‘Teach Christians a lesson, ban al-Kitab’
Anisah Shukry | October 18, 2013 FMT News
Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali says he has had enough of Malays being “trodden and spat on” by “ungrateful Christians” and wants the government to ban Malay bibles in retaliation
SHAH ALAM: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should ban the Malay bible the al-Kitab from Malaysia in retaliation for the Christian community’s “ingratitude”, right-wing Malay group Perkasa urged last night.
“We have been compromising, we have given them leeway. They wanted the Malay Bible, we allowed them to have it… they were still not satisfied,” said its chief Ibrahim Ali said at the Perkasa Selangor Conference 2013 here.
“It is better that we urge the government and the prime minister to rescind its decision to allow Malay bibles in Malaysia!,” he said to loud applause and roars of approval from the audience of about 500 of its members.
The Perkasa chief was responding to the Catholic Church’s recent announcement that it would not give up its struggle for the rights to use the Arabic word ‘Allah’ in its weekly publication, The Herald.
This was after the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled on Monday that The Herald could not use the word ‘Allah’ on the basis that the word was “not integral” to the Christian faith.
Amid the backlash, ministers were quick to explain that the ban applied to The Herald alone, and not other Christian publications, including the al-Kitab, as per the Cabinet’s 2011 decision – a decision that Ibrahim wanted amended.
“How long are we going to compromise, to give in? We have been trodden on, spat on but we would have been fine with that if they were grateful for our compromises. But they aren’t!” said Ibrahim.
‘Christianity a religion without a name of God’
Clearly in his element, Ibrahim resorted to name-calling, declaring DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng a “pig” for declaring that he would continue to fight for Christians’ right to use the word ‘Allah’.
He also took a swipe at Christianity, saying that it was “a religion without a name of God.”
“Christianity is not a new religion – it has been around for hundreds of years. But apparently even up to today, it has no name for its God,” he said, to loud laughter from the audience.
“They insist on using the word ‘Allah’ because there is no other name for their God,” he mocked, adding that the actions of Christian leaders, pastors and the archbishop “puzzled” him.
Christian leaders as well as Muslim scholars such as former Perlis mufti Dr Asri Zainul Abidin have argued that the word “Allah” predates Islam, and is not exclusive to Muslims.
The tussle over the word is also unique to Malaysia as in Arab countries, non-Muslims are free to use the word.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court’s 2009 ruling that ‘Allah’ was not exclusive to Islam – a ruling overturned on Monday – had sparked protests and attacks on Christian houses of worship.