Archive for category Islam
– Ahmad Mustakim
The Malaysian Insider
November 23, 2013
The issue of sectarian differences in Malaysia has been ongoing for months. Muslims have been quarrelling (some countries end up committing genocide over it) over the differences in doctrines of Islam. Have Muslims ever wondered to what end this quarrelling will bring us?
After Prophet Muhammad’s death, his companions and the next generations differed on religious matters, parallel to the growing empire and the number of people converting to Islam. It was from the political end, not religious, that the ummah was divided.
According to the Amman Message, all eight mazhab (school of thoughts), including Sunni, Shia, salafi, ibadhi, asharism and Sufism are considered Muslims and, therefore, it is forbidden to declare Muslims in the mazhab as kaffir (takifiri).
It is sad to see how the clerics and ulama could not cooperate wisely with their differences in ideology. Such a situation leaves the Muslim public in confusion over theology. You see, the great scholars of many sects did not make it compulsory to follow their teachings. Read the rest of this entry »
by Tommy Thomas
Oct 24, 2013
COMMENT A simple way to illustrate the point that the measure of protection given in the federal constitution may be absolute or limited is to compare the language employed in Articles 10 and 11.
Article 10 protects freedom of speech, assembly and association. But Parliament may, by law, restrict the rights under Article 10, whereas Parliament cannot enact any law to restrict or curtail the freedom of religion under Article 11(1) and (3).
This difference in text between Articles 10 and 11 means that persons who belong to, say, a chess club or a sports association, would come within the purview of Article 10, while members of a religious group would come within the scope of Article 11.
Because Article 11 is drafted in much broader terms than Article 10, members of religious groups enjoy a far greater measure of constitutional protection than members of a chess club or a sports association.
Conversely, state action can control, direct and regulate a chess club and a sports association much more than it can over a religious group. Additionally, only citizens enjoy Article 10 rights, whereas no such limitation occurs under Article 11.
In stating this position, Article 11(5) is not to be overlooked. But Article 11(5) does not permit Parliament to enact laws to restrict freedom. It merely provides that in the enjoyment of religious freedom, whether individually under Article 11(1) or collectively under 11(3), a person or a religious group should not carry out any act which could contravene any general law relating to “public order, public health or morality”. Read the rest of this entry »
by Tommy Thomas
Oct 23, 2013
COMMENT The sustained public attack on last week’s decision of the Court of Appeal in prohibiting the Catholic Church from using the word ‘Allah’ in its internal publication, The Herald, is absolutely unprecedented, even in a nation used to bad court decisions.
From a constitutional perspective, the judgments of the three judges on the bench are poorly reasoned, the law misread and conclusions reached which will baffle any right-thinking student anywhere in the common law.
The decision is not just wrong, it is horribly wrong, and represents a terrible blot on our legal landscape, unless overturned quickly by the apex court, the Federal Court. Regrettably, what follows may seem unduly legalistic, but it cannot be avoided in a critique of a court decision. Read the rest of this entry »
Friday, 25 October 2013
I said these things:
I agree to Islamic laws as long as they do not contradict our present constitution. 2) I agree to the bigger agenda of Islamic law of establishing a state founded on the principle of the rule of law. 3. I will not object if the laws do not tyrannize others not of Muslim faith.
How are these objectionable? These are the things I said in response to questions asked by a reporter.
To Muslim conservatives, if these views cannot be pigeonholed into specific categories, it is because of my own shortcomings. To secular politicians if they appear alarmingly Islamist, the fright is unnecessary.
Let me offer a more sophisticated explanation.
There seem to be misplaced furore and confusion over statements attributed to me on the implementation of Islamic laws. As I see statements going around especially from people remote from what actually transpired and the absurd and the manic responses arising thereafter, I am now convinced that in general, there is a morbid and irrational fear about anything said in relation to Islam and Islamic laws. Perhaps this morbidity and irrationality and regrettably manic disposition stem from years of self-induced personal bigotry. But perhaps also because Muslims have themselves to blame for so much negativity about them. But that is another subject matter. Read the rest of this entry »
by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
October 24, 2013
Malaysia will be a better place if politicians “stop politicising religion and academic matters” and leave both issues to the relevant parties to decide, says ex-Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.
“People are confused. If they (politicians) had, from the beginning, followed this principle, then Malaysia will not be in this position,” he told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the chorus of criticism the country has been receiving following the Allah decision.
Last week, a three-man Court of Appeal bench unanimously overturned the 2009 Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling that allowed the Catholic Church to use the word “Allah” in its weekly publication, Herald.
Muslim scholars and clerics worldwide have criticised the ban, pointing out that the word predates Islam and was a word that meant God in Arabic.
Asri, a 42-year-old Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) associate professor and known to supporters as the “voice of reason” and to critics as a “promoter of liberalism”, is one of those who had condemned the ban on Allah for non-Muslims.
He had previously said that as long as the word Allah was used to refer to “the Most Supreme Being”, the non-Muslims could use the word.
“So actually it is a non-issue. Muslims believe in one God. So how can we say your God is different from mine?” he had said before.
In an interview with The Malaysian Insider recently, Asri said it is ridiculous if they say the word is exclusive to Muslims.
“Civilisations that practised tolerance prospered and stayed as a society much longer than those that did not.” Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 23, 2013
Malaysia’s self-styled image as a global leader of moderate Islam has been undermined by a court ruling that only Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God, with a growing number of Muslim scholars and commentators condemning the decision.
A Malaysian court ruled last week that the word was “not an integral part of the faith in Christianity”, overturning a previous ruling that allowed a Malay-language Roman Catholic newspaper to use the word.
Since then, confusion has reigned over the interpretation of the ruling, with government ministers, lawyers and Muslim authorities giving widely diverging views on its scope.
Critics of the decision have said it casts a chill on religious rights in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has substantial minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians.
Commentators in some countries that practice Islam more strictly than Malaysia have condemned the ruling, arguing that the word ‘Allah’ has been used by different faiths for centuries. Read the rest of this entry »
by Elizabeth Zachariah and Yiswaree Palansamy
The Malaysian Insider
October 22, 2013
Muslim MPs from PAS and PKR as well as educational organisations have spoken out against the practice of carrying out ritual slaughter in schools during the recent Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations.
PAS Kuala Krai MP Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli said any school should be off limits for the slaughter of animals.
“Be it religious schools, ethnic-based schools or national schools,” said Dr Hatta.
“In the truest nature of observing the holy Qurban, there is no need to openly slaughter animals in the presence of others, especially in an area where people of other faith reside, work or carry out activities,” he added, referring to the Arabic word for sacrificial slaughter. Read the rest of this entry »
by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
October 21, 2013
There appears to be a conscious effort by Putrajaya to dilute the Court of Appeal ruling on the Allah issue, an approach driven by fear of losing further support among East Malaysians, say constitutional lawyers.
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider, the lawyers said Putrajaya was in “damage control” mode as the Court of Appeal ruling had far-reaching implications, having caused an uproar among non-Muslims.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told an audience in Sabah that East Malaysian Christians are free to use the word Allah in their worship and publications, including the Al-Kitab, which is the Bahasa Malaysia bible. Read the rest of this entry »
by Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
October 20, 2013
Christian worshippers recited the word Allah as they fulfilled their Sunday obligation across churches in Sarawak today, shrugging off a court ruling that said the Arabic word for God was not central to their faith.
At the St Columbas Anglican church in Miri this morning, the native faithful intoned the words Allah Taala in Iban, God Almighty in English, as they have been doing all their life.
Parishioners who attended the 7am Iban service were reminded during sermon that there would be no change in the way prayers are said and that the church would continue using the word Allah.
The priest, referring to the statement made by Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok earlier this week, said the church would “continue to reverently worship their Allah until the Kingdom comes”. Read the rest of this entry »
- Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
October 19, 2013
Saya ingin berkongsi suatu perkara yang penting yang telah berlaku sejurus selepas kuliah saya di UTM baru-baru ini.
Dua orang mahasiswa Melayu datang ke pejabat saya untuk bertanyakan beberapa isu. Pada kebiasaannya mahasiswa atau mahasiswi yang datang ke pejabat saya akan bertanyakan tentang soalan berkaitan senibina dan juga tugasan yang diberikan.
Tetapi, pada hari itu, kedua-dua mahasiwa ini telah bertanyakan tiga soalan yang kini seluruh negara kita sedang berhadapan tetapi tidak terjawab. Saya perturunkan tiga soalan ini dengan jawapan saya tetapi sebahagian jawapan saya adalah soalan kepada pucuk pimpinan universiti awam dan pimpinan negara. Ketiga-tiga soalan itu berkisar terhadap isu ketamadunan, perkauman dan kemanusiaan.
Soalan pertama yang telah diajukan kepada saya oleh salah seorang dari dua orang mahasiswa yang hadir ke pejabat saya di UTM adalah:
“Dewasa ini kita sering dengar banyak sekali yang diperkatakan tentang Islam oleh ustaz-ustaz dan tokoh-tokoh ugama. Tetapi yang saya pelik adalah dalam melaut perbincangan tentang ugama Islam, kenapa tahap kemanusiaan kita makin hari makin rendah?” Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
Firebombs didn’t go off in mosques. Pigs’ heads were not thrown into mosque compounds. These things did not happen after the Court of Appeal ruled against the High Court’s 2009 decision to allow the Catholic weekly newspaper The Herald to use the word ‘Allah’ in referring to God.
They did not happen despite Muslim group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s adding insult to injury by telling Christians to accept the verdict or leave the country. Its president, Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman, said, “They can choose to move to another country if they cannot accept the supremacy of Islam and the royalty that protects the supremacy of the religion.” It was irrelevant, uncalled-for and provocative, but the community that was targeted did not retaliate with violence. This of course is to its credit.
It did, however, react angrily to the verdict. Rev Eu Hong Seng, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, declared: “This is yet another erosion and infringement of the constitutional protection to the freedom of religious communities to profess and practise their faith and to manage their own affairs. The decision might encourage and fuel further misunderstanding and mistrust between the Muslim and Christian communities which will further undermine the unity of Malaysians.” Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 19, 2013
Five days after the Court of Appeal ruled on the ‘Allah’ issue the controversial decision is still drawing ridicule from some Muslims worldwide as, among others, “bizarre” and “grossly wrong”.
“Now, as a fellow Muslim, I will be honest to the Malaysians who have given this verdict or those who support it: This is one of the most illogical, insensible and childish decisions I have heard in my life. It is sheer nonsense,” wrote a columnist for Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News today.
Mustafa Akyol, who appears to write for several Turkish and international publications, called the verdict that The Herald cannot use the word ‘Allah’ as it leads to confusion amongst Muslims and brings the threat of propagation “grossly wrong”, “un-Islamic” and “irrational”.
“Why? Well, first of all, the word ‘Allah’ simply means ‘the God’ in Arabic, and it certainly is not exclusive to Islam,” he wrote, mirroring the much repeated explanation that seems to fall on deaf ears amongst the local Muslims in authority. Read the rest of this entry »
by V Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
October 19, 2013
All Malaysians are bound by the Court of Appeal ruling on the Allah issue, says former attorney general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, who is puzzled that Putrajaya believes the controversial judgment does not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak.
The appellate court agreed that the Home Minister could ban the word Allah in the Catholic weekly Herald, but two Cabinet ministers had insisted the decision did not include the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia bible widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, and other Christian publications in East Malaysia.
“It has the effect of a binding precedent and all have to respect that decision, whether you agree or disagree,” he told The Malaysian Insider, adding it was binding until set aside by the country’s highest court, the Federal Court.
Abu Talib, who was the chief legal adviser to the government for 13 years from 1980, said there could be no two sets of law when “we have one nation and one supreme constitution”.
“So, there cannot be exemptions given to Sabah and Sarawak on this religious issue based on region or state,” he said.
Abu Talib said this in response to Cabinet ministers Tan Sri Joseph Kurup and Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili who had taken the position that Christians in the Borneo states were not affected by the appellate court ruling on Monday and could use the word in their religious practices. Read the rest of this entry »
Mohamed Hanipa Maidin
Oct 17, 2013
MP SPEAKS Freedom of religion as enshrined in Article 11 of the federal constitution has never been absolute. Nowithstanding that, the constitution definitely allows Christians to use ‘Allah’ in their Catholic weekly publication The Herald.
Thus, it is indeed shocking to learn that the Court of Appeal unanimously invoked the constitutional ground to affirm the decision of the home minister in preventing The Herald from using the word Allah in its publication.
As far as I am concerned, the issue is rather simple and straightforward, namely whether Allah exclusively belongs to Muslims. If the answer is in the affirmative, then it is the end of the matter.
In other words the Christians or other religious adherents do not have any constitutional right to use Allah’s name. The rule is so simple – you cannot claim any right which is not yours in the first place.
Truth to be told, Allah is not the exclusive possession of any Muslim. The non-exclusivity of Allah to the Muslims is in fact derived from the Muslim’s main sources of guidance, which are the Quran and the hadith. Read the rest of this entry »
— Clive Kessler
The Malay Mail Online
October 16, 2013
OCT 16 — The more I think about the Court of Appeal’s recent judgment in the case of the government’s appeal against the lower court’s determination in favour of The Herald, the crazier, and more infuriatingly wrong-headed, it seems.
The legal reasoning of Justice Mohamad Apandi Ali seems not just “innovative” but arguably bizarre and, to the historically minded, even absurd. It seems hardly sustainable.
It rests upon and promotes the radical idea that the enjoyment by minorities of their religious freedom “in peace and harmony” was, as a form of words, not intended as a constitutional guarantee or assurance to them but as a way of making that freedom of theirs subject to the pleasure, discretion and the inflationary whims of the majority.
With that “contrarian” spin, these words are now made to serve as the practically enabling condition or mechanism of the minority’s subordinate and infinitely ever more constrainable situation.
That is to say, of a situation where the exercise of any of the potential freedoms of religious conscience that the minority might claim is now to be made conditional upon continuing, and always revocable, majority consent — upon the majority’s increasingly reluctant and unlikely forbearance. Read the rest of this entry »
Has Najib’s 1Malaysia Policy degenerated in four years into a 2Malaysia Policy with different interpretations of constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion for two different regions in Malaysia?
Has Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Policy degenerated in four years into a 2Malaysia Policy with different interpretations of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion for two different regions in Malaysia?
This is a question that cries out for answer after the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup told Sin Chew Daily that the Cabinet had decided after the Court of Appeal judgment on the “Allah” case that in keeping with the earlier 10-point solution, the word “Allah” can be used by Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians in their worship, including in the Malay-language bible Al-Kitab.
Many queries have been spawned, including whether the Cabinet can override the Court of Appeal judgment by executive fiat, which no lawyer, whether in Cabinet, government, Parliament or in the country would ever claim.
What then is the legality, legitimacy and longevity of the Cabinet decision attempting to override the Court of Appeal “Allah” judgment? Read the rest of this entry »
NEWS ANALYSIS BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
October 17, 2013
There is irrationality and irony in the Cabinet’s decision that the word Allah can be used in worship and in the Bahasa Malaysia bibles in Sabah and Sarawak – because one cannot compartmentalise religion by regions.
Nor can the Cabinet override the court’s decision.
Or the fact that the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald, is actually meant for East Malaysians where most of the Catholics speak and read the national language more than anywhere else in the country.
After all, what are the chances that a non-Catholic would be able to lay his or her hands on one of the 14,000 copies printed weekly in Malaysia for some one million Catholics in the country?
If anything, the Cabinet decision that the Court of Appeal ruling would not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak shows that at the end of the day, everything is about politics. Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 16, 2013
COMMENT The Malaysian Bar is deeply concerned by the decision of the Court of Appeal delivered on Oct 14, 2013 in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Herald’ or ‘Allah’ case.
The concerns arise from the court’s interpretation of Article 3(1) of the federal constitution on the status of Islam and other religions and Article 11(1) and (4) on the fundamental right to profess and practice a religion.
Any interpretation of the constitution must invite the greatest scrutiny as it impacts on the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all citizens. Read the rest of this entry »
By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
October 17, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Malaysia’s court ruling on Muslims’ exclusivity over “Allah” could inspire Indonesians of the faith to lay the same claim over the Arabic word, Jakarta Post warned in an editorial yesterday.
The English-language daily in Indonesia noted that religious exclusivism was equally strong in Indonesia, “if not stronger” than in neighbouring Malaysia, citing previous debates like whether non-Muslims should be allowed to say the traditional Arabic phrases “Assalamu’alaikum” (peace be upon you), “Alhamdulillah” (praise be to God) and “Insya Allah” (God willing).
“It’s only a matter of time before someone takes the cue from Malaysia and starts raising objections to non-Muslims using the word Allah,” Jakarta Post wrote in an editorial titled “No one has monopoly claim to God: On the use of ‘Allah’ in Malaysia”.
“No one who believes in the power of one supreme God can really claim exclusivity. There is no such thing as the God for Catholics, just as there is no such thing as the God or Allah for Muslims,” added the newspaper.
Jakarta Post stressed that “those who claim exclusivity to God undermine their own faith, and inadvertently or not, preach polytheism”. Read the rest of this entry »
Barely a month after the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, the recent Allah Judgment has raised many important questions for the founding of and the future of our country.
The first point of the 18 point Sarawak agreement and the 20 point Sabah (then North Borneo) agreement emphasized the freedom of religion that must be enjoyed by Sarawak and Sabah as minimum demands for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.
It should be noted that in the Cobbold Commission Report of 1962, the views of the Chairman and the British members of the Commission were for the insertion into the state constitutions of Sabah and Sarawak a specific provision to guarantee the freedom of religion.
It should also be noted that the Malayan members of the Commission, Ghazali Shafie and Wong Pow Nee both agreed that while Islam would be the national religion for the Federation, they were ‘satisfied that the proposal in no way jeopardises freedom of religion in the Federation, which in effect would be secular’.
Given the importance of the freedom of religion to the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, would there have been widespread support for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia if the Court of Appeal Allah judgment was the law of the land?
What would have been the reaction of the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak to the findings of the judgment prohibiting the usage of the word “Allah” in the Herald and that the usage of the name “Allah” is “not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity”?
Or would history have been overturned and Malaysia, as we know it today, comprising of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak not be in existence?
Read the rest of this entry »