Allah is seen in this Batu Bersurat stones 1303, Christian's earliest Malay manuscript is 1524. To whom does "Allah" belong to here?
Dato Nazri Aziz was sent to East Malaysia last Wednesday for damage control on the Allah issue. Words emanating from there are saying that Allah would be allowed usage in Christian’s Malay publication for East Malaysian circulation.
That may not be the most ideal solution for both parties. It does not feel right. But in the light of the hard stance by both parties, it is a solution nevertheless.
Already political critics from the other side are claiming it is a compromise made out of political expediency. But, it is hardly so.
PAS’s Khalid Samad have been saying that such usage in East Malaysia has been since eternity, or their historical claim is for 300 years. It is already culturally embedded and the Muslims in East Malaysia have tolerate and lived with that reality.
In fact, as my Sarawakian friend told me, such familiarization by non Muslims with Islamic terms has actually favoured the Muslim. It has eased the conversion of Christians to Islam.
The solution could be a realistic closure to an attempt by shit stirrer and PM-at-any-cost Anwar Ibrahim to create a communal division within BN and voters facing up to the Sarawak state general election.
Again, the wrong of 300 years made to deceive Muslim into conversion to Christianity by intentionally mistranslating the word Allah as tuhan can not be justified.
For the Herald - Catholic Weekly, they would not want any restriction on their publication, which they may not admit but, undeniably targeted for the Semenanjung Malay Muslim.
They would likely argue that it is an infringement on their rights for religious freedom which include the act propagate their religion.
At least, that is what they understand article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution to be, as endorsed by Justice Ban Lee Lian controversial judgement.
They have been arguing that the word Allah was used by Arab Christians and Jews as God. To argue their case that Allah is God instead of the true meaning in Malay word as Tuhan, they referred to the an Indonesian bible and age old dictionary as proof.
Off course, the Indonesian bible and dictionary can be proven to be linguistically flawed. It is not difficult to proof that the Christian Dutch took evangelism seriously to the extent of manipulating translation to serve their propagation purpose.
Blogger SatD here was able to dismiss such argument by merely showing historical evidence that Islam has existed more than 400 years based on the Batu Bersurat evidence.
Another blogger, Ktemoc Konsider here asked where in the Bible was Allah used as name of God? He claimed that Yahweh or Elohin was used frequently but Allah.
With those cultural issues cleared, there are two aspect of religious freedom for non Muslim that need to be understood.
Constitutionally, clause (4) of article 11 of the Constitution, limits the freedom of Christians to propagate to Muslims. While in article 3(1), the freedom to practice came with the condition that it be done to maintain general peace and harmony.
Justice Bee Lan Liau missed an important clause (5) that empowers Government with the disgression to ban non Islamic practice that could erupt into public disordera.
Although the court’s decision may not currently be in their favour, Bee Lian Lau’s judgement is seriously flawed and chances are in can be overturned at the Court of Appeal level. Read a criticial analysis of her judgement here and here.
The problem with taking such a hard stance now is that it is not politically correct.
But it is made harder by the fact that there is an unresolved issue in court with the judgement in favour of the Christians and has constitutionally eroded Government's discretionary power that could proof useful for balancing and negotiating between disputing parties.