STOP BASELESS ACCUSATIONS AND CALLS FOR ‘ACTION’ OVER THE USE OF THE WORD ‘ALLAH’, AS THE PEACE AND SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) is responding specifically to the calls by various groups to ‘defend’ Islam because Muslims are being insulted and threatened; a television show in which certain untrue accusations about Christian plots to convert Muslims were made without providing any evidence whatsoever; and to the Friday sermon (khutbah) distributed nationally by JAKIM, the department for the development of Islam which is under the Prime Minister’s department. All the statements refer to and appear to be in ‘preparation’ or a prelude to the Court hearing on Tuesday 10 September, of the Government’s appeal against the decision to allow The Herald to continue to use the word ‘Allah’.
This is because even a cursory examination of these proliferating statements and accusations being levelled and distributed widely would alarm any ordinary Malaysian: they are emotional, largely without basis on facts, but call for ‘action’ from Muslims and sanctify such actions as holy or pure, and appear to be very incendiary.
Worst of all, there appears to be no action or statement whatsoever from any source of authority in our nation, to ask for calmness or even ordering such stoking of anger to stop – with the peace and security of the nation as a priority.
CFM does not intend to reply to every statement and accusation. However, the situation is grave, and as responsible Malaysians, this statement is issued with the objective of providing information to enable rationality to prevail, reminding that what we offer is based on EVIDENCE AND FACTS:
- The word “Allah” for God is used by 73% of Christians who only have Bahasa Malaysia as their language in common for worship and prayer. These are mostly the bumiputera natives of Sabah and Sarawak – Muruts, Kadazan-Dusuns, Melanau, etc. Since their dialects differ, their common language is Bahasa Malaysia, and they have used the BM Bible with the word ‘Allah’ for God without any uproar, resistance nor objection.
- The word has been in use for CENTURIES in various translations of and from the Bible, as the CFM Fact Sheet issued on May 7 2013 indicated (it is available in English, BM and Chinese, on the websites of the alternative media and some facebook sites such as Projek Dialog and the Assajjad Movement.)
- In the Bible in English, Chinese, and Tamil the word “Allah” is not used. We fail to see how Christians can thus be accused of only recently deliberately trying to provoke or insult Muslims and Islam.
- The repeated accusations over the past few years that using the word “Allah” is a device which is part of a Christian conspiracy to convert Muslims HAS NEVER BEEN PROVEN, and such irresponsible accusations should stop. If there is no proof, then this is scare-mongering and provoking religious tension, and appropriate action should have been taken a long time ago against such seditious language and actions.
- ONLY IN MALAYSIA, is the Christian use of the word ‘Allah’ a problem for Muslims. Many of us Christians have prayed at church services in the Middle East, using the word “Allah”. It appears to be the only concession by ALL the panellists in a recent TV show on the issue: that this is a peculiarly Malaysian Muslim claim, NOT a problem of Muslims all over the world.
- The CFM wonders if the JAKIM sermon on Friday 6 September, which also calls for actions (‘tindakan’) in defense of Islam by Muslims, and that such defence is a ‘holy struggle’ (perjuangan suci’) is a very serious CALL TO ACTION, and an irresponsible measure by a national government agency for Islam.
The CFM calls on our Muslim brothers and sisters in Malaysia to understand the CONTEXT of how, when and why SOME Christians have used the word ‘Allah’ for centuries without any problem. The CFM reminds all Malaysians that we have lived in relative peace and harmony for very many years, and this is a shared and treasured history.
There is a need for TRUTH – i.e. FACTS and EVIDENCE to be looked at, instead of emotional rhetoric about insults, plots and conversions.
The CFM vigorously calls upon the government of ALL Malaysians, the police and others with authority and responsibility for the peace and security of this nation to take immediate and firm action to stop this escalation of what can only result in a very grave situation in Malaysia, even before or after the verdict of Tuesday 6 September.
May God bless and protect our beloved nation, and give us peace.