Friday, February 27, 2009

Who owns the name?

Malaysia as it is ascribed by it's leaders; a democratic country which ravels in unity. As a heading in a news paper I read today it says "Malaysia not perfect, but example of unity". Although not claiming to be a perfect reflection of unity one leader says "but we do have something to show for our unity and tolerance for each other, as an example of diversity does not mean disunity".

While there are some truth in the designation ascribed to Malaysia, internally there are some shaky issues that is threatening "unity in diversity". But just so I am 'fair' in my views at hand I must applaud the stability in terms of living in such a peaceful country, I simply can't imagine being born elsewhere.

In the news today, a headline reads "Malaysia Catholic paper wins right to use 'Allah' ". The government were initially trying to ban Christians from using 'Allah' for God. Apparently it is said that "The government had earlier decreed that non-Muslims could not even use the word as it would inflame the sensibilities of Muslim Malays, who make up 60 percent of the 27 million population. Indians and Chinese make up the rest. The ban had been aimed at a Catholic newspaper that circulates in Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island, where most tribal people converted to Christianity more than a century ago."

The fear is that Muslims might get confused and think that Christians are talking about the same God as them. Although the ban seems to have been lifted, it is just a softening on the initial ban as publications carry a disclaimer saying that the material is not meant for Muslims.

Sure I agree that Malaysia is diverse in terms of having many kinds of ethnic groups, diverse in the manner that people are free to practice their own religion. I can't say that I have ever experienced riots in the state that I am living in Malaysia. There is truth in saying that the notion of peace, tolerance and unity is evident in Malaysia. But the bad fruit come in when
religious issues come to the fore. Such is the religious climate in a pluralistic country here.

For another helpful link on this go here.

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Hopeful Theo

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OIL TOWN, SWK, Malaysia
I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations