The words and actions of those in power and their unquestioning supporters indicate that they are trying to drive home the point that MIGHT is right. That is why they demand that the minority must bow to the ‘sensitivities’ of the majority. But those sensitivities are self-induced, as no one is ever born with such sensitivities.Sensitivities are one’s own choice.
For example, the Malay children in the mission schools of the 1950s and 60s could sit on the same table and eat their halal food while their non-Muslim friends ate their non-halal food which included pork. Each respected the other. There were no demands that school canteens should stop selling non-halal and pork containing dishes. Was the Malaysian Islam of those days not the same as the Malaysian Islam of these days?
It is when persons with vested interests get into the show, and try to show off their ‘higher knowledge’, or their superiority by their positions, that ‘sensitivities’ begin to set in. They may set in not necessarily because the listeners are convinced of the correctness of what they hear, but also to carry favour with them, or simply out of feudalistic loyalty. So the ‘sensitivities’ are artificial and meant to serve a purpose. Currently, there is a strong political purpose to serve, the resurrection of the BN’s two thirds majority in the forthcoming 14th GE.
The latest to add his voice to the clamour for non-Muslims to stop using the word ‘Allah’ is Dr Mahathir. He is reported to have said that “it would not ‘hurt’ for Christians to abandon their claim over the Arabic word”.
By the same token, it should not hurt the Malaysian Muslims (as Muslims in the rest of the world are not afflicted by the ‘sensitivities’ virus) to respect the teachings of Islam as taught by the Prophet who said all peoples were brethren as the one God had made them all.
If God had not wanted Christians or other non-Muslims in Malaysia, he would have seen to it since creation.
Mahathir says he concedes that the issue had existed even during his administration, but that it was resolved without conflict then. “Back then we found a solution, there was no problem. So why now?” One simple reason is because he did not make it a permanent solution. Why did he not do so?
Mahathir has often chided the Malays for being a ‘forgetful’ lot – ‘Melayu mudah lupa’. By his own words, he seems to have joined their ranks as he has forgotten much.
He has forgotten:
--That Malaysia is a mixed marriage where the groom, West Malaysia, is predominantly Muslim, and East Malaysia the bride, predominantly Christian.
--That the marriage wow was that the bride was free to practice her religion. I was once told by a well learned Muslim that in inter-marriages between Muslims and persons of other faiths that also have Holy books or ‘Kitab’ of their own, the non-Muslim partner does not have to convert to Islam but can continue practicing the religion of his /her Kitab.
--That in the early years of his rein, he had lamented that there was too little integration of the peoples of East and West Malaysia despite over 20 years since the marriage of the East and the West took place.
--That his government then launched a plan to integrate peoples of the East and the West. To make it cheap for people of the East and West to criss-cross the South China Sea, a special ferry was started. This ferry was extensively damaged by fire and the service stopped. From then it’s been air travel.
--That his integration exercise brought thousands from the East to the West, and vice-versa. Some were public servants transferred from either side to the other. Some came in search of employment in the industries, some for educational purposes.
--That the East Malaysian Christians who came to the West were not told to leave their Bibles, and with that their religion, behind, before stepping foot on West Malaysian soil.
--That all these years when these East Malaysian Christians who had come to or been brought to West Malaysia used the word ‘Allah’ in their prayers, no Muslims got confused or felt threatened. Did they not have sensitivities then?
--That Muslims suddenly began to become confused and threatened by the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims in their prayer houses only after the 2008 General Election when the BN lost its two-thirds majority which hitherto had been undefeatable.
--That the whole Muslim world has ridiculed Malaysia’s stance on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims as it is totally at variance with the teachings of Islam itself.
--That the Prophet Muhammad himself had lived peacefully with people of other faiths who were also using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God. God had not intended to create enmity between people by making them of different races and religions.
--That West Malaysian Churches which did not conduct services in Malay until the integration of the people from E & W Malaysia, have now been forced by his integration plan to cater to the needs of East Malaysians who need to practice their religion. They are doing it out of necessity brought about by the government’s integration plan, and not for other reasons.
--That when he fights tooth and nail to prohibit non-Muslims from using the word ‘Allah’ which the rest of the Muslim world has not done, and which the Prophet did not do, he is only bringing disrepute to Islam in Malaysia.
--That it is the BN that has an ulterior motive for creating a mountain where there isn’t even an anthill as it desperately needs to regain the votes lost in the Malay tsunami of 2008. Hence the battle-cry that the Muslims must unite for the sake of race and religion. That is the long and short of the battle drum beating.
--That telling a lie and repeating it often enough does not make it the truth though it might fool some of the people some of the time; and
Money has been said to be the root of all evil. This is true. We may now add that race and religion when used by politicians as their political tools, are the root of all discord among peoples of different faiths in a country where people had lived peacefully for ages.
What will the politicians and their lackeys pick on next? That ‘nasi lemak’ is not only the traditional food of the Malays, but also their creation and therefore their intellectual property. As such, no others can prepare or eat it lest the Malays get confused and their sensitivities are trampled upon, unless they pay a royalty for cooking and eating it?