Allah & Church Issue in Malaysia: Timeline

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This is a slide deck that I've compiled from various sources to detail the sequence of events leading up to the latest "Allah" controversy issue in my beloved country Malaysia. …

This is a slide deck that I've compiled from various sources to detail the sequence of events leading up to the latest "Allah" controversy issue in my beloved country Malaysia.

Christian Federation of Malaysia has compiled a more comprehensive list on this issue
http://www.necf.org.my/newsmaster.cfm?&menuid=43&action=view&retrieveid=1178

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  • 1. “ Allah” Issue On 31 Dec 2009, the High Court decided on the case brought by the Catholic weekly, The Herald against the Home Ministry in respect to the ban on the use of the word "Allah". The substance of the decision by the High Court is as follows:- That the ban by the Home Ministry against the Herald for using the word "Allah" in their publication is unconstitutional and therefore invalid; The use of the word "Allah" is not exclusive to Muslims only but non-Muslims religious groups such as Christians have the right to use the word "Allah" as this is their constitutional right. The decision was hailed as a landmark decision by all parties but has brought significant implication for Christians in Malaysia. (NECF Prayer Alert)
  • 2. To answer “Why do you want to fight the Malaysian government over the use of the word Allah?”
    • The inquirer may be well intentioned, but he is obviously ill-informed. The best answer to this question is to present the facts of history which show clearly that it is not the Malaysian Church that wants to fight the government; it is rather the case of the government pushing the Church with one demand after another until the Church’s back is pressed against the wall. The Church has no option but to appeal to the Court to seek redress and justice.
    • The timeline below shows how the government has been unrelenting in its harassment of the Church for the last 30 years.
    • (Excerpt & modified from http://libertysentinel.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/allah-word-the-bare-historical-facts-presented/ )
  • 3. Timeline Excerpt (non-exhaustive) from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet 1629 A. C. Ruyl translated the Gospel / Injil of Matthew into Bahasa Melayu. ‘ Allah’ was used in the following example: “maka angkou memerin’ja nama Emanuel artin’ja Allahu (the Greek word THEOS) serta segala kita” (Matt. 1:23) 1733 Translation of the Book of Genesis by M. Leijdecker “Pada mulanja dedjadikanlah  Allah  akan swarga dan dunja.” (Gen. 1:1). This is the first complete Malay Bible. 1879 Translation of the Book of Isaiah  by H. C. Klinkert “Bahwa-sanja Allah djoega salamatkoe.” (Isaiah 12:2). This is the second complete Malay Bible. (1890)Kebaktian Sa’hari Harian “Ia Elkhadir dan kakal Allah” (1895) Christian Doctrine : Pengajaran Mesehi – Terpendek “Saval  : Siapa sudah jadikan kami? Jawab : Allah Taala Saval  : Brapa ada Allah? Jawab  : Satu sahja, dan tida buleh ada lebeh sari satu Allah”
  • 4. Timeline continues Excerpt (non-exhaustive) from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet 1981 The Alkitab banned – Absolutely  by order under the Internal Security (Prohition of Publications) (No. 3) Order made 2 nd  December 1981 (KHEDN : 0 59/3/9/Jld 4; PN (PU2) 24 pt. 11).  “ The printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation or possession of the publication which is described in the Schedule and which is  prejudicial to the national interest and security of the Federation and is prohibited absolutely throughout Malaysia.” 1982 The Alkitab banned  by order under the Internal Security (Prohibition of Publications) (No. 4) Order made 22 nd  March 1982 (KHEDN: 0 59/3/9/A; PN (PU2) 24 Pt. 11). “ The printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation or possession of the publication which is described in the Schedule and which is  prejudicial to the national interest and security of the Federation and is prohibited ,  subject to the condition that this prohibition  shall not apply  to the possession or use in Churches of such publication by persons, professing the Christian religion, throughout Malaysia.”
  • 5. Timeline continues Excerpt (non-exhaustive) from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet 1983 Perintah Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (Tegahan mengenai penerbitan) (No. 3) Order made 4 th  May 1983 “ Perjanjian Baru ” ditegah dan tertakluk pada syarat bahawa tegahan ini  tidak dikenakan  kepada pemilik dan penggunaan suratan itu di dalam gereja oleh Kristian diseluruh Malaysia dengan alasan “memudarat kepada kepentingan negara dan keselamatan Persekutuan. (KHEDN, O, 59/3/9/A; PN (PU2) 24 Pt. II) 1985/ 1989 Heads of Malaysian Churches met in Kuala Lumpur (1985) and then in Kuching (1989) where there was a unanimous decision to keep the name “Allah” and the Bible Society of Malaysia honoured this decision when it published the revised Malay Bible, the Alkitab Berita Baik (1996). See the Kuching Declaration entitled “An Affirmation to the Churches in Malaysia” (September 1989) which was revised and re-issued as                  “A Declaration To the Churches in Malaysia (30 th  January 2008).
  • 6. Timeline continues Excerpt (non-exhaustive) from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet 1986 Circular letter to all Christian publishers from the publication control division of the Kementerian Dalam Negeri stating 4 words which are not allowed to be used in Christian publications : Allah, Kaabah, Baitullah and Solat . The aim of this prohibition is for public order and to prevent any misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians. (Letter KDN : S.59/3/9/A Klt. 2 – ( 17 ) and dated 5 December 1986). 1988 Selangor Enactment No. 1 of 1988 aka Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment, 1988 in Schedule 1 (Section 9) gives list of 25 words not to be used pertaining to a non-Islamic religion. Among the words are : Allah, Firman Allah, Ibadah , Kaaba, Wahyu, Mubaligh, Rasul, Iman, Salat, Imam, and Nabi. Other states with similar enactments are : Terengganu (1980), Kelantan, Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor. 1992 Enakmen Pentadbiran Undang-Undang Islam 1992 (Enakmen no.13, 1992) - Sabah fatwa prohibits use of 32 words by non-Muslims in their teaching or the advancement of their teaching. Among the 32 words are : Allah, Firman Allah,Ibadah, Wahyu, Mubaligh, Iman, Rasul, Solat, Imam, Nabi, and Injil. Published in Sabah State Government Gazette of 1 June 2003.
  • 7. Timeline continues Excerpt (non-exhaustive) from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet 1998 The first letter to Herald from KDN – an admonition – not to use the word ALLAH. 2002 The second letter to Herald – a show-cause letter – to be answered within 14 days. Subsequently through appeal and to representation to the Cabinet Herald was granted the use of the word ALLAH in its publication. 2005 Letter from Kementerian Keselamatan Dalam Negeri allows Christian publications to be distributed on condition that the front page has a “cross” with the words “Penerbitan Kristian” (“A Christian Publication). The aim of the conditions was stated that it was to prevent confusion among Muslims in Malaysia. Letter dated 22 December 2005. 2006 Letter from Kementerian Keselamatan Dalam Negeri allows for the publication of Bible in Bahasa Melayu edition in Malaysia with the conditions that it is chopped with the “cross” and the words “Untuk Penganut Beragama Kristian” and that the BM Bible is allowed to be sold only in Christian premises or shops. The aim of the decision was stated as to prevent the confusion of Muslims in Malaysian society. Letter dated 11 May 2006. 2006 Home Ministry letters to the Herald : The third letter – a reprimand. The fourth letter – a warning (in January) The fifth letter – another warning (in February)
  • 8. Timeline continues Excerpt (non-exhaustive) from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet 2006 Home Minister sets condition against the use of the word “Allah” on the Catholic weekly “Herald” in renewing their publication licence. The Herald seeks redress through the courts against the power of the Home Minister to set conditions on the use of the “Allah” word. 2007 The sixth letter to Herald – a show-cause letter. Herald files A Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim on 5 Dec 2007 . An Application for Judicial review on the above condition cited above. 2007 2008 Customs officers and Home Ministry officials detain the Alkitab at ports of entry and confiscate publications, Sunday School children’s books and CDs, from owners. This led to Sidang Injil Borneo (in Dec 2007 ) and Jill Ireland binti Lawrence Bill (in July 2008) initiating judicial review against the power of the Home Minister. 2008 An Application for Judicial Review for Herald 2009 permit condition was filed. 2009 Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (1960) (Larangan Penggunaan Perkataan Tertentu Pada Dokumen dan Penerbitan) 2009. Dated 16 Feb 2009. Dec 2009 Herald wins case against the power of the Home Minister to set conditions on the use of the word “Allah” in the Herald publication. Judgment handed down on 31 Dec 2009 . Government to appeal the High Court decision.
  • 9. Timeline continues Excerpt (non-exhaustive) from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet Jan 2010
    • V arious Attackes on Church Jan 8:
    • Metro Tabernacle, Desa Melawati, KL
    • Church of the Assumption, Jalan Templer, PJ, Selangor
    • Life Chapel, Section 17, PJ, Selangor
    • Jan 9:
    • Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Jalan Othman, PJ, Selangor
    • Jan 10:
    • All Saints Church, Taiping
    • SMK Convent, Taiping
    • Malacca Baptist Church, Durian Daun, Malacca
    • Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Miri, Sarawak
    • Brick thrown at surau in Kampung Jawa, Klang
    • Jan 11:
    • Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Seremban 2, Negeri Sembilan
    • Jan 13:
    • St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Kota Tinggi, Johor
    • Jan 16:
    • Bottles thrown at mosque in Sarawak.
  • 10. Timeline continues Reference: Modified from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet Mar 2011 5000 Alkitab detained in Kuching Port. April 2011 Cabinet issued a 10-point solution http://bit.ly/10ptsolution April 2011 CFM considered that the 10-point solution to be an an ad hoc and short term solution to the two consignments of Alkitab which have been impounded at Port Klang and Port of Kuching. http://bit.ly/cfm-10pt CCM Youth rejected the 10-point solution. CCM Youth called upon all Christians to rally firmly behind their Christian leaders as they worked towards a resolution for the community. http://bit.ly/ccm-10pt May 2011 7 th May . Utusan Malaysia reports that some Christian group is plotting to turn Malaysia into a Christian State. 12 th May . Christian leaders had lunch with PM. (Dinner was planned way before the Utusan issue). There was no pact, pledge or conspiracy. “… in the context of discussing unity in the nation and the worrisome trend of wild rants by some segments causing disharmony and the  Utusan  fiasco, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) chairman, Bishop Ng Moon Hing, basically reiterated the Christian stand of respecting the position of Islam, as stated in the constitution, and stressed the Church’s duty and desire to work with the government to maintain peace and harmony.” (Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng, NECF Chairman)
  • 11. Timeline continues Excerpt (non-exhaustive) from CFM “ Allah-word & the Alkitab : Fact Sheet (revised), 30 th March, 2010” http://bit.ly/cfm-allah-factsheet August 2011 3 rd August 2011. JAIS raid on Harapan Komuniti Thanksgiving Dinner 2011. DUMC issued two statements on 4 th & 12 th August, detailing the raid. http://dumc.com.my/ August 2011 24 th August 2011. CCM welcomes the apology tendered by the Malay Language daily, “Sinar Harapan”, over its article “Matlamat Gerakan Kristian” (Objectives of the Christian Movement) published on 23 rd August.
  • 12. Prayer Pointers
    • All parties will learn to respect each other's right and liberty to practice one's faith and religion.   
    • Unwanted elements may be restrained from provoking and politicising the issue for one's own political mileage.   
    • The masses especially the Muslims will see the truth of the matter and not be swayed by political agendas and overtones to react negatively but exercise mutual respect, good faith and acceptance of each religious groups and practices in diversity.   
    • God to overrule all demonstrations. Peace, order and harmony will be preserved.   
    • Our brethren in Sabah and Sarawak will be awaken to the truth and Body of Christ to arise and pray in such a time as this.
    Excerpt from: NECF Malaysia http://bit.ly/necf-allah