man after death.

    It is a physically measurable attribute Allah gives to man.

    This is a word-for-word translation of the Bible. So that would [give] your Christian God man attributes – like a simple man. He has a father, a dad to a son, and also exists as a Ponti Bersih.

    Who is taking the mickey out of your God? You are.

    By your description, your God is nowhere near Allah. He has a man’s attributes and a [...] pontianak attribute, too.

    Look at Surah Ikhlas again and see that our Allah is One, has no son nor is he a son to some father. In short Allah is incomparable.

    Again view the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axTdkSfbp3I

    • Bisa Ular says:

      Holy Ghost = Pontianak Bersih? Are you sure you’re fluent in Bahasa Malaysia? Well, what’s hantu in English then? What’s vampire in Malay? If holy is bersih, then what’s “clean” in Malay? And what is “kudus” in English? What dictionary are you using? No wonder some of you get all messed up. So, “clean and jerk” is “kudus dan sentak”? And “perhimpunan Bersih” is actually, Holy Rally? Well, slap me silly. We might as well join those rallies and be blessed by the Almighty.

    • Adam says:

      Part 1/2
      Hanana and to whom it concerns,

      It is alright for you to say your opinion on the Trinity, as otherwise, we will not know about your “misconceptions”. And I note that you have been influenced by Pak Yeh with the “Pontianak” thingy. At least, you are decent enough not to repeat what he has said about Jesus being an illegitimate child and all those not so nice things about Him. In fact, it is also his right to say all he has said as he feels strongly about his faith as a “Koran only” Muslim. Perhaps, one of these days, Pak Yeh would get to meet Jesus in the form of a Pontianak with long hair, bloodied body and nail-pierced hands and feet, saying “Pak Yeh, Pak Yeh, why do you say such nasty things about me, your prophet?”

      Anyway, he has, at least, got it right about the 3 attributes of God being the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit instead of the Father, the Son and the Mother as most Muslims have been taught from the Koran. Now, let us discuss about Nabi Isa as portrayed in the Koran and about Jesus Christ as portrayed in the Bible.

      Nabi Isa was the Prophet born of virgin birth and pronounced in the Koran to be the Word (Kalima) and Spirit (Ruh) of Allah. He was said to have performed miracles and the Koran stated that instead of being crucified, someone else was crucified in His place and He was raised alive to Heaven and would come back to judge all. Please correct me if my summary is incorrect or if I have missed a few points.

      …part 2/2

    • Adam says:

      Part 2/2

      Jesus Christ, according to the Bible, was also born of virgin birth and was called the Word of God as He had been given the authority to speak on God’s behalf. He had also performed many miracles including raising the dead. He was crucified as a living sacrifice for our sins and was raised on the third day. He appeared to His disciples and others before going back to God who then sent His Holy Spirit in Jesus’ Name as a comforter and helper to dwell in all who believe. Christians also believe that Jesus will come back to judge us one day.

      So, while Muslims believe Nabi Isa as their prophet, Christians believe He is much more than a prophet. The question to ask is, why would a prophet need to be of virgin birth? All the other prophets were fully human. Some did speak for God and some also performed miracles but why a virgin birth for Jesus? Could it be that we need a pure human to be the ultimate sacrifice? Is it like the Korban where unblemished animals were offered as sacrifice for atonement for individual transgressions and we need a perfect human as the ultimate sacrifice for all?

      And why the need to send the Holy Spirit as a comforter and helper? All of us should know how hard it is to abstain from all sins and face all kinds of tribulations to follow God. Without the Holy Spirit, many will not be able to resist all temptations and will fall from grace. I personally believe that Muslims, Jews and others would be judged by their works while Christians would be by God’s grace through Jesus Christ. And believe me, it is not easy to follow Jesus Christ.

      So, the message has been delivered and the seed planted. For me, the message was delivered almost 50 years ago when I took up religious knowledge in school. I only accepted the message a few years ago. I must say I do not know when I can fully implement the message. Cheers.

  14. ellese says:

    Farouq,

    I think your ignorance of historical facts and political spins makes you have a skewed view. Please just read the spins of the Christians. They are arguing they have 400 years of history. I point out it’s a lie coz Christianity was introduced only in the 19th century. I ask you to dig when Malay as a lingua franca was used but you failed to do this research. The move to convert bumis by BEM started in Sarawak in 1927 and Sabah in 1937. It was in 1950s that SIB (new name for BEM) thought it was imperative to have a BM bible and embarked on the translation of it with Indonesian missionaries. So I repeat the allegation that 400 years of usage is a lie.

    There’s no issue in the peninsula as it’s not used. Even LGE acknowledged this. I want to call your bluff, please prove that the Nyonya Babas used the Malay bible for 400 years.

      • semuaok says:

        Alkitab Terjemahan Lama (PB Bode+PL Klinkert) TL 1958/1879 1958/1938 - Team LAI
        Asli oleh Bode dan Klinkert LAI/(NBSS+BFBS) Indonesia/Melayu Lama, Baru 1994, 1997, 2001
        Alkitab Shellabear SB 1912(Jawi), 1929(Latin) 1910 1897(Mat) W.G. Shellabear BFBS Melayu Lama, Lama(oe) Rev.ejaan dan kata 1949
        Alkitab Klinkert KL 1879(Latin) 1870 1868(Mat) H.C. Klinkert NBG Melayu Tinggi Lama(oe) 2000-2002 OLB/YLSA
        Alkitab Leydekker LEY 1733(Latin), 1758(Jawi),
        *1821(Revisi) 1731(Latin), *1817(Revisi) - M. Leydekker, P. van der Vorm.
        *Robert Hutchings,dkk(Revisi) N.I.
        * BFBS(Revisi) Melayu Tinggi Xtra Lama tidak ada
        Valentyn Val 1677, 1727 - - Simon de Lange, Valentyn - Melayu Maluku lama tidak ada

      • Flag of Truth says:

        What for? :)

        • semuaok says:

          Seorang pegawai Kompeni lainnya bernama Jan van Hasel menerjemahkan Buku Lukas dan Buku Yohanes ke dalam bahasa Melayu, sedangkan Kisah Rasul-rasul diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Melayu oleh Justus Heurnius seorang pendeta di Batavia. Matius dan Markus terjemahan Ruyl, beserta Lukas dan Yohanes terjemahan van Hasel kemudian direvisi oleh Pdt. Heurnius berdasarkan naskah bahasa Yunaninya. Lalu ke-4 Injil itu digabung dengan Kisah Rasul-rasul terjemahannya sendiri dan dicetak di Amsterdam sebagai “4 Injil dan Kisah Rasul-rasul” di Amsterdam pada tahun 1651, juga dalam bentuk dwibahasa Belanda dan Melayu. Buku 4 Injil dan Kisah Rasul-rasul (1651) ini sekarang disimpan antara lain di Perpustakaan Universitas Amsterdam Di Amsterdam, Belanda, dan di Perpustakaan Universitas Cambdrige di Cambridge, Inggris. Perpustakaan Universitas Amsterdam juga menyimpan Matius dan Markus terbitan tahun 1638.

          Selain menerjemahkan Buku Lukas, Yohanes dan Kisah Rasul-rasul di atas, Jan van Hasel dan Justus Heurnius juga menerjemahkan Buku Mazmur yang diterbitkan pada tahun 1652.

          [Dr. Daud H. Soesilo, Ph.D, 2001, 47-48]

          For the facts, that’s why.

        • panda says:

          The Truth..read it all the Malay language Bibles.

    • PangaitTuhu says:

      Whoa, whoa there, horsey. Don’t you dare, ever, meddle with our life here in Borneo. We’re not the same, lifestyle-wise. Our mindset is waaaaay different. Well, maybe for some brainwashed newly-born extremist, whose chaotic philosophy must be eradicated from this land. This is not “kenegerian”….On second thought, maybe it is. But that’s how we maintain our harmony and loyalty to our motherland (Borneo). Until some [others] started making their way here interrupting what we’ve build all these while. Yeah, you know who…

  15. Farouq Omaro says:

    Okay, prove it Ellese! Anyway I still think it is wrong to dictate to followers of other religions how they should conduct their prayers or call their God!

  16. hanana bt abduilla says:

    Footnote

    ———-

    Cik Surin

    No one has done a critical review of Bee Lan’s

    judgment. I am not involved in the legal business

    and from the bits and pieces that I have gleaned

    from the blogs, I find her main arguments faulty.

    Allah is an Arabic word. One of the rules of

    interpretation is the definition of words must be

    translated according to legal standards. A word

    like Allah ought to be referred to the OECD.

    What does the OECD say about the definition of Allah?

    Allah refers to a Muslim God.

    And Bee Lan purportedly referred to the usage of

    Allah in Indonesia/Holland or Sabah/Sarawak

    that had been in use for over 400 years. Sarawak

    and Sabah joined Malaysia under some laws

    of formation in 1963.

    Was there a requirement by the natives of the

    2 countries to guarantee the use of Allah as

    a Catholic God in those laws?

    I suspect not.

    And the fact that Allah has been used elsewhere is

    irrelevant to the case in point!

    And can the [Muslim] Melayus in this country

    get support from the Bar Council

    on this issue?

    Certainly not. [...]

    • semuaok says:

      Did Allah come to you last night and tell you that He is upset because the Christians are calling Him “Allah”?

  17. ellese says:

    Semuaok. I call your bluff. You’re reading without analysis. Kindly tell me which of the Malay bibles is used by which segment in Malaysia and since when. Pray tell.

    And please don’t argue Malay and Indonesian language and culture is the same. Only a small segment in Indonesia identify themselves as Malay. They are of various peoples and cultures who are bound together by the Pancasila. Don’t argue selectively adopting certain parts of Indonesian culture and not the whole. Whatever Bible you refer to, please note it cannot deny the fact that Christianity was introduced much much later than the old translated bible you use. Translation done in Indonesia for the Indonesian people does not mean it’s used here. Take for example your reference to the Maluku bible translation. In Sabah, Christianity was first introduced in the 1880s to the Hakka. Are you telling us the Chinese used the Maluku bible? So please, your examples and reference are non sequiturs. It doesn’t add any value. The fact is the 400-years arguments are lies.

    So I repeat. To the Christians, the name of God is immaterial. It’s more of a translation issue here. To the Malays here, “Allah” is a major term of endearment. It’s used many, many times in a day. It means exclusively the Muslim’s God just like in the English language. We can work this out. We have to have an open mind to resolve this. And not allow [those] who rely on false historical facts of 400 years and alien Indonesian culture to stop us from a compromise. These people don’t realise that the harder you push, the more entrenched the position it is. Accept the fact that overwhelmingly, Malays are against this. We can find suitable words to translate this. We have never translated “Lord of the Rings” into “Cincin Allah” here or your lordship in the courts as “ya Allah” or Lord Mayor as “Datuk Bandar Allah”. So this can be resolved if the Christians want to.

    However, if you don’t want to be reasonable or compromise, let’s settle this by the most democratic way to reflect the value of the people. We have a referendum.

    • semuaok says:

      Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia have many common roots. For a long time, since 1600+, the Bahasa Bibles have existed. So naturally being related to BM, Bahasa Indonesia formed the basis of BM Bibles. There is nothing wrong with that.

      What is wrong is with the crooked thinking that using the word Allah means trying to convert Muslims. From the 1600s until Umno made it an issue, there was no issue at all.

      Muslims in Iran and elsewhere have converted to Christianity without the existence of BM bibles there (to confuse them ?).

      As a Muslim, you worship Allah in your own way, so let others worship Allah in theirs.

      You talk of referendum. It does not apply in such a case. When the majority is Muslim, the referendum will be unrealistic as emotions are involved here.

      It is best that everyone sticks to what was in the sixties. For example, each worshiping Allah in their own way.

      Malaysia already has laws that arrest those proselytising to Muslims and that should be sufficient to deal with any act of proselytisation to Muslims.

      Why do Muslims [in Malaysia] have such low self-esteem? Why the incessant fear of being converted?

      Are Muslims not able to say, that is what you believe Allah is, but not us. Our belief is different.

      Maybe, the Muslims could use the word Allah in the original Arabic form in their writings and no Malay Bibles will have Allah written in Arabic. This way, it may solve the misunderstanding.

      Unless, Malay Muslims are claiming that Allah is not the God that created the universe, including the various races and religion.

  18. semuaok says:

    And please don’t argue that Malay and Indonesian language and culture are the same. Only a small segment in Indonesia identify themselves as Malay.

    ===

    LOL. Are you out of date? Even Bangladeshis and Pakistanis have become Malay, not to mention Indonesians of myriad dialect groups.

    • Flag of Truth says:

      Semuaok..

      Clearly your intention is to see Malaysia in endless religious quarrel :) Well, you can try but I must say that you and your likes will never prevail. Muslima in Malaysia will never accept Catholic Church demands. Whatever happens in Iran or anywhere is irrelevant. Come on.. :)

      • Adam says:

        On the contrary, you are the one who is sowing seeds of discord among the communities by not accepting the truth that Malay-speaking Christians especially in East Malaysia have been using the word for generations.

        The Churches do not demand anything as the word has been in use all this time. Whereas, it is the government and your religious authorities who are demanding the ban of the word which has been proven beyond any doubt that it has been used way before Independence. If you prefer them to use another word, you discuss and have a dialogue with them. If they still prefer the word due to whatever reasons, you have to accept the fact and not use threats to get your way.

        I think Semuaok is an East Malaysian Christian by the way he is defending the use of the word. Just as you are defending your religion, he has the right to defend his way of belief passed down from his elders.

        Btw, I personally take this issue as a blessing in disguise. For how else could we discuss religious issues openly. In this age of the Internet, a religion can no longer effectively shield its adherents from other religions without appearing to be oppressive. The only realistic way is to educate and strengthen the faith of your own adherents.

        Through these discussions, I have learned much about Islam. I hope you have also learned just as much if not more about Christianity. Cheers.

      • panda says:

        What has the Catholic Church demanded of you, Flag of Truth?
        Return to Mindanao?

        • Flag of Truth says:

          We are already in Mindanao panda :) . [...]. We Muslims will always stand united if it is in the name of Islam. No matter who rules Malaysia, Islam will stay as the official religion in Malaysia. If you have a problem with that, go change the constitution. :)

  19. Adam says:

    I have just read a most inspirational article titled “Being a Khan — Shah Rukh Khan” at http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/being-a-khan-shah-rukh-khan/ .

    Every Malaysian should read it and if all of us have the same views and convictions as Mr. Khan, Malaysia would be the most peaceful and united country.

  20. ellese says:

    Semuaok, I’ve called your bluff. You’re lying then. You don’t have prove that the BM Bible was used by any segment of Malaysians for 400 years. What you have laid out is that Indonesian bible has been used in Indonesia.

    So again unless you prove otherwise, we have an agreement that the 400 years argument is a lie. Please don’t repeat this.

    Now back to the Indonesian bible used by Indonesians. First it’s not a BM bible. No Indonesian will call their bible a BM bible. This is another false argument to deceive people as if it is a four hundred year history. So stop this lie. Christianity was introduced much later. The process of translating the bible in Malaysia was done in the 1950s. So cut the crap.

    Thirdly, stop this deceitful argument that Muslims are of weak faith. In Europe, when Muslims want to build mosque they are put under so many restrictions. Many lame excuses are given. Don’t like the design lah, against their culture lah, etc etc. But you know what, no one said it was because the Christians have faith a weak. This is a deceitful argument. You know it. It’s nothing to do with weak faith. The [reason] for their objection is similar to the situation of building a big mosque next to the Vatican. It will not be allowed. Why? You know the answer and it has nothing to do with weak faith. So again stop this lie.

    Finally, don’t import Islamic values elsewhere selectively, ikut suka hati. Muslims have developed different values and practices all over the world. For example women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia. This, in Saudi Arabia, is Islamic. Similarly, wearing the burqa. In Indonesia you not only can proselytize but marry different someone of a different faith. This is because Indonesia is driven by the Pancasila. (Please note that under Pancasila the minority Chinese are required to speak dress and practice the Indonesian culture, i.e., assimilate). We are different kan? So stop this nonsense that we can import the Islamic values of others selectively ikut suka hati kita. We’ve developed differently with different practices and values.

    I repeat, to Muslims here, Allah has only been used to exclusively refer to the Muslim god. It means so much to them. But to the Christians the name is immaterial and it is more of a translation issue. As I said, we can resolve this if Christians don’t take a frontal attack like this including using lies to support their argument. Be reasonable.

    • neptunian says:

      Yes, “be reasonable”, so say the tyrant – do exactly as I tell you. Read the books I tell you, utter the words I tell you. Don’t do or say or use any words I don’t want you to.

      Be Reasonable… how hard is that..? Zez!

    • JW Tan says:

      Oh please. In London alone there are large mosques in Regents Park, Finsbury, Leytonstone and Brixton. I’m certain that if permission was requested to build a new church the same size as Regents Park Mosque in Malaysia it would be rejected. My wife’s church in Johor Bahru took 30 years to get permission to move from a private bungalow to a new purpose built building for 500 people – 10% the size of Regents Park Mosque.

      Religious freedom in Europe and the US protect Muslims too. Some Americans objected to the decision of the New York city government to refuse planning permission for the Islamic cultural centre in downtown Manhattan. Few, if any Muslim Malaysians even know or care about churches being blocked in Malaysia.

    • JW Tan says:

      To prove you wrong, I found this wiki article:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_of_Rome

      It holds 12,000 worshippers and is located in the Acqua Acetosa district – which is about 20 minutes drive from the Vatican, as next door as it is possible to be in central Rome without demolishing precious Roman antiquities to make space for it.

  21. kaytee says:

    Part I

    Dear Adam,

    My apologies for not responding earlier – was busy. Let me start off with your comment “Yes, Christianity, like Islam is an evangelistic religion. But unlike days of old when the religion could be forced upon people literally by the sword, Christianity today practices complete freedom of belief while Islam [in Malaysia] still uses coercion and intimidation especially when one wants to leave the faith.”

    You are comparing apples (of the potential soft subtle Christian evangelistic proselytizing, by stealth so to speak. in using a Malay language bible with reference to the Christian god as “Allah”) with oranges (Islam in Malaysia-style intimidation of Muslims disenchanted with and wanting to leave Islam). One is about proselytizing, the other is about preventing so-called ‘apostates’ from leaving. They are separate and different issues which should be discussed separately to avoid confusion.

    2nd-ly, on “how a minority group of perhaps 5% could influence a majority group of 60%”, well it would be, as I fear and have mentioned umpteen times, through soft subtle proselytizing as above. Today’s Christianity may be ‘democratic’ as you claimed, but that doesn’t mean it’s not evangelistic as you yourself admitted. I would speculate that in modern biz terminology there nay be even a KPI (of ‘convertees’ to the faith) for each priest/pastor in every diocese to achieve in a specified period.

    The Catholic Church through Father Andrew Lawrence should have left sleeping dogs alone in that for years the authorities have not interfered with Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians using the Allah word in their al Kitab. But he just has to push the issue further along when he proposed to use that word in the Malay language section of the Catholic Herald newsletter, which I was informed is also circulated in Peninsula. This was the trigger to the acrimonious controversy we have today.

    … continued in next comment …

  22. kaytee says:

    Part II

    On your query as to how to get the Malay-speaking Christians to dispose of their Alkitab and start using new ones without the word, there is already a new al-Kitab without Allah in it but Father Lawrence has dismissed its adoption by the Church on his argument that it has to be the one with “Allah” as nothing else (mainly Hebrew names for the Judeo-Christian god) would do. And that is why I question his obduracy and motive.

    You raised a number of issues most of which I opine is argumentative rather than constructive, such as:

    (a) the change of the word Isa to Yesus Kristus. Neither the authorities nor Muslims have objected to the use of Isa. Why introduce a furphy to muddy the already murky waters?

    (b) your remarks “If a complete ban is implemented on the written and spoken word, how are the non-Muslims going to sing the various state anthems? Perhaps, they could replace the word with Tuhan and when writing an essay on Islam, they could write Muslim God or Tuhan Islam?”

    I don’t believe the authority’s objection to the Church’s use of the “Allah” word extends to areas beyond al Kitab, for as I said, it’s the combination of (i) Christianity being an evangelistic religion (ii) Malay-language Bibles or al Kitab and (iii) the reference to the Christian god as “Allah”, that poses the potential for subtle and unacceptable proselytizing of Muslims. So don’t drag in non-relevant issues such as state anthems and school essays.

    Admittedly some Muslims have been extreme with their demands which attempt to extend the ban beyond the al Kitab. But that’s an inevitable outcome of intransigence on both sides, a siapa jaguh to up the ante.

    A more constructive approach, assuming the Church is agreeable to dropping the use of the “Allah” word, would be to bid for government funds to help with the documentary and material transition to Hebraic appellations for the God or Lord word, apart from the use of Tuhan.

    • panda says:

      Please stop this endless argument of blaming the Catholic Church, The Herald (which is Peninsular paper) and whoever oversees the publishing of said Catholic newspaper!

      Your emotional blame game ain’t working anymore nor is it relevant to us Catholics, particularly Sabahans and Sarawakians.

    • Adam says:

      Part 1/2

      Dear Kaytee,

      Thank you for your response. I like The Nut Graph because one could take some time to respond without the articles being archived with comments no longer available like in some other news sites. And the articles they put up are also focused on important issues and therefore of public interest. From your reply, I gather that your approach to the issue is more towards social and political expediency. I am approaching the issue from the fairness point of view.

      I take proselytization and apostasy as inseparable issues which are interlinked. Christians do not proselytize by “stealth” as you have said, but they are very open with all interested individuals who are given all the “terms and conditions”. One could believe and later, for whatever reasons, one could leave without any problems. The most one gets could be some phone calls to inquire if help is needed. Such is the matter of faith that it cannot be forced.

      On the contrary, Islam preaches no compulsion in religion but more often than not, they do not tell that you may have problems on leaving. The most they would say is that you may have to go through certain procedures. And procedures could start from counseling to rehabilitation and even jail. Some radical Muslims even say that leaving the faith itself is considered as treason and could get one the death penalty. How do you argue with that?

      So, there should not be any fear in proselytization as far as Christianity and other faiths are concerned but unless Islam preaches no intimidation and punishment for apostasy, we have to be wary [...]. Perhaps, you have had some bad experiences with Christian evangelists but the fact that you are still an Atheist indicates that they are ok and you are ok. And please have more faith in Christian pastors going for true conversions rather than each having a quota. You really have a fertile imagination.

    • Adam says:

      Part 2/2

      Regarding your statement that the Church has purposely used the word to attempt converting the Muslims, do you really know what you have just said? You mean Malay-speaking Christians purposely call their god by an incorrect name to attract Muslims? You are kidding, right?

      The Church could not simply change any Biblical names without referring to and discussing with their leaders and adherents. You should know that while Muslims uses one name for their God, Christians mostly use the name of God in the different languages. As the Malay/Indonesian language has Arabic and Indian influences through the centuries, that was the reason the word has been used. And it is impossible to confine the usage to only East Malaysia as people move across boundaries all over the country and the globe.

      I am arguing the case to present all the facts and possibilities for people to weigh and then decide for the best resolution, just as lawyers argue their case in court. We cannot bulldoze through something and later find out that other problems would surface as a result of short-sightedness.

      Let us see how this issue will play out over time. The silver lining is that Muslims now get to know more about Christianity over these three years than their whole life time. And have you read the article in Malaysia Today titled “Islam and Christianity: Two Faiths, One God”? Seems like we have wasted so much time and emotions for nothing. Maybe not. Cheers.

  23. semuaok says:

    The bible is a BM bible. This is another false argument to deceive people as if it is a four hundred-year history. So stop this lie. Christianity was introduced much later. The process of translating the bible in Malaysia was done in the 1950s. So cut the crap.

    =====

    The correct name is AlKitab, not BM Bible, though it is in Bahasa. The lie is what you guys are saying that “Allah has only been used to exclusively refer to the Muslim god.”

    What bullshit is this? You also say that Allah is the God of Ibrahim, Ishak and Yakob but this is refering to the Christian God too.

    Do you know that the Christian God is also the same Allah of Musa?

    Assuming that you are correct that the Allah is the Muslim God, then who is the Christian God mentioned in the book of Genesis that Christians believed created the universe ?.

    Are you now going to tell the Christians that they cannot say that their God created the universe ?

    —-

    We’ve developed differently with different practices and values.

    ===

    So your Islamic Allah is different from that of other Muslims in other parts of the world?


    In Europe, when Muslims want to build mosque they are put under so many restrictions.

    ===

    What about in Malaysia? In Terengganu, no approval for a Catholic Church is given despite many appeals.

    For example women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia. This, in Saudi Arabia, is Islamic.

    —–

    Is it? Is Islam in Saudi Arabia a different Islam? So the Allah of Muslims in Arabia is different from the Allah of Muslims in Malaysia?

    —-

    It’s nothing to do with weak faith. The [reason] for their objection is similar to the situation of building a big mosque next to the Vatican. It will not be allowed. Why? You know the answer and it has nothing to do with weak faith. So again stop this lie.

    ==

    In a part of Malaysia, I forget where, it was shown in the news that a mosque, a church and a Hindu temple have existed side by side for a very long time with no problem or quarrels.

  24. semuaok says:

    The quarrel over the term Allah only surfaced recently whilst it has been in used for hundreds of years.

    It means so much to them. But to the Christians the name is immaterial and it is more of a translation issue

    ===

    Come on, this term “Allah” is also important to the pribumi Christians in Sabah and Sarawak who bring it along with them when they come to the Peninsular. They have been using the term “Allah” from even the time of your great-grandfather. Now suddenly, you are saying that they cannot use it?

  25. semuaok says:

    Clearly your intention is to see Malaysia in endless religious quarrel
    ==

    There had been no quarrel over this term for hundreds of years until umno made it into an issue.

    Well, you can try but I must say that you and your likes will never prevail. Muslims in Malaysia will never accept Catholic Church demands.

    ====

    You have just shown your ignorance, Allah is used by all Pribumi Christians to refer to God, not just the Catholic Church. Even the Sikhs use it.

    • Aero says:

      All this endless talk in justifying the use of ‘Allah’ is pretty obnoxious. I foresee mine would end up being labelled one as well, but let me give my two cents worth to all of you.

      Now let’s examine the true cause of all this furore: Why, of all the names of Gods and Lords, would a Christian be wanting to use Allah’s name so badly in churches? This is despite that NONE of the Bibles we have so far are filled with even one word of ‘Allah’. If the Bible IS the Christians’ holy book of faith, then why is ALLAH, the name of the well-known Muslim God, not included anywhere in any verse? So for the last few centuries or so, what kind of name have the Christians [been using] when addressing God?

      And why, must I ask, does this matter suddenly surface in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country like Malaysia? In the most surprising and ‘fashionable’ manner, churches here in Malaysia have started to fight for the use of the sacred name, knowing all too well that only Muslims are addressing their God as that. Pribumi in Malaysia have been using it? Since when, may I ask? My Christian Bidayuh friends do not address their Lord as ‘Allah’, as far as I can tell. If there are other ethnicities who happen to use it, then I may not go wrong in saying that this is a circumstance that has occurred for the last recent decades; now history is repeating itself in a provocative way. What is in the Bible may not be what the Churches wish to abide to, it seems. I smell foul in this whole agenda of having ‘Allah’ as the Christians’ God.

  26. panda says:

    The Catholic Church in Sabah has exposed a covert ploy to convert under-aged students to Islam in Labuan.

    In a strongly worded letter signed by the four Roman Catholic bishops of Sabah, they complained that non-Muslim students at the Labuan Matriculation College between 17 and 18 years old, “are constantly subjected to various forms of harassment, ridicule and pressure to change their religion.”

    The residential college is under the matriculation division of the Ministry of Education and has an enrolment of 2,771 students from Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan. About half of them are Catholics and Protestants and the rest made up of Muslims other than 77 of them who are Buddhists.

    According to the latest issue of “Catholic Sabah,” the fortnightly newsletter of the ecclesiastical province of Kota Kinabalu, the letter dated 5 October last year was published two weeks later in the Herald, the Kuala Lumpur-based Catholic weekly newsletter.

    The letter was jointly signed by Rev Datuk John Lee, who recently retired as Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu, Rev John Wong, Coadjutor Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu, Rev Datuk Cornelius Piong, Bishop of Keningau, and Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of Sandakan.

    Following the expose by the four bishops and publication of their letter, the education authorities responded by sending a senior delegation last month led by Dr Sariah Abdul Jalil from the Ministry of Education which included Sawan@ Rizal bin Amil, the director of the college and its deputy, Kamarudin Mansur, and five other key personnel from the college for a discussion with the Sabah Catholic Church to “thrash out certain issues” according to Catholic Sabah.

    The two-hour meeting was described by the newsletter as “frank and cordial while affirming that the (Catholic) Church is committed to ensuring that the religious rights of all non-Muslims are not being eroded.”

    “The discussion on the protection of rights for the students also included the rights of the students to a safe and conducive learning environment, one that is free from harassment, intimidation and pressure,” the newsletter said.

    “The right to attend religious services without students losing out in additional classes or activities conducted by the college on weekends was also highlighted,” it added.

    The newsletter also said another highlight of the discussion was the right of the students to hold discussions, prayer meetings and services in the college and to form an association as provided for under the Educational Institutions (Discipline) Act 1976.

    It also said the right to protection for non-Muslim lecturers and students who speak out against religious harassment was also raised during the discussions. Those familiar with such matters said in the past, any Christian teacher, especially those from Peninsular Malaysia would be given a 24-hour transfer notice from the Education Department if they raised such issues or complaints while serving in schools in Sabah or Sarawak.

    When the issue first surfaced sometime in the middle of last year, the information was that an under-aged Catholic student and three more from the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) of Sabah were converted to Islam without the knowledge or consent of their parents. Subsequently, the number involved proved to be more.

    The newly formed NECF-COSA or National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Commission of Sabah Affairs took up the case but did not proceed further due to lack of information. The matter was then referred to the Sabah Council of Churches. It was at this stage that the Catholic Church decided to conduct full scale probe into the matter that led to the four bishops issuing their joint letter together with a full report.

    -mysinchew.com

  27. semuaok says:

    Aero, from what you have written, you only portray your ignorance. Go and read from :

    http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/from-around-the-blogs/54325-islam-and-christianitytwo-faiths-one-god

  28. ellese says:

    Semuaok, you’re rambling and lying. I give you another opportunity to redeem. We go to point one which you diverted which I say I’m calling your bluff. This is my second or third time asking. (See above). Don’t divert. Show me when all these Indonesian kitabs you referred to were used by which segments of society in Malaysia since 400 years ago. I will deal with your irrelevance and diversion one by one. There are too many inconsistencies and incongruent [facts] in your argument. I’ll await your reply.

    Ps If you want more real time debate, we can do it at my blog hakbersuara.wordpress. I don’t censor contrarion views like TMI.

    • semuaok says:

      Hah, why are you so dense? You expect the language to be static? Definitely, no one is going to use the Bible in the old language format, it gets updated and evolves to more recent language formats.

      But what is important is that of its existance and it has formed the basis for newer version of the AlKitab with its updated language format.

      You blindness is due to your narrow mindedness.

      I have stated before that the Jahilyah Arabs have been using Allah even before Islam came into being and they never, I repeat never ever forbid the Muslims to use the term Allah. So who are you to think that Allah belongs to [Muslims only]?

  29. GlueBall says:

    Yawn. Religion remains as the world’s No. 1 destructive social absurdity. Just as soon as the religious crusaders tire of fighting each other, then the Atheist Empire may blossom and improve mental health globally.

  30. Flag of Truth says:

    There are people who are so demanding here and refuse to see where this thing is heading. We have lived peacefully side by side for as long as we can remember. Accepting Catholic church demands (I don’t care whether it is The Herald newspaper or any other NGO. I smell the Catholic church’s involvement behind this) means that we will neglect the interest of 70% of the population. I am not intimidating or threatening but because most people here are so ignorant I have to tell them right to their face!. We do not want anarchy. Again accepting the Catholic church’s demands will result in the birth of anarchy.

    • Kong Kek Kuat says:

      @ Flag of Truth

      Aih? Now it´s 70%? Before, it was 60%. When it comes to Malays (or “Muslims” or “Bumiputera”, whichever is the better for that particular moment of spin), it´s 60%. When it comes to MARA scholarships and other Govt goodies, it is 30% (ha, yang lain-lain tu Bumiputra biasa, kami ni Bumiputera Melayu). And when it comes to Govt. contracts, APs, lembu, condos, tabung tentera, it is 8%~10% (ha, yg lain-lain tu Melayu biasa, kami ni Melayu UMNOputra). You are quite good in slipping in falsehoods and spinning the flag of truth, aren´t you?

      • neptunian says:

        People like “flag of truth”/ Ibrahim Ali [who make threats], are only 0.00001% of the Malays (maybe pseudo Malay)..

      • Flag of Truth says:

        :) I am not spinning. It is the truth that all of you have been denying all this time. 60% of the population is Malay [Malaysian] and the 10% balance are Muslims from other races. And there is nothing wrong with government policy because it keeps the Malay [Malaysians] from ever demanding more :) . We are tolerant people and not like you mr kong keng kuat, [whom] I believe [is an] agent of anarchy and destruction. [...]

        The thing is we must be rational. Each of us has our own needs and demands.. but we must think of the effect and consequences of our actions. Don’t be smart [...] claiming everything but in the end it is you who are the one who packs your bag and leaves. :)

        • Kong Kek Kuat says:

          @ Flag of Truth

          Ya? Well, prove it. Back up your numbers. LOL.

          • Flag of Truth says:

            @Kong Kek Kuat

            Sure, come and see me haha [...] Right, now let’s speak about facts.

            In 2004, the Statistics Department of Malaysia came up with these figures (Malay: 50.4%, Chinese: 23.7%, Indigenous: 11%, Indian: 7.1% and others 7.8%). These figures were in 2004! And it only shows figures based on racial composition not religion. Now let’s talk about religion :) . With the Malay forming the majority of Muslims, that gives us the indication that the rest of the population is 49.6% non-Malay.

            The Chinese comprises 23.7% of the population and most of them are Buddhists and some adopt Christianity and some are Muslims. The 11% of Indigenous Peoples (known as proto Malay and who also hold Bumiputera status) has some significant percentage of Muslims. Half of these people (maybe more) are Muslims. This is because the Indigenous have always had special ties with the Malay (Deutro Malay) and more often than not, we can not differentiate between these two groups. The 7.1% of Indians are majority Hindus and some adopt Christianity and Islam. The last group (even though I hate using ‘Others’ as an ethnicity because they have their own ethnicity) comprise 11% of the rest of the population. These are the Melanau, Iban, Bidayuh, Kadazan, Kenyah, Penan, Kelabit and many more. Half of them adopt animism as their core belief. The another half are either Muslims or Christians.

            These figures were in 2004. We are now in 2013. The Muslims can easily be 70% majority now by looking at these facts. The Chinese and Indians (which form the two major ethnic groups in Malaysia) have declined in terms of birth rates. This has not happened to the Malays.

            [...]

      • Celia says:

        Good one, KK!!

  31. Aero says:

    Mr Semuaok, obviously you are not focused enough to read and understand my points. Are you trying to beat around the bush, or just have no idea about the whole thing itself?

    Let me stress again: Show me a Bible or any of the Testaments that have a single word of “Allah” in it. That is to say, that Christians really walk the walk and talk the talk.

  32. ellese says:

    Now Semuaok has admitted that none of the long list of bibles he quoted are used by any segment in Malaysia, he has admitted two things. One is that the claim that Malaysians have used the BM bible for 400 years is a pure lie. Secondly, it also shows Semuaok’s deceitful character of just cut and paste everything to throw into discussion to create a false picture in order to deceive.

    Let’s go into the second deceiful argument. Semuaok is arguing that since Allah is used is Arabic in generic term so in BM we should have no issue to use it as such. This is a flawed deceitful argument. First we are discussing the use of Allah in the BM bible and not Arabic. It’s similar to the English bible. Every language carries different meaning due to different nuances and culture. In English, you cannot argue those using the English bible in Dubai, eg to change to Allah since it was used to refer to the Christians’ god during Zaman Tok kadok by Arabs there. Why? Because Allah carries the meaning of exclusively the Muslim god as we understand it. It’s similar to BM. We have used it to refer it to the Muslim god. Thus its wrong to change our Rukun Negara to “kepercayaan kepada Allah” since in Arab countries it’s used differently. It’s also wrong to translate the movie “Lords of the Rings” to Cincin Allah. Everybody knows its wrong. So don’t be deceitful again.

    As I said, its a translation issue. To the Christians the name of god is NEVER important. Don’t create a big unnecessary fuss. Be reasonable. Since some are so hard headed, these questions of value must be sorted out by the most democratic way: a referendum.

  33. ellese says:

    Dear Adam,

    In any discussion, conflict arises due to the clash in values and in this Allah issue, ” trust”. Our values are reflected in culture and language and some are protected by the our constitution. The best analysis to me is probably Anas (though I not necessarily agree some of his premise) which will never see it printed here since its against The Nut Graph’s agenda. It boils down to trust.

    For me, I’m clear. Muslims value Allah’s name in the highest esteem. Try to mock Allah if you dont believe me. To the Christians it’s a mere translation issue. To them the name is never important in their history. We can have a middle ground if not for rabble rousers like The Nut Graph who are bent on dividing further. Worse, we have people like Semuaok who push for fabricated lies.

    • Adam says:

      Part 1/2
      Ellese,

      In the few exchanges with you here and in other blogs, I have learned not to respond to your many comments as I know both of us will be writing in circles and not getting anywhere. I really admire your persistence in putting your views across and maintaining your opinions doggedly, come hell or high water. It appears you really revel in wearing down your opponents with your verbal stamina. It seems like Semuaok is getting tired or bored already after the numerous exchanges. Since your above comment is directed at me, I will address it and let you respond and summarize the points; in other words, let you have the last word.

      I believe your comment is directed at my response to Kaytee and I agree with you that trust is indeed lacking in this episode. I have read the few articles by Anas in Malaysia Today and although most of his views appeared to be balanced, there were a couple of points where he seemed to be a little cheeky and sarcastic. Overall, I did not sense any malice in his articles.

      There is no doubt whatsoever that Muslims hold Allah’s name in the highest esteem. And trust me, the Malay-speaking Christians also treat the Name with the greatest respect in their worship. And trust me too, that the Church does not have any ulterior motive in keeping the tradition of using the word other than to attend to the spiritual needs of their flock. To you, it may be merely a translation issue but to them, that Name above all Names is in their Holy book for generations. And please do not say that the Name is never important in their history. You are in fact mocking their God. But fear not, the Almighty is not that petty. Before we say anything, He already knows what is on our mind. He can even take any nonsense from His creation in their times of crisis, curses and all.

    • Adam says:

      Part 2/2

      And if the word is held in such high reverence, why not just use the Arabic form for all languages rather than the Romanized form which is not consistent with some of the languages such as Chinese (Ala/Anla), Japanese (Ara), Thai (Anlaw), Russian (Allakh) and a few other variations? Ref: Wikipedia.

      In conclusion, I personally feel that the government should just drop this indefensible case and revert to the status quo from the time of independence. And trust me again; The Nut Graph, Semuaok and all others including myself would immediately stop commenting on the issue. But what I propose, God may have other ideas….

  34. semuaok says:

    Go and read :

    http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/letterssurat/54381-in-the-name-of-allah-the-gracious-the-merciful

    Yawn, yawn, I am tired of chatting with you people who have such narrow minds.

  35. Flag of Truth says:

    #semuaok..

    I think you have lost your cause in this argument. Muslims in Malaysia have the right to question the Catholic Church’s intention in this issue. Malaysia has been colonized for 500 years by the Christian imperialists (Portugese, Dutch and the English) and still Christian are not accepted by the Malays. This is not the case in the Philippines where the Spaniards have successfully turned the whole population of Luzon island to become Christian. The Malay peninsular Muslims and their brethren in Sabah and Sarawak have withstood against all odds under constant discrimination from the Christian colonialists. You just do not understand that the more you insist or demand the Malaya to give in, the more they will resist. We will not hand over our religious matters to you on a silver platter. I am afraid it will not work this way :)

    • semuaok says:

      Malaysia has been colonized for 500 years by the Christian imperialists (Portugese, Dutch and the English)

      ====

      LOL????? When did Malaysia come into being?


      You just do not understand that the more you insist or demand the Malays to give in, the more they will resist.

      ==

      You just didn’t get your facts right, bro. The Bible translation was not done recently. Why are the Malays trying to patent ‘Allah’? The original writing of ‘Allah’ in the Koran is in Arabic. If the Christians use the Arabic form of ‘Allah’ in their BM Bible then you can fume, cuss and froth in the mouth.

      Why don’t you just stick to the Arabic form of Allah in all your writings and there will be no confusion.

      “for the Father judges no one; he has entrusted all judgement to the Son,”…

      That’s why Isa Al Masih will be the one that is coming at the end time to judge and not other prophets.

      …where the Spaniards have successfully turned the whole population of Luzon island to become Christian…

      ==

      Were they Muslims before this happened?

      • Flag of Truth says:

        Semuaok..

        #1. The bible translation was not done recently – Prove it to me. As far as I am concerned the catholic church has something up their sleeves. To use the argument that Christians in the Middle East use the word Allah to justify the same usage here is absurd. The Arab Christians like the Maronites believe in the monophystic concept rather than the trinity concept. Now the catholic church here is saying that the trinity is in fact the same as monophystic. What a lame justification :)

      • Flag of Truth says:

        Semuaok..

        #2. When did Malaysia come into being? – yeah you are right. before that it is called Tanah Melayu and Borneo. Get it?

        #3. Were they Muslims (pinoy) before this happened? – you are ignorant of history. Before the Spaniards came to Luzon manila was under the Islamic kingdom of Manila. The Spaniards under Miguel Loopez Delegazpi fought Rajah Sulaiman and eventually managed to capture Manila. Read first before being [..] smart [...] here. :)

  36. JW Tan says:

    Do you mean that you will not live in peace with your fellow Malaysians? You sound like you believe that we non-Muslim Malaysians are a threat, simply because we don’t agree with you that the ban is right. And you threaten back.

    • Flag of Truth says:

      LOL.. I think it is rather the opposite. In Malaysia, it is the minority who are always trying to demand that the majority give in. ‘Give in’ in a sense of something that previously had not even been practised in the minority religion. Islam is the law of the land and the British knew this. That is why they did not interfere with Muslim matters. Let us admit this, that the usage of the word Allah in BM bible translations is something new and not the practise of Catholics (I stress Catholic church). I can’t imagine the Vatican would allow this to be implemented in their Bible in Europe and America because I am sure that this will only expedite the continent of Europe’s conversion to Islam. I dare you to ask the Vatican to do this first as their policy before trying to demand that the majority people of Malaysia bend to this absurd demand.

  37. ellese says:

    Dear Adam,

    I thought you have been sincere in wanting to solve the issue. Now I don’t think so. You say Anas is balanced but you fail to highlight what he meant and wrote. When you did not follow up on his issue of trust, and further defended and emphatise only with the Christians view, I think I have misjudged you.

    You are as you claim in the same category of Nut Graph and Semuaok but don’t think you are up to the lying level of Semuaok. Essentially, these groups are pushing the Muslims into a spot. Never listening and empathising with them. They are not going to bend even an inch for their extreme views. With them I don’t see any reason at all to placate and will rebut point for point.

    Since you’re in that category, kindly be mindful how the discussion has developed. It’s a fact that the history of the usage of BM bible using Allah is a much recent phenomena and not a 400 years issue. When it was translated, the most difficult word to translate according to the Christians, was ‘Lord’ as they claim Allah is the best suited word. It’s a translation issue. None of my Christian friends in the Peninsular (without exception) call their god ‘Allah’. It’s abominable to them to call as such before this crisis. I cannot be said to be mocking them as this is the argument put forth by the Christians themselves. It cannot be that if the Christians put an argument it’s not mocking but if I quote their argument, I’m mocking them. So please don’t mock me.

    Let me put it to you, if you agree that the name ‘Allah’ is important to all Christians in Malaysia, are you in agreement then to change the many reference to ‘Tuhan-Lord’ and ‘god’ to ‘Allah’. We change kepercayaan kepada tuhan or belief in god to kepercayaan kepada Allah or belief in Allah as our Rukun Negara. If you’re ok, we develop this argument further for example to change god in the English bible for Malaysians. If not, why is the ‘Allah’ name not as important like how the Muslims feel? (Ps. I’m calling your bluff that its important just like how the Muslims feel)

    The above question presumes you’re a Christian. If you are not, dont bother answering. I have a different set of questions to you.

    And by the way, you’re taking a cheap potshot argument on pronunciation. Wherever you go in the Muslim world its still aliph lam lam ha. You know why? ‘Coz every Muslim reads the same Quran. No adulteration. It’s still ‘Allah’. The fact it’s pronounced slightly differently due to mother tounge doesn’t detract the fact it’s ‘Allah’. We read the Quran in Arabic. All Muslims do. The translation we read is for our understanding. Whoever they are when they go for haj, it is clear that everyone pronounces it as ‘Allah’. This is unlike Christianity, where the name of god is not the same all over the world. What more the various pronunciations. So Please don’t use cheap potshot arguments on differentiation of pronunciation.

    • semuaok says:

      but don’t think you are up to the lying level of Semuaok.

      ===

      LOL you can argue however much you want but the fact is the Pribumi Chrisitan are still going to give praise to Allah in Bahasa.

      It seems you think you are smarter than people like Dr. Asri and Qardawi . I would suggest that you sincerely implore Allah to let you know whether He is angry with the Pribumi Christians for worshipping and praising Him with the name Allah.

    • Adam says:

      Part 1/3

      Dear Ellese,

      I also thought you would be winding up the discussion and would possibly agree to disagree on the issue but instead you have continued with your diatribe of accusing the Nut Graph of stirring up this controversy and Semuaok of lying. And by thinking that I am not up to the lying level of Semuaok, you are indirectly also accusing me of lying. Is that how you carry yourself in any civil discourse such as this “Allah” issue? There are certain words which should not be used as it creates ill-will and may negate whatever good points you put forward. You may also lose credibility in the process.

      You have made a passing remark on Anas’s articles in Malaysia Today and I have made a brief comment in response. It would not be appropriate for me to analyze in detail under this article. We have to give respect to the writer. As for none of your Christian friends in the peninsular calling their god Allah, that is because they do not worship in Malay. Perhaps, you do not have Sarawakian Christian friends or even Peranakan Christian friends to check with. Maybe you should check with Farouq Omaro who, I am sure, has lots of Malay-speaking Christian relatives and friends too. Do you not trust him? Talking about trust, if you do not even trust your Muslim brother, how are you going to trust your other fellow Malaysians?

      Semuaok has been giving all those references and I doubt you have gone through all of them. You keep on harping that it is not 400 years ago that the Christians in East Malaysia has been using the word while Semuaok has clarified that the word has been used in the first Indonesian translation 4 centuries ago and later versions have retained the use of the word. And these later versions found their way to Sarawak and the surrounding regions.

    • Adam says:

      Part 2/3

      You have stated that “Christianity was first introduced in Sabah in the 1880s to the Hakkas” but you fail to read that Spanish missionaries coming mainly from neighboring Philippines resulted in Christianity being spread amongst Kadazans in Sabah. And the Spanish were in the region from the 16th century till late 19th century. And with the Anglo Dutch Treaty in 1824, there was freedom of movement between the British and Dutch colonies and we could understand how the Indonesian Bible found its way into Sarawak.

      It is interesting to read about the spread of Christianity in Malaysia and Indonesia in Wikipedia. While Islam was strong in Malaya, Java and Sumatra, Christianity flourished fairly well in the Eastern areas of Timor, Moluccas, Papua and Celebes spreading into Borneo. The White Rajahs ruled Sarawak for about 100 years and supported an Anglican ministry from 1847 and Catholics were later admitted. In 1928, the Australian Borneo Evangelical Mission began their work. So, all these happened well before Sarawak joined Malaysia in 1963.

      Now, the big question is what language Bibles have the Christians there been using all these while? Is there a possibility that they had used the English Bibles earlier and slowly switched to the Alkitab after joining Malaysia? I believe the lingua franca of the region in those days would be Malay-Indonesian and the Alkitab has been used all the time to this day. Semuaok has also confirmed this. We could also get a neutral party to go over there and do the research, but it is going to be a waste of time and effort as no person of faith would purposely use an incorrect term for his/her God with the agenda to convert others. And I was not mocking you. I just pointed out that you are the one doing it. The Christians will never say that Allah is not so important to Muslims.

    • Adam says:

      Part 3/3

      Apparently, you only know of Tanah Melayu and not much about our other fellow citizens in East Malaysia. The East Malaysians are also Bumiputras in their own right and you have to be fair to them. When the British pushed for Sabah and Sarawak to join Malaya and Singapore to form Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines protested as both countries had historical ties with the Borneo States. Fortunately or unfortunately, the British wanted their colonies to stick together.

      And how many times have I said that, while Islam uses Allah for most if not all languages, Christianity generally uses the name of God in the language being spoken. So, while the Arab, Maltese and Malay-Indonesian speaking Christians use Allah, the other Christians use other Godly names. That does not mean they do not respect the word. If you change the National Anthem from Tuhan to Allah, you can expect protests from other religions instead. On the other hand, if the Alkitab were to change Allah to Tuhan, you would still not be happy as “kepercayaan kepada Tuhan” may then mean the Christian God. You would be stuck in another catch-22.

      The only sensible solution is to remain status quo. You just need to explain to your own adherents the differences between Allah in Islam and Christianity. If you still feel very badly about it, you could go and discuss with the Christians concerned if they could kindly consider changing the Name. You cannot just ban the word from being used by others. The ban of the word could neither be enforced nor defended.

  38. Aero says:

    Hereby comes an interesting fact to know, as pointed by Adam that churches: And trust me too, that “the Church does not have any ulterior motive in keeping the tradition of using the word other than to attend to the spiritual needs of their flock. To you, it may be merely a translation issue but to them, that Name above all Names is in their Holy book for generations”.

    Can you clearly type out what ‘word’ or ‘Name’ that was emphasized there? If churches indeed wish to attend to the spiritual needs of their flock, then I must stress that to Malay, it will simply be ‘Tuhan’. However, do know that to a MUSLIM Malay, it is much more than a tradition but more to a requirement to call ‘Allah’ as it is. All is fine if the word ‘Tuhan’ is used in the church context, because it is then precisely regarded as a Malay translation to God. Now having said that, where is this all this absurdity coming from? The name ‘Allah’ should immediately be discarded if you really put some serious thought into my points here. Translation is one thing, blasphemous copying is another.

    While at that, I find Mr Semuaok points to be, at a point, farcical and ultimately display his true character. Twisting information won’t get you anywhere, and giving reference to another thread in a political based website is not helping much either. This is an issue of faith and belief, not some mere whims and fancies for sinister agendas.

  39. Aero says:

    To JW Tan, I believe the word you meant was ‘intimidation’ rather ‘threat’. Intimidation to our Muslim friends’ faith, an intimidation to a peaceful and proper practise of a religion. Either way, the only intimidation, or threat as you call it, is by they themselves who are championing this blind cause for ‘Allah’ to be used in churches. These are the people who are making themselves an intimidation to an already peaceful Malaysia. Seek the truth, rather than popularist comments.

    • JW Tan says:

      Really? In a country with a majority Muslim population, the use of the word ‘Allah’ in a few churches by people whose mother tongue is Bahasa Malaysia is intimidating? There are not many other ways a segment of the population under 5% can intimidate another segment over 50%.

      Or, if like me, you find the paragraph above nonsensical, here is an alternative interpretation:

      Malaysia does not have freedom of religion. The religious majority employ every tactic they possibly can in order to prevent religious minority from practising freedom of worship, never mind freedom of religion, down to and including making ridiculous claims like ‘intimidation’.

  40. ellese says:

    Where were you? Why are you repeating issues which has been dealt before? The issue has never been how it is used in Arabia. It’s how it’s used in BM. Here in BM no one else refers to Allah other than the Muslims’ god. It’s similar to English. Allah has been referred to as the Muslims’ god. That’s why the English bibles don’t refer to Allah as it has an exclusive meaning in the English language. How it appears in Arabia doesn’t matter kan? So what ridiculous argument you’re bringing here? Read my lips. It’s a translation issue in BM and not other Tok nenek language. From rukun Negara to state anthems, Allah has always been understood to refer to exclusively the Muslims’ God. The Christian can use the capital TUHAN. You cannot translate lord to Allah. This is cheapskate low class dubious translation.

    • JW Tan says:

      All true… for you, perhaps. However, you, or even the government, are not the arbiter of how people interpret or apply context to certain words. The people who wish to refer to the Christian god as ‘Allah’ have their reasons for doing so, which mainly boil down to the fact that it is how they interpret the word ‘Allah’. It is done. You can’t undo understanding. All you can do is learn to live with it.

      This debate is equivalent to:

      * The French establishment trying to legislate against the creep of English and Arabic loan words (like ‘weekend’).

      * The Turkmenistan president trying to rename all the months of the year (mainly after himself and his family)

      * The Icelandic government referring to a girl as ‘Girl’ in official documents because her name is not in the permitted list of girl’s names

      If they all sound faintly ridiculous, that’s because they are. The ‘Allah’ debate is no different, despite all the heated emotion being wasted on it. Language evolves. We just need to evolve alongside.

      • Flag of Truth says:

        Adam..

        So in your logic, the government of the day does not possess the right to be an arbiter in this issue. Ok, and who should be the arbiter? I hope that you are not suggesting the Catholic Church :) . You see we are living in a world where freedom is allowed by the constitution but freedom must be within limits permitted by law. There is no total freedom in this world. I care more for this country’s stability. It is better to be firm on this issue now rather than to deal with it later.

        • Adam says:

          Flag of Truth,

          Your comment should be directed at JW Tan. Anyway, since my name is mentioned, I will give my 2 cents worth.

          Our civil courts should be the right arbiter for most issues such as this. The syariah court should not arbitrate on this issue as there would be a conflict of interest. Even for the civil courts, the judges to be appointed to hear this case should be non-Muslim, non-Christian, non-Sikh and all those who do not have any bias on this issue.

          Yes, we do not have complete freedom in many ways and laws are there to protect the rights of all. However, certain laws made are against certain human rights and should therefore be challenged. A good example is this state law on the ban of the word. Although enacted in the 80s, it was never enforced until a few years ago.

          If you want to be firm, it should have been done immediately after the ban. You may say better late than never. Yes but as you can see from the furor being stirred up, this law is flawed from day one and could not be enforced for so many reasons. JW should be able to give you all the reasons. I think he has already done that.

          • Flag of Truth says:

            LOL.. sorry for the mistake Adam. I have to say that I would agree to whatever solution that will result in a win-win situation, where no one will feel offended (although this is quite an uphill task).

          • Adam says:

            Flag of Truth,

            I am glad that you agree to take a reconciliatory stance instead of a confrontational one. In any conflict when violence has been used to settle it, the chances are that it would be more of a lose-lose situation although one party would come out “victorious”. Take the current Sabah/Sulu conflict, I have no doubt that Malaysia will come out on top but we have already lost a few fellow citizens. And the sad thing is that it would not just end there as violence begets violence and the Sulu people would be out to avenge their fallen brothers. It would be a long drawn affair and I fear for the people on both sides of the divide. May good sense prevail.

        • JW Tan says:

          No one can be the arbiter. Why should there be one? How can there be one?

          Here’s an example – you might not appreciate the parallel, but the analogy holds:

          You might tell young children not to swear, but they’re going to learn the words anyway. Whether or not they use those words is up to them. Even if you declare swear words to be illegal (and some schools do), you’re not going to undo the knowledge and understanding of swear words.

  41. ellese says:

    Marcus, either you’re a foreigner or a simply an ignorant malaysian. Please note that we have agreed to uphold the principle that there is no proselytizing to Muslims. Every constitution is different but each carries the values that the society finds harmonious due to historical and sociological underpinnings. So if you’re a Malaysian you agree to uphold our constitution and must prevent Christians from propagating to the Muslims as this is wrong. I’m not going into the historical aspect of this but to give you a short shrift in history why it was there. It was called Tanah Melayu where Islam was the governing law. Courts during the British era had even recognized Islamic laws as laws of the land. I don’t believe we still get this kind of utterly ignorant question from a Malaysian. If you’re a foreigner, please read our laws and constitution and history first.

    • JW Tan says:

      I’m sorry, but that’s terrible reasoning. Our constitution still needs to serve the Malaysian people, and if there’s something in there that doesn’t sit right, then we ought to speak up and challenge it.

      Constitutions are not inviolate. Even the famous US constitution has been amended 27 times in the country’s 200 year history, 4 times in the last 50 years alone. Our Malaysian constitution is a far more variable document, amended more than 40 times, with nearly 700 individual changes, since independence. If we Malaysians actually respected our constitution, we’d be outraged at how easily its nature can be changed. In my view, many changes are not for the better. It should be a difficult process to change the constitution, and I strongly believe the rakyat should agree [to] each amendment.

      I also believe our constitution is self-contradictory – it specifies freedom of religion but in the same clause allows the state to arrogate legislation on propagation of religion to itself. That is not freedom of religion. In any case this is later contradicted by the clause on Islam.

      • Marcus says:

        @JW Tan

        Regarding the freedom of religion point.

        That is true especially if one takes the view that for certain religions in which propagation is a central tenent, it is the logical conclusion of the outward profession of one’s faith. A most obvious example is Christianity and its Great Commission.

        Hence there are 3 facets to true freedom of religion: freedom to profess, freedom to practice and freedom to propagate. In this sense, contrast Singapore Constitution’s Art 15 with our Art 11.

    • Marcus says:

      Ellese, thank you for your response and less-than-kind comments.

      The Constitution is not the “be-all and end-all” of how we can or choose to organise society and social relations. Constitutional rules/laws can be amended and abolished. It is for subsequent generations to question whether the laws that their forefathers laid down for them are appropriate for the realities of their time, in tandem with progressions of human thought and values. If they are not, then they should be amended or abolished to better reflect the ordering of social relations among men [and women].

      If people were stuck in the same static mindset like you, I don’t suppose archaic practices like institutional slavery or apartheid would have been abolished, for the sole reason that their forefathers agreed that such practices were the law of the land.

      In any case, I raised proselytism as a rhetorical question to invite people to think about why it is purportedly so taboo. Come on lah, if America could enact a Non-Establishment clause and guarantee freedom of religion more than 2 centuries ago, why can’t we start to advance in the same direction?

      I know the laws and the sociological and historical context of it. But you still haven’t provided a normative justification of why we shouldn’t have a religious free market in Malaysia, or more generally in any society on Earth.

  42. ellese says:

    Adam,

    Thank you for your reply but I have to say that you did not assert anything more than what I’ve already stated.

    1) I have stated earlier that Christianity came to Sabah in 1880s to the Hakkas. Your allusion to the Spanish period and the Anglo Dutch treaty does not prove Christianity was introduced by them earlier than 1880s. Bear in mind that even in southern Philippines then they were Muslims under auspices of Kesultanan Sulu. Until now its still a Muslim territory and claimed by Sultan Sulu. And mind you they don’t use Malay. The lingua franca is the Tausug language. I can’t follow your argument. If the Spanish wanted to introduce Christianity in that region they would have used Tausug bible lah. Seriously I think this is an unproven argument. So I put it to you, put to us all the evidence showing Christianity was introduced in Sabah earlier than 1880s to the Hakka? Then also show us when the BM bible was used? Hakkas don’t use Allah.

    2) Your Sarawak write up confirms one which I’ve written before. BEM started the missionaries to convince the bumis in 1928. But you fail to add (purposely??) that they embarked on the translation in the 1950s together with Indonesian missionaries. In any even you debunked the argument that bm bible was used for 400 years as alleged by the Christians. Magsukul Adam (thank you in tausug).

    3) Third, your argument on farouq is silly. Please don’t use the argument that since farouq is Muslim, I must “trust” him?? This is a deceitful diversionary argument. He failed to provide proof that peranakans used the bm bible since 400 years [ago]. Since I called his bluff, I would like to call yours. Put to us evidence that peranakan has used [the] bible for 400 years. Mind you even the orang Asli was introduced to Christians in 1930s.

    4) Don’t con us with arguments that since Allah is used in the Indonesian language ipso facto its used here. There are many Indonesian words not used in bm. In particular, as we know it, Allah is used exclusively to muslim’s god in BM.

    5) you’ve just confirmed my contention that the name of Allah is not important in Christianity. In your word Christians name their god according to the language used. Here in Malaysia in BM, Allah is used exclusively to the Muslim’s god. There’s tuhan and like English you can capitalize it as Tuhan. As I said its a translation issue and nothing more. We can find a suitable translation for the word “lord” in BM. It’s wrong to say the Christians are praying to the Muslim’s god as they don’t recognize one. If true, we change the English bible as well.

    5) Your argument that you don’t want to change rukun Negara to Allah as you’re afraid others will object smacks hypocrisy. If you argue Allah is a generic word for god, why should others object. Use your same argument of 400 years Allah has been used non exclusively to refer to god lah. Like you said you use to name god according to the words used in that language. Why suddenly you’re concerned that others may object but not concerned when majority which are muslims object?

    [...]

    Ps: btw thanks for the reference. It shows again it’s a translation issue, the name of god is immaterial to Christians and this issue arose through the Indonesian angle. We’re in Malaysia. Our language is not the same though similar in many ways. Their language has developed differently and many Indonesian words have different meaning. Otherwise Indonesians must think we’re mad for unnecessarily building many huge highways since almost all of us go to work using “Kereta”. In Indonesia, Kereta refers to the train and not cars. That’s how ridiculous this argument of suddenly needing to use Indonesian language and words here in Malaysia because of the need to justify the BM bible.

    • Adam says:

      (Part 1/4)
      Ellese,

      Thank you for your response which I could only view a couple of days back due to a few glitches as reported by The Nut Graph. And through the weekend, I have searched the internet and studied the history of the South East Asian region from the days of the Hindu and Buddhist empires of Srivijaya and Majapahit prior to the 13th century through to the Islamisation of the region by Indian, Arab and Chinese Muslim traders in the 14th and 15th centuries, followed by the colonisation of the region by mainly Europeans from the 16th century to the 20th century. It was such an interesting read that I lost track of the time. Anyway, I should have gathered enough information to answer you point by point.

      1) You did mention that “Christianity was first introduced in Sabah in the 1880s to the Hakkas” which I contested. If you check the timeline of the Spanish presence in the Philippines from the 1560s to 1898 and according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Sabah, the Sultanate of Sulu gave up its territories to Spain within the late 1700s. Therefore, the Spanish did occupy North Borneo for some time until the Madrid Protocol of 1885, when Spain relinquished all claim to North Borneo but had cemented Spanish influence over the islands of the Philippines. The Spanish brought the Catholic faith to the Kadazans while the British brought in the Protestant faith later. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadazan-Dusun and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Malaysia. And I did not say that the Alkitab was used. In fact, the Kadazan-Dusuns have their own language Bibles which can be sourced online at http://kadazanbiblesociety.blogspot.com/2012/08/kadazan-tindal-and-murut-timogun-full.html

    • Adam says:

      (Part 2/4)
      2) Sarawak, before the days of the White Rajahs, fell under Dutch Indonesian influence through Kalimantan. Some of the tribes such as Dayaks and Ibans are common to both regions. The Ibans have their own Bup Kudus which can be read online at http://m.youversion.com/bible/tdir-iba/john/1. They call their God “Allah Taala”. And why are you so obsessed with the 400 years of the first translation of the Gospel of Matthew when the word “Allah” was first used. I had explained in my last response that “it is not 400 years ago that the Christians in East Malaysia have been using the word while Semuaok has clarified that the word has been used in the first Indonesian translation 4 centuries ago and later versions have retained the use of the word. And these later versions found their way to Sarawak and the surrounding regions”. For the timeline of the various revisions and events, please refer to http://sejarah.sabda.org/bagan/kronologis_penerjemahan_alkitab_bahasa_indonesia.htm. You could read a sample of verses of the different versions at http://sejarah.sabda.org/bagan/perbandingan_ayat_alkitab_bahasa_indonesia.htm.

      For argument’s sake, you mentioned that “BEM embarked on the translation in the 1950s together with Indonesian missionaries”. It was before Sarawak joined Malaya and that shows that they had no ulterior motives. They could have joined Indonesia for all they knew or just become independent.

      3. Of course, I do not expect you to agree with Farouq. My point is that Muslims are divided on this issue and if you ask Muslims worldwide, most will agree that Allah is not the monopoly of Muslims only. As for the evidence of the Peranakan Alkitab, please refer to http://sejarah.sabda.org/sejarah/ver_melayu_baba.htm. It was published with the help of some people from “Malaka” and has been used for generations. For a sample of verses with the word, please refer to previous quoted link. Sorry, it was published only in 1913 and not 400 years ago.

    • Adam says:

      (Part 3/4)
      4.Just as you are using the Arabic Koran here, why can’t the Christians use another Bible version here? Is it because the Arabic Koran is in its original language and the Alkitab is not? Please bear in mind that the Old Testament was written in Aramaic/Hebrew and if the Koran contains certain Old Testament books, translation would have taken place. And BM does not belong to the Malays just as English does not belong to the English. Just because you use the word as a pronoun, you cannot claim exclusivity and ownership of the word. Full stop!

      5. I do not know how to make you understand that a rose by any other name, smells as sweet. Whether it is bunga mawar or bunga ros, it will smell just as sweet. By saying that the name of Allah is not important to Christianity because it is used by only a section of Christians is like saying that the names of God, Elohim, Jehovah or Yahweh are also not so important as they are used by only certain sections of Christians. And can I extend this rationale that all the names of the God of Prophet Abraham/Ibrahim are not as important as they are only used by certain sections of His believers whether Jews, Christians or Muslims? Definitely NO! I say to you that even if only one person worships our Almighty in any Name, in spirit and in truth, it is just as important.

      6. As for “Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan, perhaps only the atheist would object as the term “Tuhan” is the common name for God. As for substituting the word with Allah, Muslims and Christians used to that Name would recite the Rukun Negara with gusto while Christians not used to calling their God by that name would be uncomfortable. It is like after calling one’s father Abah from birth and he suddenly asks you call him Dad. The other religious faiths would object vehemently as it is like calling your father Papa from birth and someone asking you to call his/her father Dad. Of course, you would not mind if you are going to marry him/her.

      • Flag of Truth says:

        #Adam

        Arabic is the Qu’ran’s language (the language in the Qu’ran is quite different from the language used by the Arabs today). If you want to refer to your God in Bahasa then use ‘Tuhan’ instead. Miss Ellese has proven that to Christians, how they call ‘God’ is immaterial. Now I want to raise this question again. Why does the Catholic church insist on having ‘Allah’ in their Bahasa Melayu translation if they do not have a hidden agenda?

        • Adam says:

          Flag of Truth,

          The truth is that the Malay-speaking East Malaysian Christians and the Peranakan Christians have been using the word since a long time ago and definitely well before Merdeka and the formation of Malaysia.

          As per my point 5 above, to you it may be immaterial for them to use any name for God, but to those who have been using the word since birth, it is as important as you using the word. You cannot just ban it abruptly and expect no response from them. Even if they could be persuaded to change, it will take a generation or two.

          • Flag of Truth says:

            Just because the East Malaysian Christians used it before the formation of Malaysia (I dont know if there are any peranakan Christians who used ‘Allah’) doesn’t mean that it justifies the argument (that the word Allah should be printed in the Malay Bible). I just want to know, why must [it be] in BM, not in kadazan dusun language or iban language?.. and why use this word that is so alien to Catholics? [...] I am able to guess the answer and only the Catholic church in malaysia knows the reason :) . Whatever tactics that the Catholic church is trying to do, it will not work in Malaysia. In Malaysia, things are not the same as Indonesia :)

          • Adam says:

            Flag of Truth,

            The fact that Malaysian Christians have been using the Alkitab from way back before Merdeka and the formation of Malaysia, indicates that there has been no secret agenda in the Christians trying to influence the Muslims. Sabah and Sarawak could have easily become independent countries, had they not formed Malaysia.

            As for the Peranakan Christians, please refer to the link under point 3 above which mentioned that “The Straight Times pada tanggal 3 Desember 1977 kita mengetahui bahwa terjemahan in telah dipakai secara luas oleh tiga generasi baba nyonya di Singapura, Malaka dan Penang.”

            And for your information, Kadazan-Dusuns and Ibans have their own language Bibles. You have not read my full response to Ellesea probably due to your “What for” attitude. Please refer to point 1 for the Kadazan-Dusun Bible reference and point 2 for the Ibans’ Bup Kudus which uses “Allah Taala”.

            As for justification on the use of the word in the Alkitab, you have to understand the origins and development of the Malay/Indonesian language over time. I have expounded this in part 4/4 below. In short, the Malay language has its origins in Sumatra and has Sanskrit and Arabic influences. There have Bibles in Arabic Jawi versions as well. Please refer to http://sejarah.sabda.org/sejarah/ver_keasberry.htm which shows Munsyi Abdullah’s involvement.

            So, please be open-minded and do not be suspicious of other people. I believe people who put smileys on their comments have a sense of humour and are usually confident of themselves. Cheers.

    • Adam says:

      (Part 4/4)
      As for the state anthems using the word, that is not a problem as Allah in those contexts would refer to the Muslim God of the Sultans. Of course, the other religious faiths would also want their respective God(s) to bless the sultans. Whether the sultans would accept that is another matter. There is no hypocrisy here.

      PS. We both agree that languages cannot remain static and would evolve with adaptation to the times. Just as Bahasa Melayu in Jawi scripts has evolved to Bahasa Malaysia with the Romanised alphabets, relevant books written long ago would need to be revised accordingly. Malay and Indonesian languages have a common origin in Sumatra beginning with the Old Malay being influenced by Sanskrit from Srivijaya times. With the advent of the Muslim kingdoms, Malay evolved through a few periods with written scripts in Arabic Jawi and later to Latin alphabets.

      Both Malaysia and Indonesia adopt Modern Malay as their national language with the Indonesians having more Dutch influence and Malaysians having British influence [continued in next comment].

      • Adam says:

        Dear Editor,

        The last paragaph above is not complete. Please replace as below:

        Both Malaysia and Indonesia adopt Modern Malay as their national language with the Indonesians having more Dutch influence and Malaysians having British influence. That is how Indonesia has “mobil” and Malaysia has “kereta” becoming “motokar”. While everyday terms could evolve quite easily with frequent usage, Holy books, by their nature, have to be researched and consensus obtained before revisions are made.

        Hope my lengthy reply clarifies your various points. To The Nut Graph, my apologies for posting so many links and all errors under your care. Cheers.

  43. ellese says:

    Dear JW,

    The last time we argued, you were defending a racist segregation education policy based on chauvinistic/ superiority complex reasons. I told you it’s wrong and misguided.

    Now your write [up] on our constitution is wholly misguided. Our constitution was never built by idealism. Unlike e.g Indian constitution, it doesn’t have a preamble of guiding principles. It’s a result of compromises and of give and take of our forefathers in order to achieve common and shared goals. Our constitution is like a rainbow. We recognize every colour of the rainbows and gel together with compromises to achieve unity. That’s why it’s not and never ideal. It’s a convergence of values. For example our constitution can never be categorized as secular nor does it fall within the strict meaning of [an] Islamic constitution. (Please see my debate with art harun at his blog). It’s a compromise between the two. It even recognizes racist segregation education policy as espoused by you.

    So we have agreed freedom of religion is allowed but no propagation to the Muslims. Previously this was a Tanah Melayu (malaya) and even the courts during the British colonial era have admitted Islamic law [was] the law of the land. So there was then a compromise and [a] give and take on various issues. We’ve agreed to retain many of many of those Islamic features and sensitivities. There are many provisions protecting Malays and Muslims. Your forefathers agreed to uphold it and as [a] Malaysian you must uphold it.

    But does it mean you can’t change? Yes you can and the constitution provides various manner of changes. There is no constitution in the world which requires everyone’s permission to amend. This is a ludicrous suggestion by you as everyone has different views. FYI under our constitution some provisions need majority voting. Some need 2/3. But those intrinsic to our values and characters require a further consent from the sultan. They have a very important function in protecting the religion.

    So don’t come up with a whimsical argument of amending our constitution ignoring the condtituional spirit, values and principles we’ve agreed to uphold. Read and understand it. It’s very detailed say as compared to US. Of course we will then have more amendments. To include Sabah and Sarawak we had to do 120 amendments. There are many provisions required due to progress in time. For example number of judges or amount of grant. Takkan nak sama. Don’t use a generalist argument that we must be outraged because of the amendments and in the same sentence propose some more amendments to our constitution. It’s a funny way to argue.

    • JW Tan says:

      Oh please. You no more understood my view on our constitution than you understood my views on education policy. Or you’re purposely caricaturing what I say in order to provide an easy straw man for you to knock down.

      Everything you wrote on our constitution can be summarised as follows: it is a mishmash of compromises and pragmatism. Fine. But let’s not pretend that it is anything other than that. As such, I believe it no longer serves Malaysians since it entrenches the rule of a racially and religiously chauvinistic majority. Why? Because it’s so easily changed to do so. So yes, I am an advocate of changing the constitution, and making it hard to change. There is no contradiction.

      I love my country, and am sad to see it starting down the road that leads to Syria and Zimbabwe. We seem to like buzzwords like ‘freedom of religion’ and ‘equality before the law’ but never actually have the gumption to put them into practice. That is now catching up with us.

  44. Adam says:

    In searching for articles relevant to this issue, I come across a beautifully written article titled “The Gospel According to Barisan Nasional” at http://www.loyarburok.com/2011/04/08/the-gospel-according-to-barisan-nasional/ . It was posted almost 2 years ago and I have forgotten I have actually read it and even posted a short comment. There was someone else by the name of Anon C who had also posted a few comments which were quite familiar on points and content. Perhaps, Ellese could throw some light on this.

  45. Adam says:

    Dear Editor,

    What is happening? Seems like new comments are not visible unless we add another new comment.

    Editor’s note: We had a few glitches with the site which we hope have been resolved by now. Do let us know if you are still encountering problems.

  46. Flag of Truth says:

    To the editor of nutgraph.

    I can see that lots of my reply to certain individuals (that has been posted here) have been deleted. Now I understand what miss ellese says about this website and its hidden agenda. If nutgraph is totally a medium that supports freedom of speech then they should not delete my comments.

    Right. I will try again to answer mr kong kek kuat’s claim that I am being a fake because I have 2 profiles. I am rather ‘amused’ by his ignorance even when I have given explanation on how this thing happened. and all my comments under these two profiles is the same statement because of technical mistakes. But it seems that he wants to be ignorant of it :)

    I would also like to express my deepest concern on why the editor deleted my comment on the difference between Christian Maronites and Catholics. Now I am sure that the nutgraph has some kind of the church influence on them. If not why delete my comment?. Christian Maronites are more on [the] monophysitic concept rather than the trinity of Gods concept and the catholic church’s demands to use Allah is totally baseless. Catholics all over the world are under the influence of the vatican and this doesn’t apply to certain christian sects.

    Editor’s note: To all our commenters, kindly refer to our comments policy particularly the part on debating the ideas instead of making personal attacks. As The Nut Graph has limited resources, kindly also avoid making repetitive comments.

  47. ellese says:

    I have an issue with editorials claiming the right to censor due to repetition. I’ve written for years to know that this smacks of high-handed veiled censorship.

    Let’s take this Allah issue. The Nut Graph editors have been repeating this issue for the umpteenth time. There is no issue for The Nut Graph to repeat this issue time and again without any new argument. And every time they spin this issue they must expect a vehement opposite reaction from Muslims, if not from me. I have proven many times and called people’s bluff that the church spun a lie about 400 years of history but since its not on The Nut Graph’s agenda, they won’t carry out such views, what more other contrary views. So far, I’ve respected The Nut Graph for publishing contrarian responses but the latest excuse to censor views based on subjective repetitive comments smacks of utter hypocrisy. If The Nut Graph adopts this stand, they too must stop publishing repetitive publications. Be fair and balanced. Adopt the US’s SPJ ethical standards of fair western journalism.

  48. ellese says:

    Jahat betul these Christians and I hope you’re not part of it. The sources you quoted were amended by them to deceive. Some of the sources you quoted expressly stated prior to this that Christianity was introduced in Sabah to the Hakkas in the 1880s. After my highlight, it was then amended with an unproven and unsubstantiated statement that the Kadazans were introduced to Christianity by the Spanish much, much earlier. There’s no evidence adduced to this.

    If you care to read the sources you quoted, there’s no evidence that the Spanish was physically in Sabah. These lies were created recently and they think people can’t discern. Don’t they realise that the more they fabricate, the more inconsistent the historical facts become.

    Now please be informed that the Sulu Sultan signed the treaty which purported to cede Sabah to Spain in 1851 after the attack by Spain in Jolo. The treaty was disputed on whether there was cessation. The International Court of Justice acknowledged the cessation only happened in 1885 aje. And please bear in mind that by 1851, the Sulu Sultan was only controlling a part of Sabah (coastal areas) as the rest were controlled by the Bulungan Sultanate.

    So much so is the doubt of effective control by the Spanish, the British signed lease agreements of the Sabah area with the Sulu Sultan, and not Spain in 1761 and again in 1878. What happened to the Spanish?

    The 1885 Madrid Treaty only confirms what’s on the ground and the British wanted it badly. Please bear in mind that the US position is that Sabah was never ceded to Spain and objected to the British annexation through the Madrid Treaty.

    So stop these lies to deceive. You’re going to amend a lot on Wikipedia to be consistent. You cannot hide the truth lah. The Spanish at best has de jure control in 1878 aje. In 1882 please be mindful the British made Kudat the capital. Bila hari pula Spain came to Sabah to convert? Prove it. Don’t give unsubstantiated argument.

    I am very angry with the deception in Wikipedia. I will record this on my blog to record this disgusting, deceitful act in order to win the Allah argument. Rubbish.

    • Adam says:

      (Part 1/2)
      Ellese, oh Ellese,

      Now you are saying the Christians are evil and deceivers by amending information on internet sources such as Wikipedia. You must be one of those who think that it is ok to lie to advance one’s agenda. I understand that Islam has such a principle called Taqiyya to advance the cause of the religion. But it does not work nowadays. Once you are caught lying which is quite easy to detect nowadays, people will lose trust and faith in you and what you stand for. It is better to stick to the truth as you will need more and more lies to cover up an initial lie.

      In Wikipedia, you could amend what is written but you have to back it up with supporting documents and references. You make it sound so easy to amend historical events. For the Spanish religious influence in Borneo, I referred you to the website of the Catholic Church in Kota Kinabalu at http://www.kkdiocese.net/about/roots-attempts.cnt and http://www.kkdiocese.net/about/roots-mission.cnt. A few years ago, they even celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first officially recognised apostolic mission to North Borneo. A news report of this event is located at: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=10211.

      As I read about the early exploits of the missionaries, I really marvel at their strong faith to have come half way round the world to preach God’s word. In those days, the life expectancy of those men was really short; some drowned in the rough seas, some died of tropical diseases and some were even eaten by the wild natives especially in Papua.

    • Adam says:

      (Part 2/2)
      As for the Sulu kingdom, there appears to be some confusion in the various treaties and agreements signed between the Sulu Sultanate with the Spanish and British. According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultanate_of_Sulu, the Sultan signed a grant/lease agreement with Britain on 22 January 1878 and 6 months later on 22 July 1878, he signed another agreement with the Spanish relinquishing sovereign rights over all his possessions. So, whether grant or lease, the Sulu Sultan would have lost the North Borneo territory and the British should have given the yearly payments to Spain until 1885 when the Madrid Protocol was signed.

      Now, the ICJ has recognised the Sulu/Spanish treaty based on Bases of Peace and Capitulation signed by Sultan of Sulu and Spain in Jolo on 22 July 1878 (see the Wiki notes) and it makes sense that the British, having recognised Sulu’s sovereignty over North Borneo by the grant/lease agreement, pushed for the Madrid Protocol to prevent Spain from claiming the territory. The presence of the British at Kudat in 1882 was a result of the agreement signed in 1878. The Spanish were too busy fighting the Sulus to set up base on Sabah. I bet as soon as the victorious Spanish left the area, the Sultan became king again and with the Chinese supplying arms, the Sulu Sultan wanted to fight to win back the territory. They are still trying until this day.

      So, you want to revise the information on Wiki? Please make sure you have all the citations and references. Do not just tembak je. Cheers.

  49. semuaok says:

    Aero says:
    February 9, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Let me stress again: Show me a Bible or any of the Testaments that have a single word of “Allah” in it.

    ===

    Aero, I have not visited this topic for sometime as I am bored of the irrational and narrow arguments posted by Flag of Truth and Ellese.

    Here is a quotation from the Bible alluding to the Arabs hearing the preaching of the Apostles after receiving the Holy Spirit. (Of course you people will deny it – don’t blame you though.)

    ACT
    1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

    6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

    11 Cretans and Arabs — in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.
    ===

    So the Arabs have always referred to God in Arabic as “Allah” even before Muhammad became a prophet. What do you think the Arabs heard when the Apostles were preaching about God? Tuhan?

    • Aero says:

      I’m sorry Semuaok, but your point has yet to materialize into some solid proof – [that] the word ‘Allah’ itself [is] in the Bible or any scripture of the Christians. If you are referring to the oral means of representing Allah in the case above, for all you know there can be more than one possibility. Elohim, Yahweh, El-Olam, El-Elyon, El Shaddai; choose one which you find most suitable. It’s wise not to drag in a sacred name as Allah into your vague argument. Let’s ask [the] Vatican whether this holds any water, if you have the guts.

    • Flag of Truth says:

      You are actually ignorant of why the Arabs during pre-Muhamad era use the word Allah. It is because they have been used to the prophet Abraham’s teaching but as time goes by the Arabs namely the khuzaah and quraisy drifted so far away from the true teaching of prophet Abraham. They become idol worshippers and believed in animism too and Allah becomes one of the words that they used to refer to God. Of course there are some Arabs who still believe in Abraham’s teaching and they worship Allah as the One and Only. But the main idea is, why on earth do the CATHOLICs want to claim this word?.. A word that has never been used by the Catholic church in any part of the world. Not in the Philippines, nor in Brazil.. certainly not in the holy Vatican :) . I can see that the Catholic church has a hidden agenda here :)

  50. ellese says:

    My goodness Adam, you’re still propounding untruths and dare I say, lies.

    Let us recap. I said Christianity came to Sabah in 1882. You then alluded that the Spain’s influence came earlier “since 1700″ and thus Christianity was introduced much earlier. You then quoted a source from Wiki on this and claimed you have read the histories on this.

    I click on your Wiki link and found that it has been recently amended. I clicked on the source of that statement and found that the source is not substantiated, is irrelevant and wrong. I checked the history of Sulus and told you that your assertion on Spain being in Sabah is rubbish.

    Then you replied acknowledging that Spain never probably set a foot in Sabah and had the temerity to call me lying. You’re rubbish. Please have intellectual integrity to defend your assertion. You have been found wanting in quoting wrong and unsubstantiated sources and misreading historical facts. Enough said.

    • Adam says:

      Part 1/2

      My dear Ellese,

      Now, you are calling me “rubbish” and a liar too. I feel sad that a civil discourse such as this could degenerate into such name calling. Has our education system deteriorated to such a level that Malaysians have to resort to such unsavory, discourteous and unpleasant remarks when presenting our opposing views?

      I did not indicate that you were lying. Please read my comments again. You were accusing the Christians of amending information to mislead people and I have tried to explain that it would be advisable not to willfully lie under the present circumstances when information could be counter-checked and verified by just a few clicks. And one should not lie for God and religion, not in this age.

      I have posted a few links to present my assertions that Christianity came to North Borneo earlier than 1881. The Catholic KK website has posted their historical roots and as their early history was not substantiated, I have posted the first properly recognised mission in 1855 by the Spanish captain turned missionary by the name of Carlos Cuarteron. In case you do not trust the Catholic website, I post another link on the priest at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Cuarteron .

      The Wiki link on the Sultanate of Sulu has been recently updated to include the intrusion by the armed Suluk group and the references by Star Online and other news media are posted. The historical events are still there and not changed.

      • Aero says:

        I still cannot comprehend your eagerness, Adam, or be it others like Mr semuaok, on having Allah seriously used as a ‘linguistic’ term in the ‘local’ Christianity. This is almost laughable to know that the church is sweating [...] over such [an] immaterial objective. “To suit the flock of crowds from one ethnicity” is not a good excuse my friend. As I said, ‘Tuhan’ suffices very much indeed without going over the line of creating ruckus among the religions of the world.

        You see, you can go all the way down to the history of Adam and Eve if you might, but none have truly shown that Christianity had Allah in their scriptures or practice. To simply generalize that every peribumi had used Allah as their God in their Christian faith is relatively misleading; even if it is true for a few, it had been a case of unethical reference to a God by irresponsible individuals from the start. Personally and I believe to many Muslims, this is not just a justification in the eyes of law or mere excuses; but leans more on the ethics and good will of the propagators. In this case, I view the propagators having no good will in championing their narrow religious point of view, even less of other religions.

        • Adam says:

          Aero,

          I am on the side of fairness and justice to those who have been using the word for generations. You cannot just ban the word and take it out of the vocab of others. It has already been proven historically that the word has been used before the advent of Islam and Muslims cannot have monopoly of the word. You could appeal to other people not to use it or to use it with reverence but it has to be done voluntarily and not forced through.

          The appeal against the High Court judgement has been postponed for 3 long years and would be heard soon in April. If there were strong and justified reasons for the ban, do you not think that it would have already been set aside long time ago instead of the case being dragged on for ages?

          The long silence speaks for itself. It just cannot be done without losing our sense of fairness and justice. If only you could be as open-minded as your other Brethrens, Malaysians or worldwide who have accepted that Allah is for all and how each perceive Him to be is entirely up to the individual.

    • Adam says:

      Part 2/2

      And “set foot” and “set up base” are 2 different actions. Although the Spanish might not have set up any administrative posts in North Borneo, they had made claims to the territory by a series of letters which could be referred to at http://www.quezon.ph/2013/03/01/north-borneo-sabah-an-annotated-timeline-1640s-present/#_ftn12 . It is indeed very interesting to read all the letters referred to and kept at the Official Gazette of the Philippines Government at http://www.gov.ph/1878/07/22/the-governor-of-sulu-to-baron-de-overbeck/ . The Spanish had also hoisted their flag over North Borneo and the British had objected to that. (Refer timeline April 16, 1879).

      Okay, the websites quoted above are Filipino sites and you would probably take the information found therein with a pinch of salt. But, if the Sulu Sultans were to make an official claim on Sabah through the ICJ, the Malaysian Government has better take note of all the documents available by the Filipinos/Suluks to press their claims. If not, it would not be a rock that we would lose this time but a large chunk of land with many natural resources.

      Now that I have given you more links, please try not to shoot from the hips and make yourself look silly by “rubbishing” me and the information I have posted by just saying “the source is not substantiated, is irrelevant and wrong”. The least you could do is to post other links refuting my views. And please try to maintain a certain level of common decency in our discussion instead of using offensive terms which do not add an iota to the issue at hand. I think you are a well-read and articulate person and I hate to see your arguments and points being lost in a flurry of unkind words. Enough said, really.

  51. ellese says:

    I cannot bring myself to be civil with people who are dishonest and never apologise for their dishonesty. For the record this is the assertion you made to counter my argument. Did you not write:

    “If you check the timeline of the Spanish presence in the Philippines from the 1560s to 1898 and according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Sabah, the Sultanate of Sulu gave up its territories to Spain within the late 1700s. Therefore, the Spanish did occupy North Borneo for some time until the Madrid Protocol of 1885, when Spain relinquished all claim to North Borneo but had cemented Spanish influence over the islands of the Philippines. The Spanish brought the Catholic faith to the Kadazans while the British brought in the Protestant faith later. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadazan-Dusun and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in

    Then when I pointed out the lie and reference made by the Christians, you never acknowledged and apologised for this mistake. Did you not then write:

    “… According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultanate_of_Sulu, the Sultan signed a grant/lease agreement with Britain on 22 January 1878 and 6 months later on 22 July 1878, he signed another agreement with the Spanish relinquishing sovereign rights over all his possessions. So, whether grant or lease, the Sulu Sultan would have lost the North Borneo territory and the British should have given the yearly payments to Spain until 1885 when the Madrid Protocol was signed.

    Now, the ICJ has recognised the Sulu/Spanish treaty based on Bases of Peace and Capitulation signed by the Sultan of Sulu and Spain in Jolo on 22 July 1878 (see the Wiki notes) and it makes sense that the British, having recognised Sulu’s sovereignty over North Borneo by the grant/lease agreement, pushed for the Madrid Protocol to prevent Spain from claiming the territory. The presence of the British at Kudat in 1882 was a result of the agreement signed in 1878. The Spanish were too busy fighting the Sulus to set up base on Sabah….”

    Didn’t you realise you contradicted yourself from your earlier claim that Spain occupied North Borneo since 1700. You never admitted this is wrong even after I pointed it out. You were dishonest. I don’t deal in a civil manner with a dishonest person.

    You further wrote above referring to a website with loads of history and warning Malaysia of such letters again reflects your ignorance of international law. I’ve dealt [with] and been asked to judge on international law issues and have only this to say on your ignorance: If you don’t know, don’t write. Go read the basic books on international law. Then tell me how you build your case based on the so called letters to defeat our territorial claim. You’re lucky you don’t appear before me with such whimsical foolish arguments. It’s totally rubbish. Own up all your mistakes and ignorance. So long [as] you’re dishonest, I will not be civil to you. You [have] forfeited the right of decency.

    • Adam says:

      Initially, I want to post more links to convince you further but then, I think that it would be futile when you have not even acknowledged what I have posted and instead simply dismissed them as unsubstantiated or irrelevant. So, I am going to try my hand at using your style of response to your comment.

      “You had stated that Christianity was first introduced in Sabah in the 1880s to the Hakkas. I had proven over the last few posts that Christianity came earlier and you had not even admitted your mistake. You had been dishonest to mislead people in your dubious agenda in this “Allah” issue. When we have posted so many links to the existence of the Malay/Indonesian/Baba Alkitab with the word being used so long time ago, you did not even have the courtesy to acknowledge the fact but instead “rubbished” the sources.

      Instead of answering to the message, you attack the messenger to divert attention. This is not an honorable thing to do. You have stamped your infamous footprints all over the blogosphere with your uncouth remarks and repetitive comments, so much so you have been censored and even banned in some blogs. You have not learned your lesson and have continued to sow discord among the netizens. You are indeed a vexation to the spirit and at the same time, a laughing stock to many.”

      See, it is so easy to belittle people. It only takes a few strong words and how do I sound? Very rude, right? Even though most of us are faceless when communicating on the net, we have to maintain a certain level of decorum and dignity. A good and effective debater would stick to the issues being discussed and not resort to ad hominem attacks. It is generally accepted that, when one gets personal, one would have no further intelligent points to present and is perceived to have lost the argument. Hope the point is taken

  52. Adam says:

    The battle over “Allah” has just re-started with the Court of Appeal fixing 25 April for further case management, whatever that means. And the court has also fixed May 8 to hear the appeals by 7 Islamic bodies whose application to become intervenors in the case had been rejected by the High Court.

    It is strange indeed that it has taken 3 long years for the appeals to be heard. It would also be interesting to see how the government and the Islamic bodies are going to defend their monopoly of a word and the word. I personally would look forward to hearing the court’s final judgement. I sense that it would be unprecedented and legal history in the making.

  53. semuaok says:

    To simply generalize that every peribumi had used Allah as their God in their Christian faith is relatively misleading; even if it is true for a few, it had been a case of unethical reference to a God by irresponsible individuals from the start.

    ==

    Come on , please stop this rubbish. Long before you were born Allah was used as has been shown in early translations since the 16th century. Let others praise God/Allah in peace, Allah never told you to stop others from using the term. [...]

    Also in the Bible [it] is stated that Arabs heard the apostles preaching about God in their own Arabic language which definitely refers to God as Allah (which by the way is pre Islam)

    The Book of Acts : 2 states: vs eleven especially.

    4And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues,* as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

    5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
    6At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

    7They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?

    8Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? 9We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome,

    11both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” 12

    • Aero says:

      All I’m interested in is seeing one word of ALLAH as a reference to GOD in the Bible or any other scriptures. You see, Mr semuaok, you have drawn the conclusion that there is nothing close to it, other than your trivial and vague description. You have again and again spilled out verses of Bible which carry no weight in our discussion. Then again, it might be because there is NONE to present, is it not the case? Stop this delusional act and wake up.

  54. semuaok says:

    Stop this delusional act and wake up. All I’m interested in is seeing one word of ALLAH as a reference to GOD in the Bible.
    ==

    [What are] you talking [about]? What did the Arabs before Islam call God? Wasn’t it Allah? Did the Arabs then hear the word Tuhan? You [don't seem to] understand apa itu “hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” [...]

    Anyway think what you want, the pribumi Christians will still praise Allah in the same way, as always.

    • Aero says:

      You see Mr semuaok, you now find yourself tangled in your own web. Did you not see that you are NOT answering my question, which is relatively the core in this matter? [Doesn't] the absence of ‘Allah’ in the Bible trigger something? Think wisely.

      Perhaps you just don’t have that many friends of peribumi and lack knowledge. Perhaps you just assume things in your feeble attempt to right what is wrong here. Let me make it clear again, that many peribumis DO NOT call your Christian God as such. In cases where they (and some other Indonesians) do, they did not initially use this but was somehow ‘taught’ by some random irresponsible parties to do so. So the origination of all this absurdity? You answer me my friend. Blinded by a an unfounded ‘right’ to use another religion’s term for your own greedy self, I have to say this will never be deemed an ethical move but more an insolent form of religious rights.

      [...]

      • Celia says:

        The word “Allah” is not exclusive to Muslims. [The Prophet] Muhammad copied it from the Arab pagans who used the word. Should they have had an issue with him, then??

        Are Muslims in M’sia that dense? One can always ask who are you referring to when in doubt, anyway.

  55. ellese says:

    Adam, I defend my name. You have unnecessarily related things outside the topic to besmirch me. I was unforgiving when you changed goalpost and backed up my assertion with your quotes. You’ve been caught saying one thing and then when caught, not admitting it. You’ve not been honest in a debate.

    As to other blogs, please be informed that they have censored and banned me because they are unable to take contrarian views. I’ve recorded for posterity the sequence of events at my blog. I pointed out to all of them that wrong or right cannot be dependent on who you support but what the action is. Similar action must have the same value. For example you cannot argue that BN deficit budget will bankrupt our nation but when PR does the same it’s good. All these are ridiculous assertions. But they became upset for pointing this out. They derisively name call me smart Alec, mr know it all etc etc for my argued contrarian views. Knowing I’m challenging their truth they began to start censorship. And mind you these are people who fight for freedom of expression and media. [...]

    So don’t come back arguing I’m repetitive. I told you issues that political parties (especially PR) bring up have been repetitive and I’ve dealt with most of them years ago in depth. But you’ve never complained of any publication being repetitive kan since it supports your views?

    I suggest you go to a website on US SPJ ethical standard for journalism. Take a step back and analyse not only bn but pr propaganda machine. You will see who is being repetitive. Loot at nutgraph eg. I have responded to nutgraph before that this repetitive argument put forth by nutgraph is selective and a cloak to censorship. If you don’t want people to respond on the same matter then don’t publish in the first place on the same matter. Just look at this Allah issue being repeated many times. One unjustifiable argument after another. I will always respond against these one sided views. Nutgraph knows that they’re only publishing one part of the matter and not the other. They have tried to get views from various sort of unknown people to support their stand on this issue. They will never go in detail or even seek to publish views of other contrarian people. The only thing thus far I give credit to nutgraph is that they publish my contrarian comments. This is very rare in PR blogs/Sites which are simply intolerant of contrarian views. [...]

  56. Adam says:

    [...]

    As for Nutgraph and others bringing up and repeating the various issues, it is simply because these issues do not have closure as yet and are left hanging all this while. The Allah issue, Altantuya, Teoh Beng Hock, Malaysian unity, corruption, Election fraud, ISA and so many such issues will be brought up by the Rakyat until they are resolved and done away with.

  57. cl says:

    As a translator to Malay and neither Muslim nor Christian, I’m getting sick of this issue. I want it to be resolved quickly…and perhaps I have what could be a final solution. Remember the Batu Bersurat Terengganu, the earliest piece of evidence of Islam in Malaysia? The monotheistic God is referred to as ‘Dewata Mulia Raya’. Others propose ‘Sang Tuhan’, i.e. this ‘sang’ is the Malay equivalent to the English ‘the’, which may sometimes emphasize oneness like whereby there’s only one Kancil throughout the whole Sang Kancil folklore.

    But then again, I could be naive. East Malaysian Christians (and Indonesians) have been using Allah for centuries as this was the translation used by the Munshi centuries ago since the early British days. It’d be hard for them to wean out of their name and use this alternative. All I’m asking is to reach a conclusive, amicable solution for both sides and bury this issue once and for all. Any issue touching Bahasa could jeopardise my career.

    • truemuslim says:

      cl, you’re right again. There is actually no end to this issue, no clear answers and believe me, no winners. Nobody will be swayed by the other party and nobody will change sides. In the end, you end up with muddled comments, confusing statements and emotional outcries…but short of the gospel truth. The Nut Graph, despite its sincerity, should not have placed this article in the first place. There are 2 things in this world that should not be argued or debated: religion and politics coz everyone believes they are right. The Nut Graph should put up more investigative work on issues more relevant to our betterment. Let’s all put to rest this issue and move forward.

  58. joseph says:

    1. To win the Allah issue don’t mix religion with Politics.
    2. To win the Allah issue Christians and Muslims should open up
    their Bible and Quran find out what are the charecteristics of God.
    3. Malaysians must respect the law of the nation.
    4. Malaysians must respect their differences in religion.
    5. Always remember conversion must come from the heart not by
    forcing others. (Conversion comes by the power of the Holy Spirit.)
    We as human beings cannot convert anybody to our faith but only God can.
    6. Basic truth: there is only One God but human being make themselves
    too complicated to understand who God is.
    7. Now is the time for Christians and Muslims to sit down and
    dialogue with each other and find out who is God in the Quran and
    in the Bible.


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