Malaysian Muslims Attack Churches Over Christian References to “Allah”
A Malaysian court ruled that Christians could call God “Allah”. Now, Muslims are attacking Christian churches over the ruling.
According to the Shahada, or Islamic creed, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” However, even though Islam is a direct descendant of Judaism and claims to follow the same deity as the other Abrahamic religions, the Malaysian government had established a law forbidding non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” to refer to their supposedly identical Abrahamic deity.
The Roman Catholic Church of Malaysia publishes a newspaper, the Herald, in Malay, English, Mandarin, and Tamil. In the Malay edition, they translated “God” as “Allah”. However, the Malaysian Home Ministry declared it illegal for non-Muslims to use “Allah” and “God” interchangeably in literature, as this “could be misleading”. The Washington Times reports that a two-year court battle culminated in a December 31, 2009 ruling that this ban was unconstitutional, and that the Home Ministry was not authorized to institute this ban.
Today’s Herald focuses entirely on the fallout.
Top story: IGP Confirms Three Churches Hit; Police are urging for calm as they secure churches nationwide, after three were attacked with firebombs in separate pre-dawn incidents in the Klang Valley, which have been linked to protests against the recent “Allah” ruling.
But the increasingly-violent protests coming from the nation’s 60-percent Muslim majority are only part of the picture.
The Home Ministry has decided to appeal the case, and the court has agreed to a stay on its ruling until the appeal is settled.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz commented on the case:
The Home Minister was definitely acting within his powers in exercising the ban, in view of public interest and sensitivities in order to avoid public unrest over the matter.
We have to take into consideration the culture and nature of Malaysia. What is considered normal in the United States and Europe is not necessarily normal here.
The Home Minister was doing the right thing, in making a decision to avoid public unrest and dissatisfaction among Muslims, who make up more than 60 per cent in this country.
Take the cow-head protests for example. If you look at it from a legal perspective, there seems to be nothing wrong with stepping on the head of a cow. But because a significant portion of this country’s citizens are Hindus, the government has taken action against the cow-head protestors.
In August of 2009, Malaysian Muslims grew angry because the Selangor state government relocated a Hindu temple to Section 23, a Muslim-dominated region. As a protest, they carried and then stepped on/spit upon a severed cow head — an act offensive to Hindus, who consider cows sacred.
The Malaysian government claims it took action against the violent Muslim cow-stompers, just as they are now taking action to prevent more violent Muslim reactions. (Note: I can find no reference to the cow-head protestors facing any legal action.)
If you do want to use the word God in Bahasa Malaysia, God is Tuhan. I don’t understand why you want to use Allah.
The Malay word for God is Tuhan. Of course Muslims are not satisfied. For 50 plus years after independence this issue has never cropped up before.
Nazri closed by stating that the Catholic insistence upon using “Allah” was irresponsible, and looking for trouble.
An article in today’s Malaysian Insider reflects this view. Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah bin Sanusi writes an opinion piece ominously titled: “Torched Churches: Reaping What is Sown”.
JAN 10 – Churches are now being torched, four at last count. I believe more churches will be torched, stoned, graffitied, sullied, picketed, etc, for as long as the use of the word “Allah” by the Catholic church issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of Muslims in this country.
Now, there has been calls for calm from the Malay “leadership”. Unfortunately, Malays may choose not to listen to the same leadership that has continuously failed to defend their rights or to correct past wrongs against them.
And for the Catholic Church to then venture down the silly path of robbing Malays of the exclusive use of the word Allah … Malays may be lobbing molotov cocktails at all churches indiscriminately, but this is only fair.
It is not just the Catholic church that is responsible for this Malay anger, but also the Protestant and Evangelical (that have no use for Allah, to them, a pagan moon-god) for not joining ranks with Malays against the Catholic stand.
* Malays will figure out that it is not just the fault of the churches, or the Christian heirarchy for robbing us of Allah, but the fault of all Christian congregations for letting their religious leaders continue to insult us.
* Malays will figure out that now that they’re in for a penny, might as well go for the pound by attacking Hindu temples for their original insults towards Malay communities by claiming the ‘historical right’ to build anywhere.
* Malays will believe since many non-Malays were sitting idle by the side allowing Malays to be insulted, maybe they should be reminded too that they are condoning these insults.
* Malays in organised mobs will turn on our leaders for being so limp in their defence of our rights.
* By then it would be too late, as even intelligent Malays will figure out that as we’re being accused of being racists anyway by the ungrateful children of ‘Pendatang’ in this country, might as be racists… the worst kind of racists…
Am I advocating violence? No I am not. I am saying that Malay violence is inevitable, at least if the current trend of apologising for Malay anger rather than addressing it continues.
And in this case, Christian dogma does ring true, one reaps what is sown. The seeds of discord had been sown in this country for far too long in the guise of quest for ‘equality’. And so it comes to pass that the road to hell is lined with ‘good’ intentions, or rather, pretentious excuses.
This is the state of religious freedom and tolerance in Malaysia today.
UPDATE . . . An attack against a church in Miri makes the seventh such attack in three days over the “allah” ruling:
RAWANG, Jan 10 – A stone was thrown against a church in Miri today, making it the seventh attack in three days that is linked to the “Allah” ruling which has provoked Muslim anger. Earlier reports of an arson attack proved to be unfounded.
This is the first reported attack in East Malaysia where a large part of the population are Christians who worship in Bahasa Malaysia and also the ruling Barisan Nasional’s “fixed deposit” of votes and parliamentary seats in Election 2008.