Go ask Sabah and Sarawak Christians

YOURSAY 'Even if all Christians take up Poh's appeal, I wonder if it would stop those people who have exploited this issue of using the word ‘Allah'.'

An appeal to the Christian community, drop 'Allah'

your sayRAW: I would say that former ISA detainee and religious teacher BS Poh presented quite convincing arguments in his appeal to Christian Malaysians to stop using the word ‘Allah'.

For many Christian Malaysians, those who do not use the Malay language at home and in church, this is a non-issue and the appeal can be easily taken up.

But I wonder about those Christians who use the Malay language in their worship, like the natives in Sabah and Sarawak or Christians who are educated in Bahasa Malaysia.

If you have been calling your father ‘Papa' during the last 50 years, I wonder how you would feel if someone suddenly tells you to stop using it and replace it with ‘Dad' or something else, just because he claimed that your father is not like his father and he also called his father ‘Papa'.

Even if all Christians take up Poh's appeal, I wonder if it would stop those people who have exploited this issue (or non-issue) for political reasons from finding faults with Christians.

Fiat Justitia, Ruat Caelum: I do not see the logic of this argument. Christians in East Malaysia, Indonesia and the Arab world have been using ‘Allah' to refer to God without causing "confusion" to anybody.

If this very unreasonable demand is accepted today, what will the Christian response be if tomorrow names such as "Maria" are prohibited because of the danger of causing "confusion"?

The one who is confused should seek clarification and not petulantly demand that the innocent party to stop "confusing" him!

Odin: Dr Poh, your piece clearly illustrates deep knowledge of the scripture, history and ancient languages.

However, I think you have made a major oversight - you are addressing yourself to Malayan Christians only.

I would have like to suggest that you send this same piece to the editors of the leading newspapers in Sabah and Sarawak for publication, but the problem with that is your piece will not reach most of your audience.

That being the case, I should suggest that you make a trip to the two states and impart to the natives there your wisdom. I am very certain that people like Sarawak lawyer Baru Bian would be only too glad to advise you on where to go in the two states and how to get to those places.

It will be great fun for you - that I can assure you. You will also find out why your piece published in the papers there would not reach most of your audience.

Anonymous #58458950: Can we reiterate and re-establish once and for all that the Christians, Jews and Muslims share a common belief in a One True Almighty God, creator of the heavens and earth, and there is no other God besides this one.

We share the same history of Abraham and this is the God of Abraham that we honour. The courts have gone through the logic of all this, based on the facts of the case - no prejudices or emotional reasons - and declared that one cannot copyright a word and monopolise it.

The internal decision to disallow the common use of the word was made emotionally and without consultation or clarification from the other faiths. So, how can this judgement be trusted or wise?

It is done without a clear understanding of how the other faiths view God. Dialogue is key, so let's talk more with others and not talk in circles and get more confused.

Anonnona: Poh, if the Christians were to give up the use of the word ‘Allah', can you give a guarantee, or even better, can you swear that the ‘Ketuanan Melayu' people will not, in future, insist that Christians have to also cease other long time practices or rituals so as not to confuse the Muslims?

JooGuan: Can we call white as black and black as white? Sure we can, but the consequence will be more profound than it initially seems.

What is right is right, likewise for what is wrong. Even if the Christians are willing to drop the word, can we be sure that all the ‘beneficiaries' understand and appreciate what has been done for them? Mutual respect has to be mutual, not single sided.

Kairos: Ever since Christianity was introduced in Borneo through the missionaries from the Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) in 1928, the natives in Borneo have been worshiping God as Allah.

When BEM became Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) and was registered as a legal entity in Malaya in 1953, the native bumiputera Christians continued to worship God as Allah in their songs and in the Bible.

The name for God as Allah has been passed down from one generation of Christians to another in Sabah and Sarawak since. The bumiputera Christians there know of no other way than Allah to call their God, maybe sometimes as Tuhan Allah.

Now, after 85 years, the bumiputera Christians in East Malaysia are not allowed to worship their God as Allah just because some Muslim groups and a political party tells them not to do so because Allah solely belongs to them.

You tell me, Mr BS Poh, if you were a native bumiputera Christian from East Malaysia, how would you feel?

You give an inch, they'll take a mile


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