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Statement by Dr. Chen Man Hin in Seremban on Tuesday, 19th January 2010:

The silent majority of Malaysian Muslims must speak up against the ruling to ban Christians from invoking the name of Allah

The government ban on the use of ALLAH by Christians does not have the support of the majority of Malaysian Muslims. as a matter of fact, my impression is that the Muslim ummah in Malaysia are by and large solid citizens loyal both to the country and to their religion Islam, and do not buy the argument that the use of Allah by Christians would confuse the ummah.

PAS and PKR leaders like Anwar Ibrahim and Hadi Awang have openly stated that the use of Allah by christians is correct and allowed by Islam.

Anwar has said “With regard to the use of the word ALLAH, it cannot be disputed that Arabic speaking Muslims, Christians and Jews have collectively prayed to God as Allah throughout the last fourteen centuries.”

Muslim scholars like Dr Yusuj al-Qaradawi and Sheikh Dr Wahban Az-Zuhaili concurred that Allah is a ‘terminology shared with the adherents of the Abrahamic faith – Jews, Christians and Muslims. That the usage of the word Allah has never been the monopoly of the Islamic creed”

In the Middle East, a noted author Anthony Shadid wrote in the NY Times that ‘the word Allah infuses virtually every salutation, greeting and condolence, spoken upon departure and arrival, and at birth and death, a centuries-long refinement of mutual social exchanges that ensures no moment is awkward. INSHALLAH, GOD WILLING, everyone says about everything in the future tense, from an appointment the next day to the sun rising in the east’

So from the viewpoint of history, culture and Islamic jurisprudence, the usage of Allah is a non-issue. The Muslim world consider it as a non-issue. World opinion concurs, and they ask ‘what is all the fuss about?’

It is Umno that is kicking up the fuss for their own political motives. They claim that allowing Christians the usage of Allah would confuse the Malay Muslims. The majority of Muslims in the country do not buy the Umno argument, for the simple reason that Jews, Christians and Muslims have called the Almighty as Allah for centuries, and the Muslims have not been confused, but have gathered strength and influence over the centuries. In the same way both Muslims and Christians in Malaysia will pray to Allah and ask for peace, harmony and prosperity.

If Umno persists in imposing the ban on christians, Malaysia will be the laughing stock in the Muslim world as well as to the world in general. The world will not look kindly on a country that denies religious freedom to its citizens. Foreign investors will stay away for fear there will be disturbances, and this will affect the economy, which will affect the daily lives of the people.

The ummah in Malaysia should reject the ridiculous ban on the usage of Allah by Christians. The silent majority of right thinking Muslims must speak up for their rights and move into the mainstream of a modern global world where the people of different races and religions live in peace, harmony and progress.

* Dr. Chen Man Hin, DAP Life Advisor



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