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Thursday, 28 January 2010

STAGED

ABOUT two weeks ago, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir said, if the Americans can produce the movie Avatar, they can also stage the 9-11. And the landing of their people on the moon. And many more. Similar ideas came to mind when the churches were attacked after the word Allah issue. Or rather after the surau in Johor was attacked. Then the pig's heads. If they (which they?) can paint the Sabah State mosque fences with what looked like crosses in the 80s, well may be they (which they) could also stage the pig's heads. How about the cow's head at the Hindu temple last year? But who cares? They (which they?) are not easy to arrest. Unlike people who take part in candle light vigils... they (which they?) are very easy to be nabbed. May be even using the ISA rules (which rules?). Well, before anyone gets too excited, what you have just read are but views (off course I had since paraphrased it for dramatic purposes - not unlike the Avatar) I gathered from peoples from all woks of life. I may or may not agree.... :-)

PIG'S HEADS
By RAZAK AHMAD
Malaysian police said two pig's heads were found at a Malaysian mosque close to a neighborhood hit by an ethnic clash nine years ago following a series of arson and firebomb attacks on churches.
The discovery of the pig heads -- an animal considered offensive to Muslims and whose consumption is prohibited -- could further inflame tensions in the mainly Muslim country, prompting police to issue a stern warning against stirring up emotions.
Eleven churches, a Catholic school, a Sikh temple, two mosques and two Muslim prayer rooms so far have been hit by arson and vandalism attacks in recent weeks over the use of the word "Allah" by Christians.

Police said the pig heads were found about 5:30 a.m. local time at a mosque on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in Selangor state.

"I am warning people not to try and influence the situation and don't try to take advantage to raise the anger of any ethnic group," Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told Reuters.

The mosque is located near a neighborhood which in 2001 was hit by an ethnic clash that reportedly left six people dead.

Khalid said police were working closely with local mosque and neighborhood committees to try and keep residents calm.

The row stems from a court ruling on December 31 last year allowing a Catholic newspaper to use "Allah" in its Malay-language editions.

FACEBOOK GROUP

A group created in the online networking site Facebook to protest the use of the word by non-Muslims has so far attracted more than 250,000 people.

The use of "Allah" is common among Malay-speaking Christians, who account for 9.1 percent of the 28 million population, especially in the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Opinions are split, but many Malays have expressed unhappiness over allowing the word to be used by Christians.

The government has warned that laws, including the Internal Security Act that allows detention without trial, would be deployed to keep tensions from boiling over.

Police have so far arrested 19 people over the attacks, and a 25-year-old Malay student was charged in court on January 15 with threatening public safety following a comment he reportedly made on his Facebook page offering to throw petrol bombs.

The government of Prime Minister Najib Razak is appealing the court verdict and has condemned the arson and vandalism attacks, but analysts have said he would likely lose votes among non-Muslims unhappy with the row.

Malaysia's mainly Chinese and Indian non-Muslim ethnic minorities, who form 40 percent of the country's population, abandoned the ruling coalition in the 2008 general elections partly due to complaints over increasing religious marginalization.

Analysts have said the arson attacks, though not an immediate risk, are raising worries among some foreign investors at a time when Prime Minister Najib Razak has pledged to lure more foreign investment.

Malaysia, which between 1990 and 2000 accounted for half of all foreign direct investment into it, Thailand and Indonesia, has now lost its leading position. Najib is trying to woo them back with economic liberalization measures. REUTERS

Sunday, 24 January 2010

THURSDAYS WITH...

EEBOT: Am not sure. But the more I think about it, the more it kind of ties together. Life certainly has its own course.
BUDDY: My friend, here you go again. And when you talk like that, am not sure where you are heading. By the way, sorry for not being able to come for the last few Thursdays.
EEBOT: Do not worry about being absent, Buddy. Its the thoughts that count. And that is actually what am talking about. Memories or the lack of it. Look at this picture, it really does speak a 1000 words. And more.
BUDDY: This is a very old picture. The photographer must have taken some time to think their positions, lighting and what not. Who are they, my friend? Where was it taken?
EEBOT: This is one of only a few pictures of my beloved mother and her mum. I got it from my eldest brother. I do not know the background of the picture, Buddy. But it certainly posts lots of questions.
BUDDY: I lost you again bro...
EEBOT: Am lost too hahahaha. But, for example, I have tonnes of memories about my dearest mum. She is a beautiful person. Such qualities are still very much alive and fresh in me. Am sure, my granny too was like that. But I cannot locate any memory about her in me. And yet here I am, because of these two ladies. I owe them so much.
BUDDY: Still blurr bro...
EEBOT: I mean, ahhhh.... life has its own course. Buddy, perhaps drinking our coffee will make it clearer for us. Forget about it.
BUDDY: Now you sound like Minnie.
EEBOT: You, Minnie, myself, we all have many things in common my friend. With our beloved ones too, especially those who are no longer with you now. More sugar Buddy?

Friday, 22 January 2010

OBAMA SAYS SORRY

THE hardest things to say: Sorry. Well, I like this guy because he is being practical. He acknowledges his weaknesses and say sorry and asserted that he can be better.
Then my mind wander to Tiger Woods. I think he did the same. To say sorry, I mean.
I have read similar stories about great personalities. Am I out of touch? Have to touch base. Have to touch base. Have to touch base. But am not Obama or Woods or whatever. Here's wishing you all to be more in touch with reality....

OBAMA: AM OUT OF TOUCH
WASHINGTON, Jan 22 — US President Barack Obama has admitted that he failed to connect with the American people in his preoccupation with policymaking during his first year in office.

A day after his Democratic Party suffered the humiliating loss of a crucial Senate seat, he said in a television interview that he recognised “remoteness and detachment” had set in and that he blamed himself for not communicating well.

“If there’s one thing that I regret this year, it is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us, I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people,” he told ABC News.

“And that, I do think, is a mistake of mine,” he said on Wednesday as he entered his second year in office.

“I think the assumption was, if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law, or if we are making a good rational decision here, that people will get it.”

Instead, the gap between the people and his administration widened, though he is widely regarded as a gifted speaker and an empathetic leader.

“What they ended up seeing is this feeling of remoteness and detachment where there are these technocrats up here making decisions... but do they really get us and what we’re going through?” said Obama (picture), sizing up the voter’s mindset.

He said he would work at rekindling his connection with the Americans.

“I think that I can do a better job of that, and partly because I do believe that, we’re in a stronger position now than we were in a year ago,” he said, referring to an improving economy, which should make his task easier. MORE

Thursday, 21 January 2010

LAUGH IF YOU CAN

IT HAS been a very busy few days for me. Not complaining, though. Just stating the fact. Thus, I google jokes and here are a few. More on this LINK.

A man walks a snail on leash and meets one his friend. Friend tells him:
- What a beautiful snail you have.
- I had one more beautiful but it escaped.

A panda walks into a bar, goes right to the counter, grabs a sandwich and after having eaten it he takes a gun out of his pocket and shoots the bartender. Then, as though nothing had happened, he walks out. Everyone in the bar is sitting all speechless and petrified but suddenly someone breaks the silence:
-What a hell was that?!?
Comes a sorrowful voice:
-It was a panda.
-???
-Perhaps you don't know what a panda is... It's a mammal that eats, shoots, and leaves.


- How hedgehogs mate?
- Carefully, very, very carefully!


- Which animal has two gray legs, and two brown legs?
- Elephant that has diarrhea!


- The life is full of surprises, tells a hedgehog, and gets down from a brush.


- What is the worst thing that can happen to a bat while it sleeps?
- To get a diarrhoea!


There are bats hanging of a branch upside down, all except one. Two bats comment:
- What happened to this one?
- I don’t know, two minutes ago he seemed normal and then he fainted.


It's hot summer, ninety degrees. A rabbit sits under the shadow of a tree and sharpens a stick with a knife.
A wolf passes by.
- Rabbit, rabbit, what are you doing?
- I am sharpening this stick in order to kill a bear.
- ???
A vixen passes by.
- Rabbit, rabbit, what are you doing?
- I am sharpening this stick in order to kill a bear.
- ???
The bear passes by.
- Rabbit, rabbit, what are you doing?
- I am sharpening this stick and bullshiting.

Monday, 18 January 2010

HAITI VICTIMS

WHILE we in Malaysia are embroiled by the word Allah, in other parts of the world (which is turning and turning regardless of what we do), more than 200,000 people died of natural disaster. At least one of my friends urged me to read the signs of times. So much agony. I whispered a prayer for the Haitians. But also prayers to those "stressed" by the word Allah, and those who are also suffering in one way or another for whatever reasons. Prayer. It is a communication between oneself and the Almighty. Allah.

HAITI PEOPLE TURN TO GOD

Since Tuesday’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake, hundreds of thousands of Haitians have slept out in the streets, singing hymns for comfort and praying in the darkness.

About 80 per cent of Haitians are Catholic and 16 per cent Protestant, though more than half the population are believed to practice voodoo, a religion with roots in Africa.

Many Haitians have turned to God for an explanation of their impoverished country’s worst catastrophe in living memory, which has killed up to 200,000 people.

At Saint Jean Bosco, an intact Catholic Church in a less damaged part of town, smartly dressed worshipers sang and clapped with their outstretched palms in the air.

“This increases our faith, despite everything. He (God) has protected us,” said Dania Aly, 22.

READ MORE HERE

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

ALLAH FORUM

TO ME, Allah is God. I was educated in Bahasa Malaysia. From young, I was taught that Allah is God. I went to church liturgies or services conducted in Bahasa Malaysia. And I had always prayed to Allah Bapa. I remembered composing hymns with the word Allah all over them. And the choir that I trained emerged champions in a few district and State level church competitions. And I will forever use Allah in my personal life.

I was one of the 900? (I thought only about 700 attended it - I could be wrong) at the forum which The Nut Graph reported below. There were a few things not reported. Things like what Dr Azwira said, though the word Allah is an Arabic word (used even by people of other religions other than Islam more than 1400 years ago) it had since been made a Malay word, and later Bahasa Malaysia. Since BM is the national language, the lingua franca of Malaysians, people especially in Sabah and Sarawak had been using Allah since before Merdeka.

Ahhh.... there were many more said, in support to the word Allah not an "Islamic word". But suffice for me to say that out of seven panelists (no Christian representative though one Shah Kirit quoted a few Gospel passages, but failed miserably to give their true meaning ... well, how can we expect a Saudara Baru to know the Gospel), four were in favour of the Church. Need I say more?

ALLAH CAN BE DISCUSSED CALMLY

Other speakers, however, disagreed and said there was no restriction in the Qur'an or Hadith on the use of "Allah" by non-Muslims.

"There is nothing that states that the word 'Allah' is exclusive to Islam," said Dr Azwira Abdul Aziz, an Islamic lecturer from UKM's Faculty of Islamic Studies. "This issue has not even been debated in the Islamic world. It's almost as if it has been so clearly understood until it does not need to be mentioned."

Azwira added that it was wrong to say that "Allah" should be exclusive to Islam in Malaysia just because it was accepted as the norm by Muslims. READ MORE HERE

Friday, 8 January 2010

THREE CHURCHES ATTACKED

I WAS awaken at about three am today. I received a few sms informing me about a church burnt, presumably due to the Allah issue. I did not know what time I fell asleep again, but I knew those few moments, I felt sad. I had seen it coming. But I thought Malaysians would have been smart enough. I was wrong. No matter what name we call The Almighty, I for one believe such actions as attacking others are not religious at all. May Allah show us the way....

IGP: THREE CHURCHES HIT
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Police are urging for calm as they secure churches nationwide, after three were attacked with firebombs in separate pre-dawn incidents in the Klang Valley, which have been linked to protests against the recent “Allah” ruling.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan confirmed the attacks, saying the first attack was by motorcyclists who threw a helmet filled with flammable liquid at the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati, causing a fire that burned books and chairs near here, at midnight. Its administrative office was gutted in the attack.

He confirmed that they have identified one suspect who was seen by a guard at the church, which is part of the Assemblies of God.

“This is not a well-planned, coordinated attack so people should not be scared,” he told reporters at Bukit Aman here.

The second attack was at about 4am at the Church of Assumption in Petaling Jaya, where a Molotov cocktail thrown by a motorcyclist failed to break and explode. There were several Catholics attending a prayer session at the time, police added.

The third incident took place at the Life Chapel Church in Section 17, Petaling Jaya at 9am, where two Molotov cocktails, also thrown by a motorcyclist, exploded to blacken the walls of the porch and upper-storey window of the two-storey church building. MORE

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

WHAT IF...

MY boss reaction to the Allah issue is HERE. And am sure we all had been reading, hearing and perhaps even dreaming about many more reactions. Well, time will tell whether we had handled it wisely or not. I like this Nutgraph comment. Keep it up, dear friends in Nutgraph. Me? I know Allah God bless us all somehow....

DIFFERENT REACTION...

Additionally, what would it look like if the traditional media could also sing a new tune? What if instead of one-sided accounts of Muslim pressure groups purporting to speak for the Malay-Muslim majority, we instead had myriad views from different Malaysians? What if the traditional press also reported the views of Muslim and non-Muslim Malaysians who agreed with the High Court's decision?

Imagine if Utusan Malaysia wrote an editorial saying that Malay-Muslim Malaysians should respect the law and not take this issue as a personal insult. Imagine if they wrote factually about the historical use of the word "Allah". Imagine if they noted the current use of the word by other faith communities in other Muslim countries, instead of blinding readers with threats of public disorder and chaos because Malaysian Muslims are somehow "special" in how sensitive they are. READ MORE

Monday, 4 January 2010

TUN M DAUGHTER SAYS...

And here's something interesting. In 2007, the Majlis Agama Negeri Perlis, which is a large majlis filled with people very learned in Islamic religious knowledge, discussed the question of the use of 'Allah' by non-Muslims. Their unanimous decision? They issued a fatwa to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with non-Muslims using the word at all.(This was told to me by Dr. Asri but I cannot find the fatwa anywhere online because all the religious departments' websites are so useless.)

Are we now going to excommunicate the whole of Perlis? READ MORE HERE

Friday, 1 January 2010

CHRISTIAN ALLAH

HAPPY New Year 2010. And what a real new beginning it is. Yesterday, at the very end of 2009, the High Court 'allowed' Christians to use the word Allah.
We can debate till the cows come home. And there will be no end to it, despite the ruling.
Am happy to begin this year with this posting. I had not updated it since middle of last month. Will post in due time why.
So, here to a blessed, prosperous New Year 2010. Life is short... Allah God bless us all.
COURT SAYS "YES" TO ALLAH FOR CHRISTIANS
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — It will be a glorious new year for some 850,000 Catholics in Malaysia.

In a landmark ruling today, the High Court here lifted the home minister’s ban against the Catholic church publishing the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God in its weekly paper, Herald.

Counsel for the Herald, Porres Royan, told reporters, “The court has granted the declaration that the applicant has the Constitutional right to use the word Allah. I believe the ministry is bound by the court’s decision.”

Royan’s fellow lawyer for the church, Benjamin Dawson, explained the impact of today’s judgment in greater detail to The Malaysian Insider.

“There are two points to today’s order. Firstly, the court set aside the decision of the minister in imposing the prohibition on using the word ‘Allah’ in Herald.

“The second part of the order made by the court declares the width and breadth of the constitutional provisions, namely Articles 3, 11 and 12 and ruled that in light of these constitutional guarantees, the minister had acted unconstitutionally in imposing such conditions,” Dawson said.

Article 3 of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the official religion of the country but taken together with Articles 11 and 12, protects the rights of the minorities to be free to practice and be educated in their respective religions.

In short, the Herald does not need to go to court every year to fight for the right to publish the word “Allah”. The publishing permit for the Herald expires today.

Senior Federal counsel Datuk Kamaludin Md Said said, “I was made to understand the ministry has already issued the permit for 2010.”

He added that he will consult the ministry for new instruction, when asked about his next course of action.

The government had said that the ban was necessary to avoid confusing the majority Muslims in the country. Islam is the official religion in Malaysia.

But the church claimed the ban violates its constitutional rights to practice its religion freely.

According to Father Lawrence Andrew (picture) who edits Herald, the term “Allah” has been used by Christians in the region to refer to their God since four hundred years ago. He added that it is still actively used today.

Lawrence explained that “Allah” in the Christian context refers specifically to “God the Father”, which is different from how Muslims use it.

Herald’s editor claims the use of the word has not died out and is still being used in church worship among indigenous East Malaysians, who form a substantial number of the Christian faithful in the country.

According to the last census last carried out in Sarawak three years ago, 43 per cent of its population is Christian. In Sabah, the figure is close to 2.45 million, based on the state’s last census in 2000.

But Fr Lawrence believes the official figures may not be accurate. He thinks the number of Christians in East Malaysia are higher, especially in Sarawak, which he puts the Christian community to be about half the state’s population.

The church first took the government to court last year after the home ministry threatened to revoke its annual publishing permit for Herald, Malaysia’s only Catholic paper.

It was forced to refresh its suit again this year after its 2008 permit expired without any decision from the court.

While today’s judgment may renew the faith of Christians nationwide, Dawson cautioned that there was still a long way to go to fully restore the faith of other Malaysians in the country’s justice system.

“We’re grateful for the court’s decision today. At the same time, we’re disappointed with the lack of political will on the part of the government to deal with issues of this nature,” Dawson told The Malaysian Insider.

“In recent years, people from minority religions were forced to go to court to protect their constitutional rights,” he pointed out, listing several religious conversion and burial tussles, such as the Lina Joy, Subashini, Shamala and Moorthy cases as examples.

“How do we promote religious unity in our country?” he quizzed. “Surely not by going to court.”

Dawson pressed the government to set up an inter-faith commission to resolve inter-religious disputes.

“We can’t continue to live at odds with each other,” Dawson stressed. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER