BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
The English-language Daily Times, in its editorial piece in conjunction with the Eid-al-Adha celebrations, was critical of the controversial ruling by the Court of Appeal which reversed a previous High Court ruling, allowing Catholic weekly Herald to use Allah in its Bahasa Malaysia section.
It lamented that the problem with Muslims is that they looked at their religion like it was an "insecure entity" that needed to be protected with special care and attention lest it gets smeared and nullified.
"The recent example of this attitude is displayed in Malaysia where the government has gone so far as proscribing Christians from using Allah as their God’s name."
"Who has given Muslims the liberty to copyright the name of Allah? It is His name, and He is the God of the universe, as He has said in the scriptures," the editorial stressed.
On Monday, a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, in its judgment, ruled that "the word was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice and that such usage if allowed, will inevitably cause confusion within the community".
The editorial questioned why Malaysia would deny people of other faiths to "own God in all His attributes", pointing out that every religion believed in the existence of God.
"Is this how piety in Islam is preserved or managed? In fact, being Muslim is no guarantee that we have reached that threshold.
"Is this what the glory of Islam had been all about, something that we want to revert to and long for?" it questioned.
The spirit of tolerance, sacrifice, patience, devotion and simplicity, Daily Times noted, was where Islam's glory lay, adding that these were the attributes that the prophets of the Quran had left for the Muslims to "cherish and follow".
"With retrogressive steps such as prohibiting Christians from using the name of Allah or destroying churches and killing Shias or Ahmedis, we cannot attain that goal," it said.
On Monday, The National - a United Arab Emirates daily - called the Malaysian court ruling "wrong", pointing out that the word Allah was never exclusive to Islam but both Christians and Jews used the word to refer to God even before the coming of Islam.
"The Malaysian decision overlooks not merely the theology, but also the etymology of the word. The word 'Allah' is derived from the Arabic 'al-ilah', the God. It has found its way across the world and entered Malay from Arabic," the editorial added. - October 18, 2013.