In an unprecedented move, pastors and church leaders are gathering today in Kota Kinabalu across denominational lines to take a common stand against religious intolerance in the wake of what their leaders claim as “extreme action against the church in Malaysia”.
This comes on the eve of yet another “Allah” case before the court. Hearing on the long delayed dispute, filed in 2007, is scheduled to begin on Friday at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
The case was filed by the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah against the Federal Government for the confiscation of its Bahasa publications for the religious instruction of their children. The case was filed earlier than the “Herald” case which went before the apex court.The “Mamangkis" celebration and public forum on the “Allah” issue are jointly organised by the Sabah Council of Churches, Pastors’ Fellowship Kota Kinabalu and NECF COSA (National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Commission on Sabah Affairs) at the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia in Likas, Kota Kinabalu.
The Kota Kinabalu gathering is called a “Mamangkis" and will see Bumiputera Christians playing an active role in this initiative, according to the organisers.
The event is a follow up to a similar forum held in Kuching recently, organised by the Association of Churches in Sarawak, which concluded with a hard-hitting speech by its president, the Anglican Archbishop of Sarawak and Southeast Asia, Rev Bolly Lapok.
Organisers indicated that a senior bishop is expected to make a statement at the end of the forum and “Mamangkis” tomorrow. This is expected to touch on their concerns over growing religious intolerance in the country and possibly taking the Government to task for its inaction. It is also expected to touch on the recent Court of Appeal judgment on the Herald's “Allah” case.
Mamangkis is associated with the traditional Sumazau dance of the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut indigenous people in Sabah. Taking the cue from the dance leader, who shouts a command, dancers change the dance pattern. The indigenous Christians have contextualised this popular dance as an expression of faith in their praise and worship with singing, dancing and joyous shouting, using words from the Psalms or Biblical songs, hymns, and poetry like in Psalm 20:5 “May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers."
This is expected to be rendered into Bahasa quoting from the Alkitab or the Malay language Bible where the words “Allah” and “Tuhan” are used side by side, reflecting the theological importance of the words in their liturgy.
~ mysinchew.com, November 26, 2013.