Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why is Putrajaya still silent on ‘Allah’ row, asks Christian body

JANUARY 15, 2014
Catholic weekly Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew's effigy was burnt in Kuala Langat last month. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 15, 2014. Catholic weekly Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew's effigy was burnt in Kuala Langat last month. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 15, 2014.The Christian Federation of Malaysia has questioned Putrajaya's continuing silence on the 10-point solution in the face of recent incidents which have increased religious tensions.
CFM chairman Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng pointed out four incidents, particularly the targeting of Catholic weekly Herald editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew in the “Allah” row.
Muslims are now burning effigies of the priest and threatening to hold protests against the Catholic church.
* an advertisement placed in The Star daily last Saturday by the Selangor Religious Affairs Council (Mais) to justify the raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia;
The other incidents were:
* the demonstration near Shekinah Glory AG Church in Klang on January 4; and, 
* the demonstration outside the Metro Tabernacle Church in Gombak last Sunday.
Eu said the 10-point solution announced by Putrajaya in April 2011 should have resolved the issue of the use of the word “Allah” in masses and the Bahasa Malaysia Bible.
"Regrettably, the government that devised the 10-point solution is now silent about it.
"With the absence of any clear direction from the political leadership of our country, we are witnessing the mad scramble by any and every group to grab media attention for themselves," he said, adding that this was a sad reflection of the declining state of affairs in the country.
Eu said CFM stood firm in support of Andrew and churches targeted by protesters.
"We also stand by many Christians in this country whose only offence was a heartfelt desire to worship and address God in their own language.
"We bear in mind that 64% of Christians here have no other language for their Bible, prayers and worship except in Bahasa Malaysia," he added.
Eu added that Christians were undaunted in the face of these events.
In October , a three-man Court of Appeal bench allowed Putrajaya’s appeal to reverse a High Court ruling that Herald could not use the word "Allah" as it was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice.
The court said the home minister acted within the law on grounds of national security and public order when he banned the use of several words, including Allah, by non-Muslims.
It said such use, if allowed, would cause confusion among Malaysians, adding that the welfare of an individual or group must concede to the majority.
Andrew is also being investigated for sedition after he had been reported by The Malaysian Insider as saying that churches in Selangor would continue using the word “Allah” during their Bahasa Malaysia services.
Andrew had quoted Article 11 of the Federal Constitution which guaranteed freedom for each religion to manage its own affairs.
However, following Andrew's statement, Muslim groups, including those from Umno, demanded that he retract the statement.
Andrew's statement was in response to the Selangor Islamic Religious Department's announcement that it would write to all churches in Selangor and tell them not to use the word “Allah” in their worship and publication. – January 15, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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