Monday, January 04, 2010

Reaction caused by ignorance

After the Malaysia's high court announced that 'Allah' is not exclusive to Muslim's disposal, 250 UMNO Youth members who supposedly are Muslims protested in front of the high court in Penang by shouting "seditious obscenities".

Previously I've posted that, "only those who are affected are legally, semantically, and historically ignorant people. Simply put, only stupid people will be affected by the court's decision."

Marina Mahathir, daughter of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, similarly thought that those who are affected by the court's ruling are "idiots."

More informed Muslims like Nik Aziz, the spiritual leader of PAS, has no problem with non-Muslims using the word 'Allah'.

Yet there is this Amidi Abdul Manan, deputy president of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), who said that "according to the National Fatwa Council the word “Allah” was exclusive to the Islamic religion alone." I didn't know that the National Fatwa Council is as ignorant and falls into Marina Mahathir's category of idiots. The council humiliates Islam's intellectual tradition and Muslims' intelligence.

And there is also this Nasharudin Mat Isa, deputy president of PAS, who remarked that, "The court decision is not only against the Constitution but it also goes against our faith, and this cannot be accepted." Nasharudin was humiliating his spiritual leader Nik Aziz, Islam, and the Muslims! Islamic faith is not that historically and semantically ignorant as he implied! He should cultivate more respect for his spiritual leader, his own faith, and his Muslim brothers and sisters.

On the other hand Najib, the prime minister, lied outrightly, "I don’t want to heat up the matter, the government knows the feelings of the Muslims, let us find the best solution." (Italic added)

Two issues here. First he took the opportunity to paint a picture that his government as one that champions Muslims' position. But the real situation is that only some Muslims who are ignorant of the country's constitution, the historical and semantical issues behind the word 'Allah' that are so affected neurotically by it. Seems that when Najib made such a false statement, he was implying that all Muslims are stupid and ignorant over these issues.

Second, given the fact that legally, historically, and semantically 'Allah' is not exclusive to Islam, Najib was really saying that his government is one that sympathizes with legal, historical, and semantical ignorance. In other words, his government sympathizes with stupidity. And through the process, Najib's administration is making Muslims in the country less and less educated and incapable to think critically; contradicting the great intellectual tradition of Islam.


akikonomu said...

I'd offer another possibility for this insanity: is there any proof of a campaign by certain Christian groups to adopt Arabic language and phrases as a culturally-informed attempt to convert Muslims in Malaya?

akikonomu said...

This is, for example, a branch of the Graduate Christian Fellowship (you are an honorary secretary of it, I recall?) that's headed by a very evangelical Christian gentleman who signs off all his emails with:

"Yours in the Name of Isa al Masih"

Sze Zeng said...

Hi akikonomu, I don't know there is any proof or not, but certainly by having an Arabic phrase and using that phrase to convey a message is not equivalent to converting or even the attempt of it.

Oh, that's an interesting way of signing off the email.

Steven Sim said...

Try see it the other way around, the official religion of Malaysia is Islam. Islam is given priority in terms of allocation of resources and place of rituals. For eg Islamic prayers are recited at official functions. Another eg is Govt spent RM750m for Islamic plc of worship compared to RM9m for non-muslim plc of worship. All local TV channels feature the 5 daily muslim prayers, some with the azan, some with quotations from Quran or Hadith.

In such scenario, hw come no one ever see frm the other side of the perspective where a Christian, when using the term "Allah", will be easily proselytized by Muslim dakwah?

The Govt. claimed that the use of Allah by Christians (and we must remember the Sikh community as well) will confuse Muslims. I say the other way is even truer in an overwhelming muslim context, but no Christians ever argue that.

No doubt there are fundamentalists in both camps, but the point of this whole commotion is the Msia Govt ignoring centuries of tradition and human right principles by denying Christian minority their liberty of religious practices. It's not Islam vs Christian as evident by many conservative Muslims and Islamic scholars coming out to reject the Govt's stance. Rather it is a case of Govt's oppression of minority's right.

Steven Sim

Sze Zeng said...

Thanks Steven for the good point. It's different context between Malaysian and Singapore.

Secular polity of Singapore is not relevant in Malaysia.