That Islamic supremacist impulse is at the heart of the dispute over Malay-speaking Christians’ use of the Arabic loanword “Allah” for “God.” Qur’an 29:46 says “Our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him we surrender,” but it is a talking point for Islamic proselytizing, and a one-way line of discourse in a manner in which a non-Muslim would be prohibited from preaching to a Muslim under Islamic law.
Thus, the attempt to deprive Malay Christians of the use of the name they have always used for “God” is both an attempt to subjugate them, reaching even into how they pray, and a public invalidation of the Christian religion in Malaysian society.
The allegation of a “mis-translation” is not new, but a 400-year-old Malay-Latin dictionary shows that Christians’ use of the word “Allah” is far older than the latest round of supremacist posturing against it.
“Malaysia: Christians can not use “Allah” to define God,” from AsiaNews, July 22:
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The use of “Allah” for God by Christians must stop because it may cause Islamic anger: this is the position of a prominent Islamic Malaysian Mohd Sani Badron in a speech yesterday at the Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikimono) reopening the dispute over the Bible translation of the vernacular term to refer to God. The Islamic scholar’s attack comes only a few days after the historic meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Pope Benedict XVI, a first step toward diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Holy See.
In his text “Kontroversi Nama Khas ‘Allah’ Agama Dalam Konteks Pluralism”, Badron, Director of Economic and Social Studies, said that “the mistranslation of the word ‘God’ as ‘Allah’ in the Malay Bible must be abandoned because it erroneously represents the two religions as equal. ” “The translation of ‘God’ as ‘Allah’ is very wrong, it should be translated correctly … we understand not only the word but the meaning and the meaning is wrong and inaccurate.” He continued: “Looking at the meaning, the correct term for ‘God’ in Christianity is ‘Tuhan’ and the word ‘Lord’ is also ‘Tuhan’, not ‘Allah’.”
Essentially, it’s “Anything But Allah.” It could be Tuhan, or Ernest P. Worrell, as long as the Islamic supremacists can get their way.
The local Catholic newspaper, the ‘”Herald Malaysia” has won a lawsuit at the Supreme Court two years ago for the right to publish the word “Allah” refering to the Christian God , but can not use it because there is a pending appeal by the Ministry, and the case has been dragging on since then at the Court of Appeal. The case of Malay-language Bibles blocked in the ports of Klang and Kuching two years ago, and only recently released showed a clear division between Muslims and non Muslims.
They were only released after a dispute about what the government wanted to stamp on the outside (and in some cases, did print on the covers) to warn people of a “Christian only” publication.
According to Mohd Sani Badron the translation of the Christian God as “Allah” is not respectful. “The term ‘Allah’ is a term of respect for Muslims, this judicial action has spread the perception that Muslims are oppressive, and certainly will raise the ire of the Muslim community.”
But Christians have republished a 400 year old Latin Malay dictionary, which shows that from the beginning the word “Allah” was used to define God in the Bible in local languages.”