I was born on the prairies, where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures. [GERONIMO]
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
PAS No. 2 joins call to free BM Bibles
Nasharudin said Islam recognised Christians as “people of the book”.
PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa joined his non-Muslim colleagues in Pakatan Rakyat today in condemning the detention of Malay-language Bibles, asserting that the holy book should be respected.
When approached in Parliament on the issue this evening, the Bachok MP explained that Islam recognised Christians as “people of the book”, which meant that the Bible should be given due respect by all.
This, he added, was regardless of what language the Bible is written in.
He added that he even knew of the existence of Bibles written in Jawi that were presently available in Malaysia.
“There are many books in the market, many Christian books that are written in Malay.
The home ministry has impounded 35,000 Malay-language bibles.
“And even if people cannot read it in Malay, they will read it in English so I do not see any reason why these Bibles should be detained,” he said.
Nasharudin also rubbished fears that such Malay-language Bibles would encourage Muslims to convert to Christianity, expressing confidence in the faith of Muslims.
“The Muslims have a strong belief in their religion and everyone has a right to practise their own beliefs.
“This is just a matter of a book and we should respect the Bible because in Islam, we consider the Christians to be the people of the book,” he said.
Nasharudin noted that the sensitivity over the issue was in the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims, which he described as “rigid”.
“Perhaps it is because of the very rigid interpretation of the word Allah that caused this issue. But then to detain a book just because it is in the Malay language, thinking that it might help to propagate Christianity...” he said without ending his sentence.
The Home Ministry is presently facing immense pressure from Christian groups and political parties to release the 35,000 Malay-language Bibles presently impounded at Port Klang and Kuching Port.
The books, according to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, had been detained due to the pending court appeal on a 2009 High Court ruling that allowed Catholic weekly The Herald to use the word “Allah” in its publications.
He said the ministry is waiting for advice from the Attorney-General on whether to release the detained books, said to be worth some RM78,000.
Questions have, however, arisen over a string of conflicting instructions the ministry has been issuing since a consignment of 5,100 such books were detained at Port Klang in 2009.
Official letters from the ministry to the books’ importer, the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), indicated that the Cabinet had agreed to release the consignment in June last year, despite the pending appeal of the High Court’s ruling.
DAP MP Tony Pua also revealed today Hishammuddin’s written response in Parliament on June 7 last year, saying that the ministry had already issued a notice to BSM to retrieve its shipment.
Despite this, BSM has claimed that its attempt to collect the books had been thwarted by the Port Klang authorities.
Hishammuddin’s statement yesterday conceding to the detention of the holy books and announcement that the ministry was now awaiting the A-G’s advice on what to do with the shipment, has further added to confusion over the government’s actual stand on the matter.