In my post Allah ® Copyright Reserve - a necessity? I question the Herald, the organ of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, for insisting on using the word ‘Allah’ in its Bahasa section when referring to God .
While I support its right to publish Church news and articles in Bahasa, I was and still am of the opinion that it is unnecessary to employ the A-word when Tuhan would do just as well. The Herald’s claim that Sabahans and Sarawakians use the A-word because of its presence in the imported Indonesian al Kitab is not a plausible reason, apart from insulting East Malaysian Christians as if they can’t distinguish what the Bahasa word Tuhan means.
My expressed opinion has been controversial especially for a non-Muslim (would it be tautological to state I am non-Melayu too), where I deeply upset my dear blogger friend Lucia Lai of Mental Jog. As punishment for what she must have deemed as my loose cannon shot, she is refusing to communicate with me for 50 days, 10 more than what Moses had spent on Mount Sinai while waiting for the 10 Commandments (Exodus 24:18).
However, when I read the Malaysiakini news article that Christian children books have been seized by enforcement officials of the Publications and Al-Quran Texts Control Department under the Internal Security Ministry in 3 States - in Johor Bahru, Senawang in Negeri Sembilan and Ipoh, Perak - I told myself UMNO’s ‘agama, bangsa dan negara’ fear campaign has gone too far and has now intruded into the rights of Christians.
Malaysiakini reveals that these books have been seized from three MPH bookstores, though it’s not known yet whether other book retailers have had similar raids. And the pathetic excuse has been that the Christian children’s books contain offensive caricatures of prophets.
What left me gobsmacked has been the fact that these books are in English, that's right, not in Bahasa.
Negeri Sembilan and Malacca department director Faizah Nor Sidek said her department acted on a complaint from Islamic authorities. She stated: “The illustrations of prophets in the Christian children’s books are said to offend the sensitivities of Muslims.”
Well, my dear, let me put a few reasons why your department’s action have gone too far:
(1) The books are in English and meant for Christians, not for Muslims. In fact it would be illegal and irreligious for Malaysian Muslims to open Christian text books.
(2) The A-word or several others copyright reserved for Malaysian Islam like 'Baitullah’ (House of God), ‘Solat’ (prayer) and ‘Kaabah’ (The Sacred House) were not used.
(3) The prophets are Christian prophets, way before Prophet Mohamad (pbuh) blessed the Islamic world with Allah’s message of Islam. Therefore kindly stay out of the teachings of Christianity, which predates Islam.
(4) If the Christians have a humorous, tolerant and more confident approach to religious piety, as seen in several movies like Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty that’s none of your bloody business (unless you're a Christian). Also see my post Is God humorous?
But of course, as we all know, the UMNO vs PAS holy-than-thou battles, and the seizure of the books is merely one of them, have nothing to do with religious piety but rather grubby politics and avarice for power and all the attendant trimmings.
I have just blogged on this in What's missing in Malaysian politics? where I stated:
“… the ‘agama, bangsa dan negara’ clarion call has been overused by the desperate, unscrupulous and ambitious to both provide, for example, 9.2 million Teflon-ing excuses as well as to marshal the faithful to the ethnic banner against the fabricated siege by the ‘nons’.”
“The usual candidate for the feared 'nons' would be 'Chinese communists' but now supplanted by 'Indian terrorists'. The doctrine is that the family that fears together sticks together.”
Just because the election is just around the corner doesn’t meant you (AAB's Internal Security Ministry) can merely add another candidate, namely the Christians, for the heartland to ‘fear’ so as to vote for UMNO as their Islamic warrior.
Don't you dare intrude into the Christian domain such as these children text books when it has not intruded into Islamic characteristics (like using the A-word).