Friday, 18 October 2013

Religious extremists aliens, says Masing

KUCHING: Religious extremists should be dealt with under existing laws.

Calling them “aliens” as they are out of sync with Malaysia’s multiracial and multi-religious society, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said their views were not acceptable.

The Land Development Minister was responding to Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman’s controversial challenge that whoever failed to accept the supremacy of Islam and the royalty that protects the supremacy of the religion could move to another country.

“If we are a nation of one ethnic group, we can talk like that. But we are a multiracial country, leaders should not talk like that,” Masing told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He said the multi-ethnic society has enriched the nation and the country has no place for “aliens” such as Abdullah Zaid whose thinking was not in line with that of the nation’s and there were laws in place for “people like that.”

On the statement by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup that the federal cabinet had decided that the word ‘Allah’ could be used by Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians in their worship, including in the Malay-language Bible al-Kitab, Masing said the decision was “not satisfactory.”

“The assurance by the federal cabinet that Sarawak and Sabah can use the word ‘Allah’ in their worship and text but not in Peninsular Malaysia to me is not satisfactory. It means one nation with two religious definitions of what is acceptable.

“However, if we can live with it and it keeps us in peace with each other, so be it. To me, when men’s feeble mind tries to define and interpret God’s wishes, we fall short and that is the beginning of our religious differences and problems,” he reiterated.

In Sarawak, Dayak Christians have responded with much objections and frustration to the condescending remarks of Abdullah Zaid for not only depriving them of their constitutional rights to freedom of worship but also rubbing salt in their wound after the Court of Appeal (CA) ruling that they should not use the word ‘Allah’ in their worship and literature.

A concerned Muslim who wrote to The Borneo Post but preferred to remain anonymous said that from a truly multiracial and civil society of Sarawak, he was wondering “what the Muslim leaders, scholars and politicians are unduly worried about.

“Any Muslim who knows Surah Ikhas will have nothing to worry about ‘being confused’. I came from a mission school myself during those British colonial days when Christianity was ‘superior’ so to speak.

“I studied catechism (which I got distinction for in the examinations), sang hymns daily before or after their ‘Hail Mary’ and even went to church with my Catholic classmates…

“Nope, they never made a Christian out of me because I had Surah Ikhas entrenched in me: Say (O Muhammad) Allah is One, the Eternal and Absolute, He beget nor begotten; There is nothing like unto Him.

“I am still a Muslim today…if our young ones are weak in their faith through ignorance, educate them as my parents did me and we shouldn’t be worried. Islam is still the fastest growing religion in the world and among the Westerners,” said the Sarawak Muslim. - theborneopost

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