Sunday, December 30, 2007

Joe....Joe....What Hast Thou Incurred?

I haven't asked some of my Christian friends about this case, not even my uncle who's a pastor of a church. A recent decision call by the misfits of Internal Security Ministry has earned the wrath of Christians in Malaysia.

CNSNews - April 17 2003

A local paper quoted a senior official in the ministry's "publications control" division, Elias Mat Rabi, as saying the banned books breached guidelines for religious books.

They used several terms that were also used in Islam, which could confuse people, he said.

Reached by phone in the Sarawak capital, Kuching, on Thursday, Elias declined to comment, or to explain how the Bible and other books were considered dangerous.

The secretary-general of the Malaysia National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, the Rev. Wong Kim Kong, said from Kuala Lumpur there had for some time been difficulties over the fact that some words used in Islam were also used in Christian publications.

Some Muslim leaders thought this could perplex Muslims who picked up such books.

Among the words that cause concern is "Allah." It's the word Muslims use for the deity they worship, but the Arabic word pre-dated Islam and is also used by Christian Arabs when referring to God - despite the considerable differences in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic conceptions of God.

The Iban translation of the Bible uses the term "Allah Taala" for God, while the other banned Christian books, in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, also use "Allah" for God.

Sure, everyone is aware that the Christian community is considering of suing the government of not allowing them to use the word Allah in the BM version of the newsletter. We all pray to God, right? There are many names that can interpreted as God. Most of the time, Allah is the Islam variation of God. The bottom line is that no matter what major religion you are, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or whatsoever, the common denominator is of course there is one God.

Those who are well versed in the Bible or reading the Quran should have an understanding that we are spawned and uniquely created by God himself. The common sense in the fact above lies in the 5 times a day prayers or reciting the beginning of the 10 Commandments (right before the start of the first commandment). Easy as that. Why do those misfits want to make a fuss out of it.

From Romans 3:30, Apostle Paul said:
There is only one God. `Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumci­sion by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.'
There was also one more verse in the Bible where Jesus spoke to three men, each representing Islam, Christianity and Judaism. This is to emphasize that all are sub-branches of God himself.

The head in question, Johari Baharom is once again under criticism by the Christian community by foolishly saying that Allah is only used by Muslims only. That is the interpretation of Muslim in Malaysia. Connecting to the above, no wonder they are too strict and unflexible over many things such as stupid conditions, dress code for people who come and perform. Indonesia has a larger population of Muslims than Malaysia but somehow they allow Beyonce Knowles to perform in Jakarta without imposing those ridiculous conditions here.

The current social climate is radically different from the Tunku years. At that time, no matter what religion you are, we all would gather at the bar for some wine and something to cheer about. But today, toasting is something that is frowned upon by the conservative Muslims whenever we go and do a toast at a small social gathering. If I were at a party or something, we don't see wine served but instead syrup. See a radical change of direction? If the people who tells this are the roots of a poisonous tree, therefore the entire tree will be poisonous. If the tree is not poisonous, it means the cause is due to the roots. Whose to blame?

When I skimmed through such issue, I felt that isn't it enough of having too much religious tension between majority and non-majority? I can't tell you how I felt about the Lina Joy case. Had the case swings in her favor, there is a possibility of the majority screaming in fury like behaving as a mob without understanding why or recalling the articles of Constitution.

Malaysian citizens of minority faith are in problems with those who tried to impose their Malay supremacy over them. In November, two MPs are criticized over the missionary school thing, something that many people are not happy to hear that especially those who studied at schools like St. John's. Did they ever know that there are great figures produced from those missionary schools like Najib and LKY? Think...if each month such issue happens, sooner or later there will be a giant collective fury at UMNO because we know that they are the big portion of BN - 50 percent. The Chinese in Sabah is also quite furious because the Mufti department declared a religious decree that all statues of Kuan Yin as blasphemous and what more do those idiots want?

My friend Edmund tends to talk well about religious matters at times. If I am in his shoes and reading the piece of news that caught the attention of most people of the Christian community. What would I feel in the first place? Insulted, right? Second's typically the same, why the difference? And the number of adjectives / verbs related to the question keeps piling and piling and piling. If I am in the shoes of my uncle, being a church pastor...I would feel deeply insulted by someone who simply wrong foots about religion.

Additional reading:
1. A Christian Anointed Muhammad as Prophet
2. Malaysiakini: God's Name Needs No Protection


  1. I wish you a good end of 2007 and a good year of 2008.

  2. Actually I was not even remotely offended by the whole "Allah" controversy. This has been going on for a long, long time. In fact, I am very thankful that our government is civil enough to allow Christians to build churches all over the country, Christmas to be celebrated openly in stadiums and Bibles to be freely printed/bought/distributed. I only pray that such religious-freedom continue on and that God continue to bless us with a civil government.

    What I actually do take issue with is how you actually misuse Scriptures altogether!

    From Romans 3:30, Apostle Paul said:

    There is only one God. `Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumci­sion by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.'

    *** The above verse was written by the Apostle Paul to prove to the Jewish Christians in Rome that God will also accept Gentiles who believe in Jesus Christ as the only Saviour and Lord. It says absolutely NOTHING about religious tolerance and accepting the commonality of Judaism/Islam/Christianity. You have twisted Scriptures once again to support your own political views. The "Karen Armstrong" brand of religious commonality seen in her recent books (e.g. The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, etc.) is totally foreign to the mind of the Apostle Paul and any scholar of Pauline writings will tell you that.

    Another quote from your blog: "There was also one more verse in the Bible where Jesus spoke to three men, each representing Islam, Christianity and Judaism. This is to emphasize that all are sub-branches of God himself."

    *** For your information, there is ABSOLUTELY no such verse. To even suggest that Jesus sought commonality among Islam (that didn't exist in his time, to begin with), Judaism and Christianity is to totally misrepresent the whole of the New Testament.

    Melvin, I hope you allow this comment to be posted (since you believe so much in "freedom of speech" - that includes people who disagree with you). Even more, I hope you will really take to heart my previous challenge to you to read more and write less (especially unjustified criticisms of the federal government or fanning the flames of racial/religious issues that you do not even understand in the first place).

    If you want to know, I actually have more respect for Muslims who want to preserve the exclusivity of their own faith (and thereby attack the use of "Allah" in the BM Al-Kitab) than people who misuse Scripture to teach ecumenical-commonality among Islam/Judaism/Christianity.

    Melvin, your values are very, very strongly influenced by the Western thinking that you absorbed over the years (i.e. via your education, movies, media, etc.) So you strongly uphold ideals such as freedom and tolerance. They are good values but not all-encompassing ones. In the face of social security, racial harmony and peace, freedom is really secondary. In fact, freedom only has value when a multi-racial nation first learn the importance of mutual tolerance and acceptance. Having said that however, even mutual tolerance and acceptance must take a second place to God's absolute truth. "Loving your neighbour as yourself" prevents any violence or inconsideration towards people of differing views. Therefore, mutual tolerance is a great virtue. However, it still does not justify the actions of people like Karen Armstrong (or yourself) to so blatantly misuse the Bible in order to uphold your own views on mutual tolerance/acceptance.


You are welcome to post in any comments that do not trouble readers of the blog.

Providing an ID is recommended. If some reason you wish to use an Anonymous name, please leave a name below your comments. From now on, comments with no names will not be considered for moderation.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...