Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An Exalted Name is Politicized

Let's get one thing straight! The National Fatwa Council’s ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims is unconstitutional and illegal. Don’t the powers that be know that the fatwa does not apply to non-Muslims? Furthermore, Article 11(4) of the federal constitution does not support any such prohibition on non-Muslims.

Also take note the 2009 High Court decision on the Catholic publication Herald’s use of the word ‘Allah’ which deemed that laws restricting its use by non-Muslims are “unconstitutional”.

Already, in January 2010, PAS resolved that Christians cannot be forbidden from using the word ‘Allah’, but reminded all parties not to misuse the term to confuse, or as a cheap political stunt to garner support from the rakyat.

Today, in a joint press conference with other PR leaders, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang reiterated that Islam does not prohibit others from using the word, although (in the usage of the word by non-Muslims) it does not refer to the original meaning of the word as according to the al-Quran.

I find it strange that this morning, the Selangor Sultan had issued a decree banning non-Muslims in the state from using “Allah” – somebody forgot to advise him that it was unnecessary. You cannot do it a second time lah because he had already fatwa-ded it on February 18, 2010! And did anybody even bother to tell him that the name of Allah is invoked in the state anthem's 'Allah lanjutkan usia Tuanku'?

The issue became smouldering hot again because UMNO wanted to use religion to get Malay-Muslims who don’t know any better to flee into the protective arms of UMNO. This mischief-making is irresponsible. It is regrettable that the One word that should be held in exalted reverence by those who believe in Him has been politicized.

After all, the rest of the world (Arab Christians, Sikhs, Baha'is, Mizrahi Jews) have also been using the Allah word, so why must some Malay-Muslims become angry when the same word is used by others in this country?

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