The Association for Welfare, Community and Dialogue welcomes the decision by the “unity government” to withdraw its appeal against the decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court on the ‘Allah’ issue.
This is about the ruling which said that Christians can use the word Allah and the three other Arabic words in the publication of their religious material for learning purposes. It is the right decision in given circumstances.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has said that persisting with the appeal in the ‘Allah’ court dispute with a Sarawakian Christian would have been futile – given the 1986 cabinet decision.
Besides, the Conference of Rulers had decided that non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak could use the word under certain conditions.
The prime minister is basically taking a balanced approach which has a factual basis for a long-term solution in the context of Malaysian realities.
- Sign up for Aliran's free daily email updates or weekly newsletters or both
- Make a one-off donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB a/c 8004240948
- Make a pledge or schedule an auto donation to Aliran every month or every quarter
- Become an Aliran member
This is also to stop the polemics revolving around the usage of the word Allah, besides preventing a win-lose adversarial legal battle.
Taking an adversarial route in a court of law through appeals, where a win-lose approach is sought, could be detrimental to inter-religious harmony in the country.
When one takes a reasonable discourse, the grievance among the Muslim community is over the possible misuse of the word Allah.
However, in a nation where there is a mixture of politics and religion for vested political interests, the usage of the word is seen from a dominant majoritarian view – which is contrary to principles of equity and justice.
In this context, the minority communities would always be on the losing end since the majority dictates what constitutes justice.
Power and dominance are not the way to resolve a conflict and certainly, an adversarial legal approach would be detrimental to the complex inter-religious ties of the country.
If the appeal is continued where one community wins and the other loses, it will create a chasm, which could be detrimental to the safety and security of the people.
The real solutions lie in dialogue where understanding and trust is built. Political and religious leaders should play an authentic role in creating trust by bringing the communities together to dialogue.
So, the approach taken by the unity government on this is a step in the right direction that would help create a context for dialogue, reasoning and resolution.
And it should be supported by everyone for the sake of justice and reconciliation. – Malaysiakini