The word “Allah” and the controversy in its usage

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The
term “Allah” has been used before the advent of Islam. It has
been the common term of reference to the Almighty for many centuries.
The various communities using this common term of reference had no
problem in understanding this word and what it referred to. There has
been no confusion whatsoever. Nobody has objected to the use of this
term of reference until narrow-minded politicians got involved and
created the present unnecessary controversy. Ordinary people from all
faiths have better common sense in understanding this term of
reference; they know what it means and what it alludes to in their
respective faiths.

As
we have pointed out in our statement of 22 December 2007, “Languages
are the common heritage of humanity. Because of this, the various
languages developed and grew rich in expression. They absorbed words
and expressions from one another and, in the process, languages
became expressive, expanded and spread across the world.”

This
being the case, no community can claim monopoly to the use of any
word. It would be an absurd claim. Further, the word “Allah” is
not a local word derived from Bahasa Malaysia for anyone to lay claim
to its exclusive usage.

By
taking a political decision and making a political stand on its
usage, the Barisan Nasional is creating confusion in the minds of
thinking Malaysians. The harmony that the Prime Minister is trying to
preserve and promote is being muddied and our unity is being
threatened by the actions of uncaring politicians. The PM,
unfortunately, is unable to rein in these politicians.

While
in the past, certain individuals were involved in claiming exclusive
right to the usage of the word “Allah”, now it is the cabinet
that has decided that except for Muslims others cannot utter this
word or use it in their writings. In other words, this is the
decision of the BN government supported by all the 14 component
parties represented in the government.

We
need no further proof that what Umno wants it gets. All the other
component parties play only second fiddle to the demands of Umno. The
rest of the component parties very apparently do not have a say in
this issue except to give in to the demands of Umno.

We
would like to pose a question to the BN with regard to the Rukunegara
and the five principles which have been adopted as the guiding
principles of the nation. The first principle states, “Kepercayaan
kepada Tuhan”.
Now, according to the Cabinet’s logic, will
the Muslims be confused when they recite the Rukunegara because the
term used in reference to God is “Tuhan” instead of “Allah”?
Going by the Cabinet’s logic, can non-Muslims
sing the state anthems of certain states where the word “Allah”
is included in the text of the song?

Now,
Malaysians will know how absurd and ridiculous the BN government
sounds and behaves in a plural society.

P
Ramakrishnan

 

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President

 

5
January 2008

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