Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sabah Christians tell Putrajaya to stop interfering in their religion

 BY DESMOND DAVIDSON


The use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, AlKitab, in Sabah and Sarawak is one of the ways that Putrajaya is interfering with freedom of religion, say Bumiputera Christians. - The Malaysian Insider pic, September 17, 2014.




















The use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, AlKitab, in Sabah and Sarawak is one of the ways that Putrajaya is interfering with freedom of religion, say Bumiputera Christians. - The Malaysian Insider pic, September 17, 2014. 


Christians in Sabah, already hard pressed in fending off attempts to convert Bumiputera Christians to Islam, have told Putrajaya to leave non-Muslims alone to manage their respective faiths and that laws enacted for the administration of Islam should not be applied to non-Muslims nor should non-Muslims be subject to Shariah law.
They said while Islam is the religion of the federation, people of other religions and faiths should have “the constitutional right and freedom to profess, practise, propagate and manage their respective faiths without interference and intervention by the state”.
They claimed that while freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and is also set out in the 18- and 20-point conditions of Sarawak and Sabah respectively, to be part of the Malaysia Agreement, “the legislative, executive and judiciary have trampled upon such rights of people of other faiths by making laws and decisions that militate against such freedom”.
Citing the prohibition of the usage of the word ‘Allah’ by Bumiputera Christians to refer to God and the restricted ban on the use of the AlKitab – the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible – since the early 1980s, they said this was a gross violation of human rights.
In their 30-point Kota Kinabalu Declaration at the end of a three-day “mamangkis” held at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association in Penampang, Sabah Christians also accused the judiciary of being “increasingly more inclined to defend the supremacy of race and religion than to abide by their oath of office to defend the supremacy of the constitution”.
The mamangkis, which was organised to coincide with Malaysia Day, was an old Kadazandusun war cry used by their pagan ancestors to rally warrior troops for battle but a new mamangkis movement spearheaded by Perpaduan Anak Negeri (PAN) is now making it a Christian clarion call for revival.
Following the feud over the use of the word Allah, the Sabah churches said the state, including Islamic agencies and the sultans as heads of Islam in their respective states, must not intervene in other faiths.
The declaration also stated that “the proliferation of oppressive laws that violates our fundamental civil liberties continues unabated”.
They pointed to the trampling of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that gives recognition to the inherent dignity and of the equal rights of all people.
They also said the legislative, executive and the judiciary must restore “just, fair, and democratic principles of governance as envisaged by the framers of our Constitution and our founding fathers”.
“The Federal Constitution shall be the supreme law in the nation and all citizens have equal protection under the law and any other form of supremacy is clearly ultra vires the Constitution and unacceptable.”
The Sabah churches also defended the rights of the indigenous Orang Asal communities in Peninsular Malaysia when it said it was timely after half a century of “unjust exclusion, the rights of the indigenous Orang Asal communities must be given due recognition with utmost urgency” under Article 153 of the Constitution.
They said while Article 153 accords special position and privileges to Peninsular Malays and indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, the Orang Asal are excluded from such protection.
“While the special position of the Malays and natives of Malaysia shall be safeguarded, it is timely that the legitimate interests of other communities in Malaysia be equally observed and upheld in accordance with the provisions of Article 153.”
In signing the declaration, Sabah Council of Churches president Bishop Datuk Dr Thomas Tsen, National Evangelical Christian Fellowship–Commission of Sabah Affairs chairman Reverend Datuk Jerry Dusing, PAN chairman Pastor Esther Golingi, and Pastors Fellowship of Kota Kinabalu English and Chinese leader Pastor Steven Choon and Pastor Daniel Chin, also pledged their commitment to defend the sovereignty of Malaysia as a federation composed of Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya.  – September 17, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/sabah-christians-tell-putrajaya-to-stop-interfering-in-their-religion#sthash.IdzQjJBl.dpuf

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