06 Januari 2010

DPM: Don't politicise Allah ruling

19 Muharram 1431H

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4: In comments viewed as ironical, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has warned Malaysians not to politicize the recent High Court decision allowing a Christian magazine to use the word Allah to describe God in its Malay-language section.

“We don't want a situation where the court decision can cause anger and tension between the various races in the country," he told reporters on Monday. “We should have faith in the government leadership to tackle the problem.”

Last week’s decision by the court to overturn a Home Ministry ban on the use of Allah had sparked protests from certain Muslim groups despite a promise by Prime Minister Najib Razak to appeal.

Indeed, Muhyiddin is the latest in a string of Umno leaders who have waded into the fray. Others include Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Jerlun MP Mukhriz Mahathir and former Selangor mentri besar Khir Toyo. They have slammed the court ruling as an ominous development for both the Muslim religion and the Malay community.

However, the overly aggressive reaction has raised eyebrows and sparked criticism that Umno was trying to make use of the issue to harness support from the Malay electorate, even though the political ploy could upset the other races.

Already Christian groups have voiced dismay over the response of several Umno-backed NGOs, who have threatened to hold mass demonstrations at main mosques throughout Kuala Lumpur on Friday if the matter was not resolved.

Can use Allah but let's meet to prevent abuse

Meanwhile, PAS – the premier Islamic party in the country – will hold a special meeting of its political bureau on Monday night to discuss the Allah ruling.

Its spiritual adviser Nik Aziz Nik Mat has said that it is not wrong for non-Muslims to use the word Allah.However, he also cautioned that usage of the word could be abused and has expressed a wish to meet Christian leaders to sort out these concerns.

“My only worry is that it is wrongly used or abused,” Nik Aziz said on Sunday. “But through consultation, we can prevent confusion. This way, the teachings of Islam can spread and be further developed across all sections of society.”

"If anyone is behaving rashly and stirring up sentiments, it is the Umno camp. They have been raining down all sorts of comments and opened thousands of Facebook accounts in a bid to spark sentiment and rally mass support from the community. But this is like a time bomb, it may not be the right issue to use," said a political watcher.


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