HRH is of course the Head of Islam in Selangor and he can fatwa on all issues on Islam in the state as much as he likes. But his most recent fatwa prohibiting non-Muslims from using the 'Allah' word has, with all respect to HRH (ampun tuanku), unfortunately further muddied the murky waters spilled out by the Appeals Court on issue.
I don't propose to start from the very beginning of the 'Allah' word issue as I've blogged amply on it but I take this opportunity to reiterate my personal stand, that as a non-Muslim, repeat, as a non-Muslim I do NOT support the Catholic Church on its obdurate insistence to use the 'Allah' word as the Malay language reference to the Christian god in its Bahasa section of its weekly newsletter, The Herald.
If you want to know why I have adopted this stand (an unusual one for a non-Muslim Chinese - no, I'm not nor related to Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, wakakaka), please read my earlier posts:
(a) Allah, Elohim or Yahweh? on 12 Jan 2010
(b) Catholic Herald & the 3rd Pandora Box on 01 Apr 2010
(c) Now, who are the Arab wannabes? on 29 Dec 2012
(d) The Church & Allah posted on 01 Jan 2013
(e) The elephant in the room posted on 19 Oct 2013
Just prior to HRH's fatwa on non-Muslim use of the 'Allah' word, the situation or imbroglio has been best summed up by Dr Ronnie Ooi of Aliran who stated that Malays could interpret the Appeals Court's ruling as:
- That the Court of Appeal decision is completely wrong and the use of the word Allah should be unrestricted. This is certainly the view of the MP for Sepang and Pas central committee member Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, expressed in a very well written article for Malaysiakini, and of Professor Abdul Aziz Bari.
- That the decision applies to The Herald only and not to East Malaysia. This appears to be the position of Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Malaysia president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya and the Malaysian government.
- That the decision implies a blanket ban on the use of the word Allah by all non-Muslims including in East Malaysia and presumably in the Sikh holy books as well. This appears to be the view of the lawyer for The Herald and is demanded by Perkasa. It seems to be implicit in what Pas syura council deputy chief Haron Din wants when he says the “holy name is exclusively for Muslims only”
Note the 3rd dot-point in which the right wing elements, comprising The (Catholic) Herald, Perkasa and PAS Syura Council are 'together with one heart' in pushing the envelope kau kau - bloody ornithological species of identical plumage - semua nak cari pasal saja, pordah!
|Father Lawrence Andrew, editor The Herald|
who told us that Elohim is a foreign word for God, while Allah is a local (Malay) word
But forget about those Huns and let's return to HRH's fatwa.
Two legal facts are undeniable, namely: (1) HRH is the Head of Islam and thus Islamic Affairs in Selangor, where he can issue fatwa on Islamic issues and make rulings on Islamic matters, and (2) there is a law (state or/and federal legislation) prohibiting non-Muslims preaching and converting any Muslims in Malaysia.
I want to discuss one confusing point which lies outside the above two legal situations. Initially I had thought the best example would be to use the Sikh religion which has the word 'Allah' in its Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of Sikhism, ...
|Guru Granth Sahib|
see if you can spot the 'Allah' word which appears 12 times in it
... BUT I decided not to because the Book is in the Punjabi language, and as I have been repetitively saying, the Muslim government authority in Malaysia doesn't give a f**k about any language (eg. Punjabi, Chinese, Iban, Swahili) using the 'Allah' word other than Malay (Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia) and in a media form just all too easily circulated, to wit, The Catholic Herald.
But of course, HRH's recent fatwa as the Head of Islam in Selangor has now infringed on the Sikhs' rights to freely practice their Sikh religion in Selangor, and may I mohon ampun tuanku again, has now weakened the government's position and credibility via-a-vis its insistence that the Appeals Court's ruling only applies to The (Catholic) Herald. It has been said HRH had received very bad advice on the fatwa.
Now, what if very religious (wakakaka) kaytee, while in the state of Selangor, uses the word Allah in his Christian wakakaka or Taoist or Buddhist or Shinto or Hindu prayers in English or Chinese or Pali or Japanese or Tamil (my late dad spoke Tamil fluently and taught me a few words, while I acquired a few additional but very naughty and sexy ones as well, wakakaka)?
Just what legal authority does the Selangor Head of Islam have over a Christian, Taoist, Buddhist or Shinto or Hindu (etc) who prays in English or Chinese or Pali or Japanese or Tamil/Hindi/Malayalam/Telugu in the state of Selangor?
HRH as the Sultan of Selangor is only a constitutional monarch, and outside of the religion of Islam and Islamic issues, he has no legal authority over a non-Muslim [though we suspect he has lots of extralegal powers and persuasion).
Of course we non-Muslim Malaysians respect him, definitely much more than UMNO people as I have shown in Insulting the Rulers, UMNO-style, wakakaka, but nonetheless we beg to ask (ampun tuanku):
... just under what constitutional or legal grounds will a non-Muslim Christian, Taoist, Buddhist, Shinto or Hindu (etc) in the state of Selangor who prays in English or Chinese or Pali or Japanese or Tamil/Hindi/Malayalam/Telugu and uses the word 'Allah' in his prayers, be charged with?