2 out of 3 people can’t practice their religion

10 01 2010

January 5, 2009. About 70 percent of the world’s population is not able to practice their religion freely and one of out every 5 countries impose severe restrictions to those who practice their faith.

(article from Romereports.com)

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KDN berjaya tangguh guna nama Allah

6 01 2010

Hafiz Yatim
Jan 6, 10
3:31pm

Mahkamah Tinggi hari ini membenarkan permohonan Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) untuk menangguhkan keputusan membenarkan mingguan Katholik – Herald – menggunakan kalimah Allah.

Hakim Lau Bee Lan membenarkan permohonan tersebut sementara menunggu perbicaraan rayuan KDN terhadap keputusan yang dibuat oleh Mahkamah Tinggi Khamis lalu.

Peguam bagi pihak mingguan berkenaan tidak membantah permohonan tersebut atas kepentingan negara.

Permohonan tersebut didengar dalam kamar hakim. Peguam Negara Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail mewakili KDN manakala Derek Fernandez dan Benjamin Dawson mewakili Herald.

“Kami membuat permohonan dan peguam yang mewakili Gereja Katholik bersetuju dengan penangguhan tersebut, atas kepentingan negara,” kata Abdul Gani.

Fernandez bersetuju bahawa pihak gereja bersetuju dengan pemohonan peguam negara itu.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, orang ramai hendaklah berhenti daripada terus membuat komen mengenai keputusan berkenaan.

“Kami (Roman Katholik) adalah orang yang cintakan keamanan dan komen (yang tidak baik) adalah tidak wajar,” katanya.

“Kami mahu peguam negara mengambil tindakan terhadap individu-individiu yang membuat kenyataan yang tidak bertanggungjawab,” katanya.

Turut hadir ialah editor Herald Father Lawrence Andrew yang bertemu dengan Abdul Gani dalam bilik saksi sebelum permohonan itu didengar.

Pada 31 Disember, Hakim Lau memutuskan bahawa lanjutan kepada Artikel 11 dan 12 Perlembagaan Persekutuan, Herald mempunyai hak berperlembagaan untuk menggunakan kalimah itu dari segi ajaran dan pendidikan kepada penganut agama Kristian.

Katanya, lanjutan daripada Artikel 11(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, adalah satu kesalahan bagi bukan Islam menggunakan kalimah “Allah” kepada orang Islam untuk menyebarluaskan agama tetapi ia bukan satu kesalahan bagi bukan Islam menggunakan kalimah itu kepada bukan Islam bagi tujuan agama.

Pada 16 Februari, Ketua Paderi Roman Katolik Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam memfailkan semakan kehakiman berhubung penggunaan perkataan “Allah” dalam penerbitan gereja, dengan menamakan Kementerian Dalam Negeri dan kerajaan sebagai responden.

Beliau mendakwa perkataan ‘Allah’ bukanlah eksklusif kepada agama Islam.

Majalah itu, yang dicetak dalam empat bahasa, telah menggunakan kalimah “Allah” sebagai terjemahan untuk “God” dalam seksyen bahasa Melayu.

Kalimah ‘Allah’ digunakan dengan meluas di kalangan penduduk asli Kristian di Sabah dan Sarawak, kebanyakannya bertutur dalam Bahasa Malaysia.

Kementerian Dalam Negeri telah mewajarkan larangan itu atas alasan keselamatan negara dan bagi mengelak salah faham serta kekeliruan dalam kalangan umat Islam.

Sementara itu, Hakim Lau juga memutuskan dalam kamar hari ini untuk menolak permohonan enam Majlis Agama Islam dan Persatuan Cina Muslim Malaysia (Magma) untuk berhujah dalam permohonan KDN itu.

Enam Majlis Agama Islam itu adalah dari Wilayah Persekutuan, Selangor, Kedah, Terengganu, Melaka dan Johor.

Dalam perbicaraan sebelum ini, Hakim Lau telahpun menolak permohonan mereka untuk menjadi pencelah dalam kes berkenaan.

Enam majlis tersebut dan Magma juga turut memfailkan ratyuan terhadap keputusan Hakim Lau menolak permohonan mereka menjadi pencelah serta keputusannya yang memihak kepada Herald.

Sementara itu, menurut Bernama, Abdul Gani bersyukur kerana ada perjanjian bagi penangguhan itu.

“Bagi saya, ia melibatkan kepentingan negara, tiada keperluan untuk terbabit dalam hujah untuk penangguhan,” katanya.

“Saya amat bersyukur dengan rakan saya yang bijaksana yang telah bersetuju untuk penangguhan dan kami akan cuba agar perkara ini didengar secepat mungkin dalam Mahkamah Rayuan, saya percaya ia akan diadakan secepat mungkin,” katanya.

Semalam, Kementerian Dalam Negeri memfailkan permohonan untuk penangguhan perintah mahkamah sebelum ini selepas mengemukakan rayuan dengan Mahkamah Rayuan sehari sebelum itu.

Abdul Gani berkata proses segera itu tidak sepatutnya disalah tafirkan kerana isu itu perlu diselesaikan secepat mungkin.

“Saya perlu menyatakannya sekali lagi, tidak perlu ada sebarang persepsi berhubung perkara ini memandangkan adalah lebih baik perkara ini didengar dengan segera. Ia tidak bermakna ada sesuatu yang tidak kena, jangan biar persepsi seperti ini.

“Apa yang penting ialah supaya perkara ini diselesaikan secepat mungkin. Kita semua perlu menghormati keputusan mahkamah,” katanya.

Ketika ditanya jika terdapat tekanan dalam kes ini, beliau menjawab:” Anda tidak boleh kata ada tekanan dalam kes ini memandangkan terdapat tekanan dalam semua kes. Saya tidak mahu memberikan sebarang persepsi sekarang, biar perkara itu selesai.”

Peguam Fernandez berkata pihaknya bersetuju dengan permintaan Peguam Negara untuk penangguhan berikutan kepentingan kepentingan negara sebelum tindakan selanjutnya di Mahkamah Rayuan.

“Kami bimbang dengan pelanggaran peraturan sub judis oleh banyak pihak yang tidak menghormati mahkamah. Tan Sri memberi jaminan kepada kami beliau akan meneliti perkara itu,” katanya.

Herald yang dicetak dalam empat bahasa, telah menggunakan kalimah “Allah” sebagai terjemahan untuk “God” dalam seksyen bahasa Melayu.

Kalimah ‘Allah’ digunakan dengan meluas di kalangan penduduk asli Kristian di Sabah dan Sarawak, kebanyakannya bertutur dalam Bahasa Malaysia.

Kementerian Dalam Negeri telah mewajarkan larangan itu atas alasan keselamatan negara dan bagi mengelak salah faham serta kekeliruan dalam kalangan umat Islam.

———————————————————-

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today granted a stay in favour of the Home Ministry to stop Catholic weekly magazine Herald, from using the word ‘Allah’ pending an appeal.

Lawyers acting for the magazine did not object to the application, citing the ground of national interest.

The application was heard in chambers by High Court judge Lau Bee Lan. Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail appeared for the ministry, while Derek Fernandez and Benjamin Dawson appeared for Herald.

“We have asked for – and the lawyers representing the Catholic church have agreed to – the stay, out of national interest,” said Abdul Gani.

“We do not want to be caught in an argument for a stay – that may cause further tensions and misconception with the matter.

“I am grateful that my learned friend agreed to the stay and we will try to have the matter heard as soon as possible at the Court of Appeal. I believe it can be very, very soon.”

Fernandez agreed that the church has consented to the AG’s request.

However, he said the public should now refrain from commenting further on the decision to avoid sub-judice.

“We want the AG to take action against those individuals who have made such irresponsible statements. We are seeking his assurance on this to uphold the law,” said Fernandez.

Responding, Abdul Gani said action would be taken against anyone who breaks the law, following proper investigation.

“Everything has to be proven before I take (the decision to prosecute). This applies to every single case but definitely any prosecutor wants to see this. The law must be respected – it is as simple as that.”

Representing the Home Ministry were senior federal counsel Kamaluddin Md Said and Suzana Atan.

‘Nothing is wrong’

Also present at the hearing was Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew who met with Abdul Gani in the witness room before the application was heard.

Lawrence, commenting on the decision today, said the church has agreed to the AG’s request “for the good of people and also out of goodwill”.

“We are not here to create any trouble, we love Malaysia. We are Malaysians and therefore we want to live in peace and harmony.

“We are not here to disturb (the situation). The main emphasis in our religion is love. It is very important we love everyone.”

Abdul Gani cautioned the public against perceiving that “something must be wrong”, just because the stay application was heard so quickly.

“There is nothing wrong. I can refer you to a case in Australia where a stay matter was heard within a few days after the decision. This matter has to be dealt with as soon as possible as both sides agreed with it.”

Asked to comment on former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s view that the matter cannot be resolved through the court, Abdul Gani said he is not a politician, “just the attorney-general, a small little fry who wants to settle the problem”.

As to whether the government is succumbing to public pressure by appealing the High Court’s decision, Abdul Gani said the media should not paint such a picture.

“You cannot say pressure or no pressure. There is pressure in all cases. Try sitting in my office, then you will know how we feel, as pressure can come in any form.

“I do not want to give (any) such perception. What is more important is the matter is settled properly.”

Application to intervene rejected

Earlier in chambers today, Justice Lau rejected a joint application by six state Islamic bodies and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (Macma) to submit in the Home Ministry’s stay application.

Lau ruled that the seven parties could not intervene in the ministry’s application.

During the trial proper, Lau had rejected the application by the same seven parties to be included as interveners.

The six religious councils are from Federal Territory, Selangor, Kedah, Terengganu, Malacca and Johor.

The six councils and the Macma have filed an appeal against Lau’s decision to dismiss them as interveners as well as against her decision in favour of Herald.

The six councils were represented by lawyers Mohd Hanif Khatri, Zainur Rijal Kamaruddin and Abdul Rahim Yasin.

On Dec 31, Lau ruled that pursuant to Articles 11 and 12 of the federal constitution, Herald has the constitutional right to use the word in respect of instruction and education of the congregation in the Christian religion.

She also said that, pursuant to Article11(4) of the federal constitution, it is an offence for non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’ to Muslims to propagate the religion, but it is not an offence for non-Muslims to use the word to non-Muslims for the purpose of religion.

On Monday, the Home Ministry lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the decision, and followed up with an application for the stay yesterday.

The Herald, which is printed in four languages, has been using the word ‘Allah’ as a translation for ‘God’ in its Malay-language section, but the government argued ‘Allah’ should be used only by Muslims.

The term ‘Allah’ is widely used among indigenous Christian tribes in Sabah and Sarawak, most of whom speak Bahasa Malaysia.





Backlash feared from politics over ‘Allah’

6 01 2010

Negative comments and reactions on use of the term ‘Allah’ will be a severe setback to relations among the various races and faiths, and could poison ties between both halves of Malaysia.

This is the stark warning from United KadazanDusunMurut Organisation president and federal minister Bernard Giluk Dompok.

“Soon after the issue was brought to court, I appealed to all quarters to respect and give the court full freedom to carry out its responsibility,” said Dompok.

He reiterated that the perspective of Malaysian Borneo must be taken into consideration and that there is no running away from history on the matter.

merdeka statement launch 020807 bernard dompok“(Kuala Lumpur) High Court Judge Lau Bee Lian, in the decision on Dec 31 last year, had taken into consideration all historical aspects and constitutional rights on the issue,” said Dompok (left).

“Everyone in Malaysia has been given the right and freedom to practise the religion of their choice in a peaceful situation.”

Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have been using the term ‘Allah’ from the 19th century, long before the Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963.

In Sabah, for example, the term ‘God’ is used in English, ‘Allah’ in Malay and ‘Kinoingan’ in Kadazandusun, as religious services are conducted in the three languages to cater to the respective congregations.

Dompok opined that the new generation is more comfortable with mass being said in Malay, having been educated in the language. The practice was carried over when Christians from Sabah and Sarawak transmigrated to Peninsular Malaysia to study and work.

“They are requesting that mass in Peninsular Malaysia be conducted in Malay for them. The use of Malay as the medium of instruction in the education system has further expanded the influence of the language among the communities in Sabah.”

He said the role of the church in promoting and preserving the national language must be recognised and given due importance.

Traditionally, churches have played a pioneering role in keeping alive the various languages and dialects used by Christian Malaysians.

Dompok’s statement has struck a unanimous chord in sections of society in Sabah. They fear that the Court of Appeal will sit on the appeal and “jam the process”, citing the Goddess of the Sea (Mazu) case which is still to be heard by the Court of Appeal after several months.

Umno endangering national security’

PKR vice-president Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan said he wants Umno to “stop playing politics with the ‘Allah’ issue and endangering national security”.

He urged Umno to take a leaf from PAS which practises ‘Islam the Faith’ instead of ‘Islam the Politics’.

Former Sabah PKR secretary-general Kanul Gindol said more effort should be made in Peninsular Malaysia to explain the historical rights of the people of Sabah and Sarawak as the controversy over the use ‘Allah’ by Christians as just the tip of the iceberg.

“There are many other issues which have been swept under the carpet and are just waiting to explode,” he claimed, without elaborating.

Sabah PKR deputy head Christina Liew (below) described the use of ‘Allah’ as a non-issue in Sabah and Sarawak.

NONE“If the Home Ministry has any doubt, they should have referred to the federal attorney-general for the interpretation of the relevant law under sections 10, 11(4) and 12 of the federal constitution,” said Liew, a senior lawyer.

She said Malaysia must be the only country that is trying to outlaw the use of ‘Allah’ among non-Muslims. Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation, has never made it an issue.

She went on to blast the BN government for its “hypocrisy and high-handed tactics” and questioned the relevance of the 1Malaysia theme propagated by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Sabah Council of Churches chairperson Rev Jerry Dusing noted that the High Court ruling has taken cognizance of provisions in the federal constitution on freedom of religion, and rights in respect of education and freedom of speech.

“We are a multiracial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation. This has found expression in the 1Malaysia theme,” he said, highlighting the danger of ignoring the rights of any individual.

In Tenom, the Catholic church pastoral council deputy head, Jimmy Jawatah, said he hoped the High Court ruling will be accepted by all with an open heart.

“The decision proves that justice and democracy exists, as enshrined in the federal constitution,” said Jawatah who is also Sabah Progressive Party vice-president.

The use of the Malay language by the church, without interference by the authorities, will help Christians increase their religious knowledge and understanding, he said.

“This is in line with the country’s mission of instilling religious values for the creation of a caring society.”

Malaysiakini
Joe Fernandez
Jan 6, 10
4:52pm