Predictably, the Malaysian government’s partial backtracking on its Islamic supremacist restrictions on the right of access to and distribution of Bibles was indeed not the last word we would hear on this issue. The dispute has dragged on for years, particularly over the issue of Malay-speaking Christians’ use of the Malay word for “God,” which is the Arabic loanword “Allah,” and they have used it for centuries.
Qur’an 29:46 does say “our Allah and your Allah are one and to Him we surrender,” but is a one-way line of discourse for Islamic proselytizing, claiming the authentic worship of the one, true deity for Islam alone. An unbeliever would be forbidden to argue with a Muslim in that manner. And depriving Christians of the right to call upon God in the name they have always used is a particularly devastating way of ensuring they “feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29) and a way of further marginalizing them in society by being able to say, “See? They don’t worship Allah!”
The “reasonableness” of the demands of a marginalized group, as Christians are in this Muslim-majority nation, is in the eye of the overlord beholder. “Unreasonable” becomes translatable as “Frankly, we don’t have to, and don’t you dare ask us again.”
“Don’t test patience of Malays, Perkasa warns Christians,” by Shazwan Mustafa Kamal for Malaysian Insider, April 11 (thanks to Twostellas):
KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 “” Christians should be wary of making unreasonable demands such as asking that bibles be printed in Bahasa Malaysia, Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali said today.
The Malay rights group president said that Malays have been patient for “far too long” and have allowed non-Malays to make excessive demands.
“How many Malays are Christian? Why do you have to have bibles in Bahasa? Why not use bahasa Iban, or Kadazan?
“This is a problem of national security … we (Malays) have been far too giving, I want to remind them to not be excessive in their demands,” said Ibrahim.
“They are not the majority of the country,” he stressed.
He said it, in so many words: Non-Muslim minority rights are to be at the mercy of the Muslim majority.
The Pasir Mas MP said that the reason why the Christian community were making demands now was because Sarawak elections were underway.
“They are taking advantage of the elections, they raise these things and we cannot object … they are trying to exploit sensitive issues,” added Ibrahim.
“We have not brought up the issue of our rights,” he said.
Christian groups have been locked in a dispute with the government over the usage of Malay language bibles, or Alkitab, and over the 35,000 new copies that have been impounded in Kuching and Port Klang by the home ministry.
The ministry then allowed the bibles to be released on condition of being stamped with serial numbers and the phrase “For Christians only”. Christian groups had initially refused to abide by these conditions and have not collected the copies.
The Najib administration said yesterday that the Malay bible importers have now agreed to collect the 35,000 copies impounded in Port Klang and Kuching.
However, the importers of the books in Port Klang have said the bibles will not be sold or distributed, but will be preserved as museum pieces to illustrate what Christians have called the “defacement” of their holy book.
Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam said the 10-point solution proposed last week had “paved the way” for the importers, Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and The Gideons, to collect the books.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein himself had also been quoted as saying that the latest move was a “positive response” to the Cabinet’s collective decision in drawing up the 10-point solution.