The “Allah” issue lead to church arson

I have read it on the headlines for awhile now but chose not to blog about this. I thought it was a small issue that will soon blow over.

“Blow over” indeed.

A court battle for 2 years, the controversy over a Catholic newsletter, The Herald using the word “Allah” to refer to God in the Malay language publication finally came to an end on 31 Dec 2009. The High Court ruled that permission is granted for free use of the word “Allah” even in a Catholic publication.

Some Islamic extremist were not happy. “Allah” is refered to in Muslim as “the one and only God”. The Catholic Herald used it to describe “God” as they have been doing so for the last 400 years and have not been an issue until recently.

Read about the ruling here >>
Court rules Catholic Herald can use Allah word

Although many protests are still going on about the ruling by the High Court, the appeal is on-going. Some even suggest that the matter be taken to Syariah court as it is a matter pertaining to religion. Nevertheless, we all know what the outcome will be if this issue is heard over the Syariah court, which is clearly in favour of the Islamic law.

Then, today on 8 Jan 2010 at the wee hours of 12.30am, several churches in residential areas were bombed. This is not the “blow over” I had in mind.

Read about it here >>
Reuters – Malaysia church torched amid Allah row
BBC – Malaysian churches fire-bombed ahead of demonstrations
The Star – Attacks on churches: Govt may use ISA (Update 2)

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Twitpic from Fahmi_Fadzil

Our Prime Minister even condemned these attacks (as reported here on NST) and several Muslim friends of mine are angry about such violence over the issue.

My Twitter feed have been filled with outraged friends who is furious over these acts which is in direct conflict of our Constitutional Rights on freedom of religion.

Malaysia has now been known for making religion a political issue. We are now ranked as the 9th most religiously strict countries in the world!! With the new Branding campaign of 1Malaysia, there needs to be helluva lot of education to the public (more specifically religious extremist of any faith) that we should practice the harmony that we preach.

I feel that this is a very small issue that just got way way way out of hand. Why do people take things so seriously? What do you think about this issue?

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