Saturday, January 9, 2010

Finally, it bore fruits for Utusan, but where is it now?

It’s finally happened.

After all the innuendoes and not-so-subtle threats about terrible retaliation to supposed attacks on Malays by non-Malays, something finally happened.

At least 3 churches were attacked, and one of them was completely gutted by fire.

Besides the online media, the Chinese MSM were the fastest with the story with several publishing the story raw in their morning editions. The English media were a little behind – only managing to publish the news online at about lunchtime and mainly quoting 1Politicians’ condemnation of such attacks.


Their Main page is offline. But if you directly access their Berita Utama page, you will see their news items for the day.

One would have thought that a paper who had been inciting religious and racial intolerance for so long would have a response. Surely they would want to say something about the fruits of their labour!

But there was nothing.

No gloating op-ed. No reporting of 1Politicians condemnations. Not even a…**GASP**…”neutral” news report!

It’s as if the most significantly disgusting attacks in modern Malaysian history never happened at all.

It’s funny because since March 2008, they have gone into overdrive in their incitements, even roping in the Chinese Dr Ridhuan Tee to condemn his own race and and justify the ultra-Malay doctrines being promoted by the UMNO mouthpiece.

Well, I say that Utusan has to assume some responsibility for these attacks. For years they have been poisoning the minds of Malays in this country. We can now see the results of the kind of intolerance promoted by them. Luckily no one died. But who knows what might happen in future if they continue to incite hatred and intolerance with impunity, protected by their political masters?

What say you Utusan? Awang Selamat? Ridhuan Tee? You played with fire and now at least 3 churches have been fire bombed.

Why so quiet?

Speak up and answer to the Malaysian rakyat for your actions!

[Source : Hartal MSM]

Some state anthems off limits to non-Muslim now?

When I came across the following in Howsy's blog, I just couldn't help but feel sad that the situation in our country has degenerated to this, just because of one word "Allah".
Considering that this word is not meant to be used by non-Muslims, then residents in Johore, Selangor, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak and Kedah can no longer sing the state anthems. My heart goes out to the school kids especially who could no longer sing them during their weekly school assemblies. Bye bye 1Malaysia!

Johor Darul Takzim

Allah peliharakan Sultan
'Nugrahkan Dia segala kehormatan
Sehat dan ria, kekal dan makmur
Luaskan kuasa, menaungkan kami
Rakyat dipimpini berzaman lagi
Dengan Merdeka bersatu hati
Allah berkati Johor
Allah selamatkan Sultan

Selangor Darul Ehsan

Duli Yang Maha Mulia
Selamat di atas takhta
Allah lanjutkan usia Tuanku
Rakyat mohon restu
Bawah Duli Tuanku
Bahagia selama-lamanya
Aman dan sentosa
Duli Yang Maha Mulia

Terengganu Darul Iman

Allah peliharakan Raja kami
Memerintah Terengganu Negeri
Allah pelihara Raja kami
Sejahtera suami isteri
Allah pelihara Raja kami
Sejahtera rakyat Negeri

Pahang Darul Makmur

Ya Allah yang Maha Kuasa
Lanjutkan usia Duli Yang Maha Mulia
Dirgahayu Darul Makmur
Aman dan bahagia sentiasa abadi
Ya Allah selamatkan kebawah Duli Raja kami

Perak Darul Ridzuan

Dilanjutkan Allah usianya Sultan
Adil dan makmur memerintah watan
Ditaati rakyat kiri dan kanan
Iman yang soleh Allah kurniakan
Allah berkati Perak Ridzuan
Allah selamatkan Negeri dan Sultan

Kedah Darul Aman

Allah selamatkan Sultan Mahkota
Berpanjangan usia di atas Takhta
Memelihara ugama Nabi kita
Negeri Kedah serata-rata
Selamat Sultan Kelantan Darul Naim
Lanjutkan usia Sultan kami
Sultan Kelantan Raja ikrami
Aman sentosa Tuhan sirami
Berkekalan masa memerintah kami
Kasih dan taat disembahkan
Sepenuh keriangan patek ucapkan
Segala kebesaran Allah cucurkan
Darjah kemuliaan Allah tambahkan

Fourth Church Hit By Arson Attack

Yesterday's firebombing of churches have claimed its fourth victim - the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Petaling Jaya.

The police are investigating the arson attempt, which resulted in minor damages, and a number of witnesses have been interviewed.

The firebombing is believed to have taken place around the same time three other churches were hit - the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati, the Assumption Church and Life Chapel Church, both in Petaling Jaya.

All three churches were attacked by unknown assailants between midnight and the early hours of the morning yesterday.

The ground floor of the three-storey Metro Tabernacle Church was gutted while the other two churches suffered minor damages.

NONEHowever, inspector-general of police Musa Hasan said he could not absolutely confirm that this was indeed the fourth attack on churches in the Klang Valley.

Musa, who visited Metro Tabernacle Church this afternoon, also added that he was uncertain regarding the time of this supposed attack.

"The complainant saw glass on the floor outside the church and so he lodged a police report. This is believed to be the fourth incident," he told reporters while accompanying Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in inspecting the damages to Metro Tabernacle.

The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, which is in Jalan Utara, Section 52 in Petaling Jaya Old Town, is located near the Assumption Church.

Top cop get crank calls

Musa also revealed that since making his mobile phone number public yesterday, he had received 900 calls and 800 SMS.

Many of which were well-wishers, concerned citizens and but a few were crank calls.

"There was one person who called and just kept quiet," said the police chief.

On the Metro Tabernacle case, Musa said the police were in the process of determining the nationality of the alleged arsonists.

"A witness is helping us (with the investigation)," he said.

[Source: Malaysiakini]

Two more incidents in Selangor

A pastor was manhandled by four men before they vandalised a church in Ampang at around 6.30pm on Friday.

The men entered the Agape Revival Church located in a shoplot at Pandan Indah, Ampang and manhandled the priest before shoving him to the ground.

The assailants then proceeded to damage a microphone before tearing down posters in the church and leaving.

The police lodged a report on behalf of the pastor at the Pandan Indah police station.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Selangor an unidentified man walked into a chapel near Asam Jawa and advised the caretaker to be wary during this tense period before handing him a copy of the Quran.

It is learnt the incident occurred at about 6pm when the man met the Chapel Of Our Lady Of Good Health’s caretaker and passed him some advice meant for the parish priest.

He advised the chapel's parish priest to take precautions as it was possible the chapel could become a victim of attacks similar to churches in Kuala Lumpur.

Alan Pereira, the parish priest, said he took the man’s action in good faith and as a sign of friendship because the man had advised them to lock their gates and windows following the attacks made on other churches.

“This shows that not everyone is against us,” he added.

Police personnel who rushed to the scene, have recorded a statement from the caretaker.

Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar when contacted, confirmed both incidents.

He added they were confident in indentifying the person involved in the Kuala Selangor incident, who is believed to be a local.

“Although there was no threat in this case, we would like to record his statement to find out his true intentions,” Khalid said.

[Source: The Star]

Friday, January 8, 2010

Now the Sikhs are in it too ...

So what is UMNO and Malaysian Muslims plan to do now? Attack Sikh temples?

For centuries, Sikhs have used the words ‘Allah’ and ‘Rahim’ to refer to God as well as the Arabic terms ‘iman’ and ‘ibadat’ for faith and worship. Following the government’s ban against the usage of purportedly ‘Islamic’ terms by non-Muslims, what will happen to the practice of the Sikh religion in Malaysia?

This was among the question raised today by Malaysian Gurdwara Council head Harcharan Singh following reports that the cabinet had decided against allowing the use of the term Allah by those practicing religions other than Islam.

“We have used the terms Allah and Rahim, for example, extensively in our writings and in our prayers to refer to the One God. The word Allah is used in our main holy scripture. Sikh gurus in India have used these terms for centuries, they have become part of the Punjabi language, and we are still using them today,” said Harcharan when contacted.

Sikhs also use the word ‘Khuda’ for God, he noted in reference to the term used, among others, by Bangladeshi Muslims.

“In addition to these words, we also use the terms iman and ibadat among the many other words (that are used by Muslims),” added Harcharan.

“If the word Allah has been banned for use by non-Muslims, what’s going to happen to Sikhs and the practice of their religion?” he asked.

Harcharan’s comments follow on the heels of a decision announced by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdulllah Mohd Zin yesterday that the cabinet had disallowed Catholic publication Herald from using the words Allah, Solat, Kaabah and Baitullah in its weekly’s Bahasa Malaysia section.

Abdullah, who oversees Islamic religious affairs, was reported today as having said the prime minister had directed him to clarify the matter so that the public would not be confused.

“One of the reasons given to uphold the restriction is because that it has long been the practice of this country that the word Allah refers to God according to the Muslim faith,” said Abdullah according to the Star.

It was only proper for other religions to use the word God and not Allah when referring to their God in respective beliefs, he added.

Poser for the government

Harcharan pointed out that the usage by Sikhs of Arabic and Persian terms normally used by Muslims is understandable given, among other facts, that Sikhism founder Guru Nanak had traveled extensively throughout Muslim lands.

Nevertheless, the issue raises a poser for the government, said Harcharan.

“I don’t know whether the basis of the government’s ban on the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims is political or religious. But if in today’s age of globalisation we are stopping people of one religion from using the words ‘belonging’ to another, I don’t know where we are heading”, he said.

Herald had earlier faced proscription following the Internal Security Ministry’s directive for it to refrain from using the word Allah in its weekly’s Bahasa Malaysia section.

Herald was later informed it’s permit had been renewed, with its editor Father Lawrence Andrew saying he had received a letter indicating it can resume printing without restriction on the word Allah.

Notwithstanding, the publisher has filed a writ of summons in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to seek declarations of use of the word Allah.

Why only now?

Herebelow is my letter to Malaysiakini ....

I am perplexed, very perplexed as to why Umno is pursuing the 'Allah' issue only now when they could have rectified the problems years ago. Let's look at the following facts:

Fact 1: Sarawak and Sabah joined the Malaysian federation in 1963. And forty years later, they decide to ban the use of the word by non-Muslims? Why now and not then? For 400 years, East Malaysians Christians have been using the word and to have it suddenly yanked away, how does one suppose the community would feel at such a callous act? Where is the empathy from Umno?

Fact 2: The Herald has been in publication since 1994 with the Bahasa Malaysia supplement incorporated in 1995. I am very sure the officers in the home ministry must have vetted every issue for subversive contents but for 16 years, or at least 14 years (the last two years in dispute because of the usage of the word), why didn't the government reject their annual renewal application?

Fact 3 : The so-called BM bibles distributed in East Malaysia are from Indonesia. So are we to believe that Indonesia, with the largest Muslim population, is wrong while Umno is right in not allowing the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims?

Simply put, this is not a religious issue but a political one. When Umno is doing well at the polls and enjoying a good majority in Parliament, I guess everything is A-okay but when they were almost shown the door in 2008, they needed to find some ways to redeem themselves - at least in the eyes of the Malay Muslims - that they are the defenders of the faith.

Umno is trying to implant into the minds of the local Muslims thatThe Herald is the cause of the current problem but as can be seen from the above three facts, it is not so. Umno and their associates still think that we are living in the 16th , 17th , 18th or 19th centuries when Christian missionaries from Europe came here to convert the locals.

This is a direct insult to the Christians as we don't stoop that low to engage in such activities. I wonder how many of us have seen a Catholic priest walking around in a taman preaching to the residents? For almost five decades the word 'Allah' has been used but do you find Muslims getting 'confused' or churches being burnt (until this morning)?

For 47 years since Sabah and Sarawak joined the federation and 16 years since the publication of The Herald, did we witness Muslims being converted en masse? All this is nothing more than fear being implanted into the minds of the local Muslims who Umno knows would be gullible enough to take the bait. How else can one explain the rationale for the prime minister to give the go ahead for the planned demonstrations supposed to have taken place today?

Therefore we are having a government that operates on whims and fancies and this is very unsettling to say the least.

Umno can ban all they want but that will not stop the Christians in East Malaysia from using the word during their services or masses unless they station some religious police to sit in during each service.

What about the church administrations? Are they going to filter every document that goes in and out of the parish office to see whether 'Allah' is being mentioned? This would be an affront to the federal constitution as far as freedom of religion is concerned.

With more and more information emerging from the Internet, I am wondering how Umno is going to ban the World Wide Web from 'confusing' the minds of the Muslims.

Visits by the leaders

The Mentri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, visited the Assumption Church in PJ this morning. Read here. At the same time, UMNO Youth head, Khairy Jamaluddin, visited the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati. Read here. Again, I would like to ask, "Where are the Christian cabinet ministers? Shouldn't they be ones to be there on the groud providing comfort to the people affected?" When you have Muslim leaders quickly getting into the act to assess damage and calm nerves, Bernard Dompok, Joseph Kurup, etc are still sitting in the comfort of their airconditioned offices and twiddling their thumbs. What a shame!

Assumption Church, PJ, attacked

PETALING JAYA, Jan 8 — A Catholic church next to the Assunta Hospital here came under attack early this morning, just hours after another church in nearby Kuala Lumpur was torched.

Roman Catholic church officials said some homemade explosives were lobbed into the Church of the Assumption in Jalan Templar at about 4am.

“It did not explode,” said Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of Catholic paper Herald.

Lawrence was himself informed of the incident through a text message sent out by Assumption parish priest Father Phillips Muthu.

“Someone threw homemade kerosene explosives into Assumption Church, Jalan Templar, Petaling Jaya at 4am. Am going to Police later. Earlier the Metro Tabernacle was burned in Desa Melawati, media has filed story,” said the message forwarded toThe Malaysian Insider.

This is the second such reported attack on a church in the last 12 hours.

A Protestant church, Metro Tabernacle in leafy Desa Melawati, was torched at around midnight.

The fire took out the church's administrative office, which is housed on the ground floor of its three-storey premises.

Eyewitnesses recounted seeing several people on motorcycles stopping in front of the church and smashing the glass windows to pour flammable liquid and igniting the blaze.

Church officials have reported the attack to the police.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohamad Sabtu Osman said it was too early to link the attack on the church to Muslim protests over a High Court ruling allowing the weekly Herald to publish the word “Allah” to refer to God in the Christian context.

“'We are still investigating,”' he is reported to have said.

Mohamad Sabtu also warned Muslims not to take part in planned protests at several mosques in the Klang Valley after Friday prayers.

The mercury is expected to rise and all fire stations have been put on the alert.

The police have also tightened their nightly patrols around churches in the past week following the High Court ruling on Dec 31.

[Source : The Malaysian Insider]

PAS Youth : Don't get involved in the demo

PAS Youth has urged party members not to take part in tomorrow’s [Jan 08] planned demonstrations, saying the protests would not resolve the row over the “Allah” ruling, and might instead tarnish the image of Islam.

PAS Youth has instead opted to send a letter to Nicholas Murphy Xavier Pakiam, the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, seeking a meeting and dialogue, according to Harakah Daily.

“We urge the Muslim community to stay calm and not do anything that will harm the image of Islam,” said Kamaruzaman Mohamad, head of PAS Youth Wilayah.

“We fully agree with the PAS central leadership that dialogue is the best way,” he said.

“We believe that a meeting will provide greater opportunities for positive results and we can better explain to them the feelings and wishes of the Muslim community.

“Given the sensitivity of the issue, this is the more mature and sincere way of finding a solutiion.”

He said the views of other communities and religious leaders would also be sought.

According to him, there was still room for diplomatic discussion and it was wrong for certain quarters to instigate provocative reactions that only served to worsen the situation.

[Source : Free Malaysia Today]

Please speak up, for heaven's sake!

Till today, none of the Christian ministers in the cabinet have spoken up on the current "Allah" issue. The silence is definitely most deafening! Will the following please speak up for your community. If not, how about resigning en bloc in protest? Remember what the Scripture says: "For what does it profit a man when he gained the whole world but loses his soul." [Matthew 16:26]

1. Peter Chin [Minister - Energy, Water & Green Technology]
2. Lajim Ukin [Deputy Minister -Housing & Local Government]
3. Jacob Dungau [Deputy Minister -International Trade & Industry]
4. Joseph Salang [Deputy Minister - Information, Communication, Culture & Arts]
5. Maximus Ongkili [Minister - Science, Technology & Innovation]
6. Bernard Dompok [Minister - Plantation Industries & Commodities]
7. Douglas Unggah Embas [Minister - Natural Resources & Environment]
8. Joseph Kurup [Deputy Minister - Natural Resources & Environment]
9. Idris Jala [Prime Minister's Dept]
10. Jospeph Pairin Kitingan

One church torched

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — A city church in the leafy Desa Melawati suburb was set on fire at midnight as police warned angry Muslim groups not to protest a controversial ruling allowing Catholic weekly Herald to use “Allah” in its national language section.

The attack on the Metro Tabernacle A/G, an Assemblies of God church in Jalan 4/4C Desa Melawati, completely gutted its administrative office on the ground floor. There were no reported injuries in the midnight attack.

Police have yet to identify the attackers and no one has claimed responsibility for the attack which could be related to anger over the Dec 31 court ruling. The judgment has been suspended pending government appeal.

According to an eyewitness who had just finished a drink at a coffeeshop located directly across the church, three or four persons on two motorcycles stopped in front of the church.

"They proceeded to break the glass panels on the ground floor before pouring some flammable liquid and setting off a fire," said a statement issued by the church.

The church is housed in a three-storey shoplot with the office on the ground floor. Church officials have lodged a police report over the incident.

[Source: The Malaysian Insider]

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What!?!? Not fair lah!

Just came across this news report that police in Sabah has prohibited a group of Christians from holding a peaceful demonstration. This is not fair lah. If UMNO can protest, why can't the Sabahans do that too? Looks like this discontentment will spread like wildfire in Sabah and then spillover into Sarawak. If that happens, I guess UMNO can start kissing it's "fixed deposits" bye bye. To compound this discriminatory act, the green light for the UMNO gathering was given by none other than the PM himself which will be held tomorrow after the Friday prayers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sabah police foil bid by Christian group to hold peaceful demo

January 6th 2010 at 2pm will go down in history as the day,a group of brave concerned Sabahans shook Sabah with their stand on the Allah issue.I thank the reporters and editors who interviewed me.

Out in force, Sabah police on Wednesday foiled an attempt by a group of Church activists to hold a peaceful gathering in Penampang- the heartland of the Christian community in the state.

Worried by the angry outburst against non-Muslims using the word Allah, they had wanted to publicly urge Prime Minister Najib Razak to show that he is a leader for all Malaysians and not just the Malays and the Muslims.

"I got a call from ASP Wan Badrul to call off the gathering in view of the sensitivity of the matter.I told him that the gathering would go on and assured that it would be peaceful. No shouting, no loud haler and no unruly behavior. But he was uncompromising and we could see they were crawling all over Penampang. So we decided to call it off as there were a few elderly people involved and we did not want any untoward incident," Ronnie Klassen, the organizing activist and PKR leader said in an interview.

Ironically when the Acting OCPD of Penampang,ASP Wan Badrul did not allow the gathering of the group of Church Activist in Penampang,in Kuala Lumpur the Home Ministry will allow a public demonstration against the “Allah” ruling, planned by Muslim groups this Friday at the Kampung Baru mosque here, to proceed and will only take action if “things get out of hand.”

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein Onn told a press conference here at a post-Cabinet meeting that the developments will be monitored and that action will only be taken if the need arises.Why the double standards?

“If Prime Minister Najib is sincere in his 1Malaysia, then this would be the time for him to prove his intentions. Confusion only occurs if it is meant for political reasons as in the case in Malaysia today. We hope that he will continue to respect Sabahans and Sarawakians on their continued usage of the word Allah. There should not be any confusion by our Muslim Brothers and Sisters as there is only one Allah and we should be proud to acknowledge him together.”
While not large, the core group of some 60 ‘old-faithfuls’ have been very effective in their outreach programmes. In April 2009, Ronnie managed to gather 20,000 signatures on a petition to the federal government not to ban the Catholic Herald, from the word Allah in its Malay-language section.
Part of their heritage

According to Ronnie, Sabahans and Sarawakians have been using the word Allah in churches well before the formation of Malaysia in 1963. This was a historical fact and Christian leaders in the Umno-Barisan Nasional should do more to explain this to the federal government.Have they forgotten that the people put them there and can also remove them? Similarly, PM Najib should not pretend not to know history and bury his head in the sand about this issue.
“The history of Christianity in Sabah and Sarawak goes a long way back in time, approximately 4 centuries ago,1818 to be exact. The Seventh Day Adventist Church had pastors from Indonesia who would conduct sermons in Bahasa Indonesia, thus the word 'Allah' was frequently used,” said Ronnie.
“Malay then became the medium of instruction in Sabah and Sarawak when the Education Act 1961 was extended to these states. But this led to a decline in English proficiency among Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians and resulted in a greater use of BM in Christianity. It was in 2003 after a controversy over the Iban Bible that the then Prime Minister allowed Malay-language bibles on the condition that it is labeled ‘Not for Muslims’.

“So what is frustrating the majority of Sabahans now is the total silence of the Christian BN leaders like Huguan Siou, Joseph Pairin Kitingan. Why isn’t he and the other Christian leaders doing more to explain this part of our heritage to the PM and the federal cabinet? Why aren’t they speaking up for the community? Where are they when they are needed?

A Church In Indonesia

Here is a photo of a church in Indonesia with the words "Allah Itu Kasih" boldly displayed at the top of the building. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, but do we see them getting confused? Have they become a threat to national security to their own country? Are the Indonesian priests busy converting Indonesian Muslims to become Christians? These are the very reasons given by UMNO in banning the use of the word "Allah", in Malaysia. This reasons are a total affront to the Catholic community to think that our mentality is as low as theirs.

[Photo from Lucia's blog]

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let "Allah" ruling stand, say US Muslims

One of the largest Muslim organisations in the United States has welcomed the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling allowing the Catholic weekly Herald to call God “Allah.”

The Islamic Society of North America, in a letter posted on its website, called on the Malaysian government to let the ruling stand.

It said the argument that “Allah” should be used only by Muslims was “contrary to both Islamic understanding and practice.”

The letter in full reads:

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) commends the landmark ruling by a Malaysian Court on December 31, 2009, that affirms the religious freedom of Malaysian Christians. The ruling asserts that Christians have the right to use the word “Allah” to translate “God” into Bahasa Melayu, the Malaysian language. It strikes down a government ban that was placed in 2007 on the use of the term in Christian literature.

The opponents of the use of the word Allah in reference to God have argued that the term “God” is usually translated by Malaysians who follow faiths other than Islam as “Tuhan” in Bahasa Melayu, not “Allah.” They insist that “Allah” should only be used to refer to God in Islam. This argument is contrary to both Islamic understanding and practice.

The Qur’an is quite explicit that Muslims worship the same God recognized by Christians. The Qur’an commands Muslims to declare that the God they worship and the one worshiped by the followers of revealed books, including Christians, is one: “… and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit.” (Qur’an 29:46)

With regards to actual and historical practices, Christian Arabs have been using the word “Allah” to refer to God in their religious sources since the inception of Islam, and have never been challenged by private Muslims or Muslim governments on this ground. Islamic law is clear that followers of the Christian faith have the right to practice their religion according to their own religious teachings.

We call on the Malaysian government to uphold the religious freedom of Christians and to let the court ruling stand. We also urge Muslim NGOs to respect Islamic teachings and long-held Islamic traditions, and to withdraw their opposition to the use of the word “Allah” by their Christian compatriots.

Louay Safi, Director of Communications and Leadership Development

[Source : Free Malaysia Today]