Monday, January 27, 2014
Karangkraf calls off public debate on Allah issue between Noh Omar and Khalid Samad
SELANGOR: The highly anticipated public debate between Selangor Umno chief Noh Omar and the Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad today on the Allah issue has been called off as religious tension continues to rise between Muslims and Christians.
The cancellation of the debate, organised by Malay language daily Sinar Harian, was announced late last night. It was to have been held at 2pm today in Shah Alam.
Karangkraf Media Group executive editorial advisor Abd Jalil Ali said the event was cancelled after considering "various angles on the current situation".
He said various religious leaders, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and concerned citizens had also expressed reservations on the debate and thus Karangkraf had decided to cancel the event.
"We understand the feelings and sentiments of the public and thus, we made this decision," he said in a statement.
Tension has been flaring over the use of the Arabic word Allah by non-Muslims, with Muslim groups insisting the word is exclusive to Islam.
In October last year, the appellate court upheld the Home Ministry's ban on Herald, prohibiting the Catholic publication from using the word Allah in its Bahasa Malaysia edition.
The case is now pending before the Federal Court, which is set to hear arguments from both sides on March 5 before deciding on whether it will hear an appeal by the Catholic Church.
Earlier this month, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided the Bible Society of Malaysia and seized over 300 copies of its Malay and Iban language bibles, which contain the word Allah.
The raid also threw the spotlight on Putrajaya’s 10-point solution that was introduced in 2011 to allow Christians to continue using Bibles in the national and other native languages.
Christians form about 9% of Malaysia's 29 million population.
Almost two-thirds of Christians in Malaysia are Bumiputera and are largely based in Sabah and Sarawak, where they routinely use Bahasa Malaysia and indigenous languages in their religious practices, including describing God as “Allah” in their prayers and holy book.
Besides the Bumiputera Christians from Sabah and Sarawak, some of whom have moved to the peninsula to live and work, Orang Asli Christians in the peninsula also typically use Bahasa Malaysia in their worship. --The Malaysian Insider