I refer to the letter 'Allah' issue: Zulkifli Noordin is spot on. The various points put forth by the writer presents an insight of his worldview – there can be no diversity in unity.
For example, he questions why Christians do not use ‘Allah’ in other languages for their Bibles, insisting that God’s name must be unchanged in the process of translation. Also, he ascribed the name ‘Anwar’ to only one person but weirdly, I can do a Facebook search and find many different ‘Anwars’ (and amusingly, the opposition leader is the very first hit!)
As I’ve written previously that names communicate the idea of an object/person and as Shakespeare puts it: 'What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'
Anyway, why Christians have adapted to using native language to proclaim God is very simple. Firstly, we recognise that the character of God is unchanging and is illustrated and communicated to us through His Word – we may call to Him in any language, because in the end, it all matters in the heart – who God is to the individual.
How is it confusing to the public if Christian missionaries proclaim ‘Allah’ in public in Sarawak? It is evident that the writer wasn’t confused because he recognised him/her a Christian missionary.
In any case, this whole issue about public getting confused is not at all substantiated by any statistics so why are some of our country’s leaders going about on their whims and fancies saying that the public is confused?
What is the percentage? How are they confused? Is there any data? I doubt. Gut feeling may be useful to make quick decisions, but don’t use it to confuse the issue even further. The High Court’s ruling was just for the case of the Herald and now it’s overblown with confusion. What is the real source of confusion?
Clearly, this presents a conflict of worldviews. Proponents on both sides argue like there’s no end, thinking both were starting on the same ground. On the one hand, one can accept diversity in unity, while the other can’t – and we all end up about who has the right to use ‘Allah’ as though it is a commercial name. We ought to address this conflict in an amicable way.
I think many Malaysians abroad are just scratching their heads over this issue. A friend of mine was even distraught and posed it as a question during a lecture in a university.
A proper forum must be initiated. We ought not to hurl arguments from behind our walls. ‘When someone hurls rocks at you, use it to build your bridge across’ is a quote by my former Geography teacher, Puan Vino. Can Malaysia achieve this?