Leave courts out of 'Allah' issue

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It is completely no surprise to learn the Court of Appeal's decision to strike out the Catholic Church's appeal for use of a word to address God, that has been used traditionally and historically for ages, without a whimper.

If there are any contentious issues on religious matters, it is actually not for the judiciary community to decide but they have to be resolved within the religious communities involved.

Going to the courts for a decision can only exacerbate and prolong the matter and create further animosity.

A religion in its teachings is expected to propagate love, tolerance and acceptance of all, and if any issue is troubling one community, it should be discussed in the spirit of goodwill in a multi-religious and multi-racial country and then a compromise be arrived at so as not to create any ill feelings to anyone.

The openness and willingness to seek dialogue with other religions must be the paramount catalyst to show a religion that really practises what it preaches.

It appears today in Malaysia that the religious leaders from the main religion are unwilling to have a dialogue with other religious leaders, and it gives a lot of room for suspicion and speculation why they want to be isolated. Bear in mind, no religion is viewed as being superior and absolute.

Anyone who values peace and stability is definitely prepared to even make sacrifices and it can only be achieved if the parties involved are openly willing to sit down and talk about it as some apprehensions or fears can be laid out for consideration and understanding.

Making blanket statements to the press of its own stand and justification is not the way.

The press, too, have no part to play on religious matters as there is a tendency to appear biased. Meeting each other is the only way the matter can be possibly resolved peacefully.

Our political leaders can encourage such dialogue rather than trying to leave it to its legal system to take care of it, and then have its own hand seemingly playing a role in the outcome of the final decision by the court.

This way the government feels it can absolve itself of handling an issue of national importance. However, this is seen as a government which is shirking its responsibilities as an elected representative for all.

Today, religion more than politics is seen as the most disturbing and confusing issue, which has resulted in many disastrous events around the world.

We are a small population and over the years we all have enjoyed peace and prosperity.

For such an atmosphere to continue to prevail, there has to be some kind of agreement and adjustment to meet halfway, at least on this existing religious matter.

I think it is shameful on the part of the religions involved if they continue to depend on a judicial decision on this thorny issue.

In defeat, too, there can be victory. There appears fear on one side and perhaps confusion on the other, but it can be resolved by disseminating messages of love and tolerance by the respective religious leaders.

Religion must not be seen as a troublemaker but one that is ready and willing to make adjustments for the sake of the entire nation.

I urge the prime minister to take the lead and be compassionate on this issue to meet both sides for an amicable conclusion. Leave the courts out, they have no part to play in this.


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