Archbishop emeritus @Murphy Pakiam (pic) has urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to cement his own call for an end to Muslim-Christian hostility by withdrawing Putrajaya’s legal challenge against the Catholic Church’s use of 'Allah.'
The Archbishop, retired recently and now administrator of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, made the call in response to Najib’s speech at the National Christmas Open House in George Town, Penang when he called on followers of the two faiths to set aside their differences and seek common ground.
"What did he say? Even if the world talks and laughs about this 'Allah' issue, Malaysia will not allow (its use by non-Muslims), we (government) will defend the exclusivity of its use.
"This is not a man who was educated in our Catholic school. By talking like that, you are just a bickering politician. I am praying that Allah will enlighten him to become a statesman," the Malaysiakini news portal reported him as saying today.
Najib was educated at St John's Institution, adjacent to the Archbishop's house where the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) annual Christmas high tea was held today.
Pakiam said Najib was the one who should not stop preventing Christians from using the word 'Allah'.
Pakiam used Najib's experience in school as an example of how the Christian community had helped Najib as a boy in a Catholic school and respected his Muslim faith.
"From a small boy, from primary school until form 3, he (Najib) was there (St John's Institute).
"When it came to catechism (classes), his mother was disturbed because he was a small boy going to a (Christian) religious class.
"But his mother had confidence in our brothers and phoned Brother Matthew who said: 'Please don't worry, we will see that he doesn't go in'," the portal reported.
As such, Pakiam said he hoped Najib would do his duty and serve all Malaysians.
"You think I am not angry? But he is the prime minister, so I have to pray to God to please help him do his duty for the whole country and not just Umno," he said.
The Court of Appeal had in October overturned a High Court decision which ruled that the Home Ministry's ban against Christian publication The Herald from using the word 'Allah' was unconstitutional.
The Church is now appealing the decision at the Federal Court in the hope of reinstating the High Court's ruling.
Pakiam added that Najib's insistence of exclusivity for the word 'Allah' was inciting right-wing groups against the Christian community.
"He knows the law. He knows the judgment the judges gave and he (Najib) is saying: 'Oh, it's allowed there (Sabah and Sarawak), but be careful in peninsula. Don't stir this up. You are playing with fire.'
Legal experts have questioned the government's move to permit the use of the word 'Allah' in East Malaysia, yet continuing defending the Court of Appeal's decision.
The Court of Appeal had ruled that the word 'Allah' was "not an integral part of the Christian faith", a decision that affects Christians in both East and West Malaysia. - December 25, 2013.