Tuesday, 15 October 2013

‘Ban infringement of religious freedom’

KUCHING: By stating that the name Allah is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity, the Court of Appeal has totally ignored the position of the Bumiputera and Orang Asli Christians in Sarawak and Sabah which constitute 60 per cent of the church in Malaysia and who are Bahasa Malaysia speaking, Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) said in a statement yesterday.

In a media statement issued by its chairman and executive committee member Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng, CFM said the decision to uphold the government’s ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ is “yet another erosion and infringement of the constitution protection to the freedom of religious communities to profess and practise their faith and to manage their own affairs.”

“In what would appear to be a re-reading and re-interpretation of Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, it would now appear that a minority religion can only be practised and professed in Malaysia to the extent that it does not upset the ‘peace and harmony’ of adherents of the majority religion.

“The Bahasa Malaysia-speaking churches have been using the word ‘Allah’ both before and after the independence of Malaya and the formation of Malaysia. The use of the word ‘Allah’ by the Malaysian churches had not been an issue all these years,” CFM said.

CFM warned the decision may “encourage and fuel further misunderstanding, mistrusts and brokenness between the Muslim and Christian communities which will only further undermine the unity of Malaysians”.

Despite this very negative development, CFM reminded all churches in Malaysia to remain steadfast and continue to respond with love and not in hatred in the ongoing trial and tribulations and always look to God and to pray for wisdom and guidance for all involved as to the next steps that they should take.

“We welcome the fact that the decision of the Court of Appeal does not appear to cover the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Alkitab.

“We expect our Honourable Prime Minister and the Cabinet to continue to honour the 10-point solution with respect to the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Alkitab. We shall, therefore, continue to use the word ‘Allah’ in our worship, liturgy, prayers and educational materials of the church,” CFM said.-theborneopost.

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