[lg policy] Malaysia: Use of 'Allah' by Church not recent
hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 8 15:14:49 UTC 2010
Use of 'Allah' by Church not recent
Dr SK Teoh
Jan 7, 10
6:19pmI refer to the Malaysiakini report Najib: We can't stop people
Malaysians are naturally anxious about the recent controversy about
the 'Allah' issue. However, many are not fully aware of the facts of
the case, thus giving rise to unnecessary concerns and fears.
1. The word 'Allah' is an Arabic word meaning 'God' and has been used
by Christians long before the 7th century and is currently used by
Christians in Arab-speaking countries. Thus the term is not the
monopoly of Islam.
2. During the translation of the Bible, Christians follow the
principle of using the term in the local language for God. The Hebrew
term for God is 'El' or 'Elohim', the Greek word is 'Theo', French is
'Dieu', and 'ShangTi ' in Chinese.
In English, 'God' is used and never has 'Allah' appeared in the
English Bible. This will answer accusations that the term 'Allah' was
never found in the Bible.
3. The Bible had been translated in the Malay language as early as 300
years ago, and the term 'Allah' was chosen as it was the word used by
the people in the region. Thus, the Malaysian church did not introduce
the term only recently.
4. Twenty million Indonesians use the Al-Kitab where the term 'Allah'
had been used in a country with 90% Muslims who have not been
'threatened' in the last 80 years. Why the fears in Malaysia?
5. Bahasa Malaysia Bibles and publications have been restricted for
use only within the churches and have been prohibited from being
available in public areas. Christians have reluctantly accepted this
restriction over the last 30 years. During this time, there was never
any evidence that Christians have intentionally 'confused' the
6. However when the authorities stopped the printing of Bahasa
Malaysia and even Iban Bibles, and prohibited the Catholic Herald
(which is only sold within the churches), there was no choice but to
go to the courts for a solution. There is no intention to 'provoke'
7. With the national language policy over the last 50 years,
Malaysians (especially Christians from Sabah and Sarawak) are more
familiar with the use of Bahasa Malaysia in churches, and the term
'Allah' has become part of their vocabulary.
It is thus necessary for Christians using Bahasa Malaysia and other
indigenous languages to use the therm 'Allah' in Bible studies, prayer
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