Friday, October 18, 2013

On a Collision Course

It looks like the Christians are under siege.

Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin (left) is insisting that Sabah and Sarawak churches heed the Appeals Court judgment, which states that the word “Allah” is not an integral part of the Christian faith. He also urged Putrajaya to extend the "Allah" ban to Sabah and Sarawak.

Of course, Najib Razak’s errand boys (Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Joseph Kurup, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Maximus Ongkili and Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar) quickly came to the fore to proclaim that the “Allah” ban is only enforceable in the peninsula and it has nothing to do with Sabah and Sarawak, or that this is about The Herald and not about the al-Kitab (the Malay translation of the Bible)! [The cowardly Prime Minister himself stays in the background and not even a murmur has come from him].

Please lah! The government cannot frivolously decide that Sabah and Sarawak Christians are allowed to use the word "'Allah", since the Court of Appeal' has ruled that there is no basis for such use!

Already, Zulkifli had dismissed arguments that East Malaysian Christians have been using “Allah” even before Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. “They’ve been using it during the colonization by the Western world on the Muslim country,” he said.

If it is not clear to Christians in these two states that they are expected to also kowtow to the “Allah” word ban and instead, the Bible-worshiping Sabahans and Sarawakians are still thinking they are safe from persecution – then I don’t have a good opinion about them.  

[BTW, he had implied that Sabah and Sarawak are Muslim too, so Christians, please don’t be smug about your “special privileges”].

Also, Zulkifli showed his meticulous side when he said that it is not just the “Allah” word that cannot be used but there’s another 31 other words that were already prohibited to non-Muslims by Islamic enactments in some states in the peninsula.

Muslim Lawyers' Association of Malaysia (PPMM) president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar (left) opined that there is no blanket ban on the use of the “Allah” word but in the same breath, he had emphasized that the judgment had stated that all Malaysians can use the word "Allah" only in the Islamic reference to God!

If there are Muslims who disagree, former Johor mufti and now adviser to the Johor Islamic Council, Mohd Nooh Gadut (right) even threatened that if they question the Court of Appeal ruling on the "Allah" issue, these Muslims risk being a kafir (infidel) or an apostate. These Muslims will be deemed deviationists, he had warned.

And in case, we all forget: "Allah" pre-dates Islam!

This “Allah” issue is actually political rather than theological. It is an UMNO ruse to boost its Islamic credentials! And the individual – Syed Hamid Albar (left), Home Minister in 2008-2009 – who first barred the Catholic weekly from using the word "Allah" four years ago is a happy man following the court decision.

Yes, this lamebrain ignited the "Allah” fire in 2008, when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke The Herald's license to publish. In response, Catholic Church leaders sued the government for violating rights enshrined in the Constitution. They added that the Christians of Sabah and Sarawak have used the word "Allah" for generations without problems, as the Catholic weekly has done for 14 years.

After beginning court action and following intense negotiations, The Herald got permission to use the word “Allah” on its masthead provided it clearly stated that the magazine was 'For Christians only'.

This order was signed and gazetted under the Internal Security Act by Syed Hamid on February 16, 2009. But twelve days later, this same moron did an about-turn and his Home Ministry rescinded the government gazette that allowed the conditional use of the word “Allah”.

This was because the UMNO election was due to be held in March that year and its party leaders were accused of using the issue to gain political mileage. Syed Hamid was also seen as trying to gain political favor as he was vying for a position in the party and was hoping to be retained in the Cabinet.

[Syed Hamid is the same schlepper who thought he was right to lock up a lady who had not committed any crime, just “for her own protection”. This was in 2008 when Penang-based Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for reporting a speech by an UMNO divisional leader who had said that Malaysian Chinese were “squatters” and did not deserve equal rights.

It was later revealed that police had acted on information of a threat on her life, supposedly! This flimsy reason was given after she was interrogated and held overnight at the Penang police headquarters].

The above demonstrates just how stupid some Malaysians are! Alas, there is no cure for stupidity. Sadly, in this country, there is plenty of that! Just in case, you think I am referring only to the above Malaysians, think again! Sure, they are flagrantly stupid – there’s no denying that! – the problem is not just with these dumb people – but with the Malaysians who keep voting for the UMNO government which then happily let idiocy runs riot in this country!

We are not just Bolehland but also Bodohland!

On Wednesday, I was at the Federal Hotel for the ITC Bintang Toastmasters meeting. Traffic into the city was thankfully kind to me that evening and as the General Evaluator at the said meeting, I had a great time! Good speeches and evaluations and in fact, this was one of those rare occasions where I witnessed a huge attendance at a Toastmasters meeting – there were thirty nine members and guests who came to indulge in Toastmastering! I am happy to score this meeting an 8 over 10.


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