You give an inch, they'll take a mile

YOURSAY 'In 1986, four words were banned by the Home Ministry, in 1988, Selangor increased it to 25 words, and in 1992, Sabah increased to 32.'

An appeal to the Christian community, drop 'Allah'

your sayKelate: Former ISA detainee and religious teacher BS Poh, although I respect your view as rational from "the biblical-theological-linguistic reasons" as expounded in your article, I cannot agree with you as the historical reasons are not considered.

For the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, it means their right of a few generations are taken away. Your linguistic argument is valid for the Peninsular but not for Sabah and Sarawak because of their long history in the usage of the word.

Not using the word ‘Allah' also render inconsistence with the usage in other countries in the translation of the Bible.

And there are more inconsistencies beside just ‘Allah' in the Bible, how about ‘Tuhan Yesus Kristus' in 1Cor 1:3? Should that be change too as Islam call him Nabi Isa?

There will be no end once it starts. In 1986, four words were banned by the Home Ministry, in 1988, Selangor increase it to 25 words, and in 1992, Sabah increased to 32.

Once you give in, there will come a time that the entire Bahasa Malaysia Bible will be banned.

FellowMalaysian: I appreciate BS Poh's courage, selflessness and magnanimity in expressing his deep thoughts and feelings on the right to use the word 'Allah'.

Many Christians will probably disagree and denounce Poh's assertion; the many 'nay' feedbacks received in this Malaysiakini forum indicated that it is so.

I have only two questions to ask everyone here. First, would you say that the issue was hyped up by the politicians and especially only recently with GE13 around the corner?

The Alkitab is not a recent phenomenon and has been used in East Malaysia all this while without any ill-feelings. Why not let status quo be rather than create a ruse?

Gerard Lourdesamy: Let the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court decide if under Article 11 (4) of the federal constitution, state laws can prohibit the use of the word ‘Allah' by non-Muslims within their own religious scriptures, worship and practices.

Today it is ‘Allah', tomorrow it will be ‘Isa' and after that a ban on Christianity. I suggest all parties read the judgment of the High Court in the case of Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v Menteri Dalam Negeri.

The judgment still stands because the declaratory orders granted therein cannot be stayed even if the church and government have agreed to a stay. That stay is only confined to the order of certiorari to quash the minister's decision in respect of the permit for the Catholic Herald publication that prohibited the use of the word.

The High Court also ruled that the rulers are heads of Islam only and cannot exercise any powers over non-Muslims including alleged prerogative powers to restrict their religions except for propagation to Muslims.

Ade: BS Poh, the Alkitab is imported from Indonesia for use by the Malay-speaking Christians particularly in Sarawak and Sabah for hundreds of years.

Why don't you get those Indonesians to replace ‘Allah' with ‘Tuhan' and reprint the Alkitab to make our Muslims here happy? Try it and see how the Indonesians would react.

Apa Ini?: Poh's arguments are full of love, generosity and faith. It isn't to appease but to bring about peace. I salute him.

The Christian community should take time to consider his view. More so, all Muslims should read it and see it as not a defeat but as "the extra mile" good men must extend to fellow beings to bring about peace.

Telestai!: Many Christians will disagree with me but I am with you on this, Poh. Sometimes I find Christians a bit too confrontational and demanding when it comes to their rights.

Sure, by all means challenge the government and the Malays on the use of ‘Allah' but what will we end up with? Animosity and distrust.

If Umno is scoring political mileage with the Malays on the use of ‘Allah', should Christians get caught in the crossfire? By substituting the word ‘Allah', are we really compromising our faith? The answer is ‘no'.

As Poh suggests, there are heaps of words that can be used. It is all about the choice of words and the freedom to use words. I believe it is worth the while giving up this freedom for religious and racial harmony, at least for the time being.

Who knows when the political climate improves and Christians may once again can use the ‘Allah' word. Didn't the Bible tells us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves?

Good Men: Goodwill means nothing to those who are manipulating the ‘Allah' issue. Appeasement as suggested by Poh will only be met with further, even more extreme demands.

This is a political game played by powerful yet desperate men, not religious men. These evil hypocrites are merely trying to light the spark of discord and animosity and perhaps even violence, that will allow them to retain their seats of power and dominance over the masses.

Hopefully, for the man in the street, common sense and calm heads will prevail.

SteveOh*: I do not use 'Allah' nor do I have any intention of using it even when I use the Malay language. But others do and for them it has always been an integral part of their faith.

If we apply Poh's logic and principle of appeasement, will you also stop using Jesus and the litany of biblical characters found in the Quran, if there ever is a move to stop Christians as they have with the word 'Allah'?

As I observe, the Christian Malaysians have done what you appeal and shown restraint and patience. Your intention is noble, analysis notable, but your solution unacceptable.

Go ask Sabah and Sarawak Christians


The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now