Monday, December 31, 2007

Much ado over a borrowed Arabic word....

Too much narrow minded politics, over zealous ignorances, and the pressure of wanting to be perceived as racial champions during the coming general elections made rational people making irrational decisions. A few weeks ago, the internal security department of the government of Malaysia threatened to ban the Catholic's Weekly Herald ( Christian publication) if it continue to use the word "ALLAH" to refer to God in its Malay language edition. According to them, only Muslims can use the word "Allah", the rest of other religion should use the word "Tuhan" in their publications in Malay Language.

I used to think that "Allah" is God of Muslims, and "God" is the God of Christians. Now I am enlightened to know that "Allah" is not a Malay word, but a word borrowed from Arabic language used by both Christians and Muslims to refer to the same "GOD".

To side track, I also used to think that "Rasa Sayang" is the traditional Malay song for Malaysia, and "Wayang Kulit" is the traditional cultural heritage of the Malay in Malaysia. But, Indonesia now claimed that both "wayang kulit" and "rasa sayang" belong to Indonesians. You know, everytime I eat Roti Canai, it reminds me of the Hindu from Chenai, India. I sincerely hope people from Chenai will not be misguided to claim ownership of the origin of this popular food and force us to rename Roti Canai as Roti Chenai. And whenever I eat Nasi Lemak, I am reminded of the "kiribath" ( coconut milk rice ) of Sri Lanka. And I also hope the Sri Lankan don't force us to rename Nasi Lemak as Nasi Kiribath or attempt to claim ownership of the origin of Nasi Lemak.

Malaysia is a country where 60% of her population are Muslims. However, the founding principles of the nation guaranteed freedom of religion for all her citizens. Religion has always been a sensitive issue in Malaysia, the demand by the internal security department was deemed by many Malaysians as an uncalled for extremism and a form of restriction on Malaysians' rights to practice religion of their choice.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi had on Christmas Day, warned Malaysians to be on their guard against religious extremists trying to tear apart the multiracial fabrics of the nation. 2008 is indeed a good start for Malaysia. The government has rejected the narrow minded and extremist views of some ignorant and over zealous people. Weekly Herald now received its publishing permit for 2008 with no conditions attached. Sincerely, I do hope, in the not so distant future, freedom of speech and religion can be further guaranteed with the complete abolishment of the so called "publishing permit".

Congratulation to Weekly Herald. Allah ( or GOD in English language) with his almighty grace has answered the prayers of the Christians for their rights to spread their good words in Malay language.

Praise be with the Lord, Namo Amithaba Jesus, Amen....

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