PAS and Co, are playing with fire in regards to religious sentiments

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Perhaps with the advent of a new year, and scant months to go until the long-awaited arrival of GE13, it might be wise for PAS, DAP and PKR to sit down around the campfire and talk about their respective visions for Malaysia.

Because if the ever-more-loosely aligned Opposition ‘coalition’ has any hope of survival, tough compromises are going to have to be made.

One of the most talked about examples of their disunity in recent days is the argument over the use of the word ‘Allah’.

The latest twist saw PAS Deputy President Mohamad Sabu contradict many of his political colleagues, including the party’s apparently misinformed Information Chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, by claiming that non-Muslims can use the word to describe their god(s).

Brushing off the cobwebs from the party archives, Mat Sabu said that PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang himself had said it was fine back in 2010.

“The PAS’ president had issued the statement in 2010 to not forbid any religious adherent apart from Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’,” he explained.

“PAS maintains that stand.”

If the confusion was simple between PAS and DAP, it could be forgiven. After all the parties have starkly different ideologies.

But unfortunately the problems are deeper seated, causing a rift even within Mat Sabu’s own Islamic party.

“PAS’ stand is that the Bahasa Melayu Bible should replace the ‘God’ term with ‘Tuhan’ and not ‘Allah’ to mirror the actual meaning of the original text,” Tuan Ibrahim definitively announced last month.

Tuan Ibrahim was of course countering remarks by his apparent ally in Pakatan Rakyat, the DAP’s Lim Guan Eng, who used his Christmas message to spark off the tug-of-war.

Understandably, the debacle is not winning fans in Malaysia, with many now accusing the Opposition of missing the point somewhat.

On Friday, the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin accused PAS of attempting to divide the country using religion as a tool – a method aimed purely at creating conflict to bolster flagging support for the pariah Opposition group.

He was referring not just to the Bible bashing, but the dangerous comments that have come to light in the form of the now infamous “Amanat Haji Hadi” speech.

“There are quarters who are dividing our ummah, issuing many kinds of fatwas that are aimed to sow hatred and creates conflict among us,” he said.

Calling these “deviations”, Muhyiddin said these edicts clearly carried divisive elements that go against the ideas of Islam, a religion that strongly promotes unity.

Muhyiddin, who was speaking after performing Friday prayers at the Al-Mukhsin Mosque, had a clear message – that Malaysia’s diverse and mature population should reject outright such cynical moves from a divisive and divided Opposition if they wanted Malaysia to enjoy stability after April.  –  The Choice