PAS: The word Allah is only to be used by muslims, Period

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It looks like the parties in Pakatan Rakyat only need an issue to start squabbling in public. PAS has now demanded that Christians should not use the word “Allah” to describe their God in the Bible, while its ‘ally’ DAP insists otherwise.

This is set to escalate into an unseemly war of words within Pakatan during the Christmas period.

PAS information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said Wednesday that both Christians and Muslims could be confused by the use of the word “Allah” in the Alkitab, the Malay-language translation of the Bible.

“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,” he said in a statement.

“Since the Bahasa Melayu Bible is a translation from the original English text, the term ‘God’ does not mean ‘Allah’, because the accurate translation is ‘Tuhan’. It should be translated according to original meaning. Translating ‘God’ to ‘Allah’ will confuse Christians and create unease among the Muslims and can confuse Muslims,” he declared.

Tuan Ibrahim, who is also Pahang PAS commissioner, said “Allah” was a sacred name for the Muslims and should be used appropriately.

“In relation to that, (the) request to use Allah’s name in the Bahasa Melayu translation of the Bible is not wajar (suitable), even the society in the West, they don’t use Allah’s name to refer to God whether in speech, writing of films. The word that is often used is ‘Lord’,” he said.

He was responding to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s Christmas message on Monday that had raised the “Allah” issue.

“For this reason, DAP urges the BN Federal government to allow the use of the word ‘Allah’ on the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible as has been allowed in Sabah and Sarawak for the last 50 years and practised in the Middle East for more than a thousand years,” Guan Eng claimed in his statement.

Following a public uproar, Zairil Khir Johari, DAP’s assistant publicity secretary, was forced to respond on Wednesday. He claimed that Guan Eng’s words had been “twisted” and the Penang chief minister had only supported the rights of Christians in East Malaysia to use the word “Allah”.

“He (Guan Eng) only asked that it be allowed in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible that is used by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak.

“Furthermore, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible can only be found in Sabah and Sarawak and not in Peninsula Malaysia.

“Therefore, the issue of usage of the word “Allah” in Peninsula Malaysia does not arise at all,” Zairil claimed.

Perhaps he should try telling that to his Islamist ‘ally’ PAS, who has come out clearly against the DAP interpretation. Once again, PAS and DAP find themselves on either sides of a socio-religious issue.

The ties between both parties has been strained due to PAS’ insistence on rolling out an Islamist agenda. Its plan to implement hudud nationwide if Pakatan ever wins power at Putrajaya has led to the embarrassing spectacle of PAS and DAP leaders publicly calling each other names.

But in their selfish tug-of-war, both Pakatan parties are only going to harm the harmonious ties between the Muslim and Christian communities.

This could have disastrous effects on the multicultural society that makes Malaysia unique, and is yet another sign that Pakatan parties are more interested in jostling for power than in serving the nation.