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Tolerance is the key to 'Allah' issue: East M'sians
Publication Date : 08-01-2014
Tolerance is the formula that has enabled Muslims and non-Muslims in the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak to share the usage of the word “Allah” without any problems.
Sarawak Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Daud Abdul Rahman said Christians in the state had been using Allah to refer to God for over a hundred years because the bibles were in Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia.
“The Muslims are never confused about this and this does not bother us. After all, we all believe in one God.
“We are firm in our belief and the Christians are firm in their belief,” he said.
He said statistics showed that there was no major conversion in religions from both sides just because Muslims and Christians in the state used Allah to refer to God.
Daud hoped that Muslims and Christians in the peninsula would stop hurling threats at each other.
“Nobody will win if we continue like this. Let us discuss it peacefully as there is always a way out. It was not a problem 40 to 50 years ago, so what’s the problem now?” he asked.
Dayak leader Dr James Masing said Sarawakians achieved religious harmony because they recognised and respected religious differences and practices without resorting to the “holier than thou” attitude.
He said the most vicious wars had always been fought in the name of God and religion.
“We must never allow it to happen in Malaysia,” said the State Land Development Minister and Parti Rakyat Sarawak president.
In Kota Kinabalu, Sabahans are puzzled by the fuss over the use of the word Allah.
Sabah Council of Churches chairman Bishop Thomas Tsen said the use of Allah in the al-Kitab has been done for generations of Christians.
“We have lived in harmony. Sabah has always had the 1Malaysia spirit even before it was coined,” he said.
Sabah STAR chairman Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said failure to honour the agreement would lead to the perception that the Government had no intention of doing so.
“Religious freedom was a matter close to the hearts of the founding fathers of Malaysia especially from Sabah and Sarawak.
“If there were no guarantees, including Constitutional safeguards, Sabah and Sarawak would probably not have agreed to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963,” he added.