The move by Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo Church president Pastor Jerry Dusing to sue the government and Internal Security Minister for prohibiting the import of six titles from Indonesia on the ridiculous grounds that they use the word ‘Allah’ is excellent.
Banning the import of the Christian children's educational material is an infringement of human rights. Unsurprisingly, this country is not a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and similar international conventions.
The non-Malay and mostly Christian bumiputeras of East Malaysia have traditionally used the word ‘Allah’ in their prayers and scriptures. It is their culture to use those words. The government’s gripe with East Malaysians’ Christian literature has to do with the fact that it is written in Bahasa Malaysia or Bahasa Indonesia. This explains the recent action against Catholic publication Herald.
Without going into the polemics of who is entitled to use what word in their prayers, it is downright unbecoming of the government to stifle a community from using a particular language for their prayers.
What is the government afraid of given that the key requirement of publications is that its circulation should be kept within the group's membership? If you are insecure about the strength of your own faith, do not stop others from pursuing theirs.
This government obviously cannot differentiate between tradition, religion, culture and language. It has a thing or two to learn from the world’s largest Muslim population - Indonesia.