WOULD THE SELANGOR ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS COUNCIL (MAIS) PLEASE TELL US WHAT THEIR ULTERIOR MOTIVE IS?
7 December 2017
Jason Loh Seong Wei
DBP and the Malay translation of the Bible
LETTER | The proposal by the lawyer representing Mais, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, for the Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka (DBP) to control the translation process of the Bible into the national language and the support expressed by the Concerned Lawyers for Justice (CLJ) is wholly and utterly unconstitutional and, by extension, would constitute a legal infringement of fundamental liberties.
As such a breach of core human rights that are absolutely non-negotiable and under the circumstances, cannot and should not be subject to any form of compromise.
The proposal would imply a rewriting and revising of Articles 3 & 11 of the Federal Constitution and the suppression of the meaning “the right to manage its own religious affair” (under Article 11(3)), thus in effect subverting the Federal Constitution.
There is no higher authority beyond or behind the Federal Constitution – for by its very nature as written and codified, it is the one and only sacrosanct and highest legal document of the land – without peer or parallel or in implicit or tacit partnership with another. In other words, there is no room for constitutional syirik or ‘polytheism’.
In addition, the proposal would also serve to weaken and undermine the sanctity of Islam and of the integrity of the Malay rulers as the guardians and patrons in their respective states.
20 November 2017
Dewan Bahasa Bible not Mais’ idea, says council head
THE proposal for Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) to provide a translation of the Malay Bible, or Al-Kitab, did not come from the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais), said chairman Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa.
He said Mais did not know about the proposal, made by its lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, as the council had never issued any instructions on the matter.
“No, translating the Bible into Bahasa Malaysia is not our suggestion. It is not Mais’ stand,” Adzib told The Malaysian Insight.
“We never held any discussions or gave instructions on Bible translations.”
Haniff is Mais’ counsel in Sarawakian Jill Ireland’s suit against the government over the constitutional right to use the word “Allah” for “God” in Christian publications.
He proposed that DBP come up with an official translation of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia on the grounds that Christians in Sabah and Sarawak had been using the word wrongly.
Adzib, who was asked to comment on Haniff’s proposal and whether it had been the council’s suggestion, said Mais had yet to decide whether it should ask the lawyer for an explanation.
“We do not know why, I am not sure why he said that, but that is his stand as a lawyer. So far, we can verify that it is not Mais’ official stand.”
18 November 2017
November 18, 2017
Christian group slams MAIS for wanting DBP to translate Bible
PETALING JAYA: A Christian group has called the suggestion by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) for Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) to translate and publish the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia as “appalling and deeply disturbing”.
The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) was referring to a statement by MAIS’ lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdullah in court on Wednesday, in which he said the DBP could correct the Christians’ alleged error in using the word “Allah” for God in their BM Bibles.
Haniff had claimed that the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak had wrongly used “Allah” for God in Bahasa Malaysia, arguing that they should instead use “Tuhan”, which would not deprive them of their rights.
Haniff made the suggestion while addressing the court during the hearing of a suit by a Malay-speaking Bumiputera Christian from Sarawak, Jill Ireland, against the home minister and the government to uphold her constitutional rights which she said were infringed by a ban on the use of “Allah” in Christian publications.
NECF pointed out that Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution protects the “fundamental right to profess, practice and to propagate one’s religion which includes the right to pray in the name of their God”.
“This includes BM-speaking Christians who use the word ‘Allah’. To them, that name for God carries spiritual meaning that has been passed down from one generation to another.
“This is born of centuries of usage of the word which has never harmed or caused any problem for people of other faiths,” NECF chairman Rev Eu Hong Seng said in a statement.
He added denying BM-speaking Christians the right to use “Allah” in their worship and publications also takes away the full spiritual identity of God from “every prayer, every baptism and every sermon”.
“Article 11(3)(a) makes it clear that every religious group has a right to manage their own religious affairs including the translation of their Holy Scriptures, subject only to public order, public health and morality.
“Therefore, no one, including DBP, can rename the God of that particular religion for whatever reason or claim the right to translate the Holy Scriptures,” Eu said.
“So, MAIS’ attempt to deny the use of ‘Allah’ by BM-speaking Christians is already very upsetting to the Christian community and going on to suggest that a government agency like DBP should translate the Holy Scriptures only adds insult to injury,” he said.
Sarawak DCM: Anyone can translate Bible, just not Mais
Sabah Council of Churches meanwhile says Mais’ proposal for Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to prepare an official Malay translation of the Bible is insulting to the Christians in Sabah.
PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing has no issue with the Bible being translated into Malaysian languages, as long as the translation is not done by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais).
Speaking to FMT, Masing said this was because he believed Mais would not be able to fully grasp and understand the nuances of Christianity.
“It can be translated into Malay or even the Chinese language. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) can also publish it.
“But I will not agree to Mais being the translator,” he said.
Masing also questioned the fear surrounding the usage of the word “Allah” by Christians.
He said the faith of Muslims was not easily shaken, especially by the use of the word “Allah”.
“The word ‘Allah’ predates Islam. There are political leaders in Sarawak who studied the Bible, but that doesn’t make them less of a Muslim.
“So why are we so scared that by allowing the word to be used by Christians, it would shake the religious belief of Muslims?
Meanwhile, Sabah Council of Churches president Bishop Melter Jiki Tais, told FMT that Mais’ proposal for DBP to prepare an official Malay translation of the Bible was insulting to the Christians in Sabah.
“We are indeed very much offended by Mais lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla’s statement, and demand an apology from him,” he said.
Haniff reportedly made the suggestion in court on Wednesday, saying DBP could correct the Christians’ alleged error in using the word “Allah” for God.
He claimed that the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak had wrongly used “Allah” for God in Bahasa Malaysia, arguing that they should instead use “Tuhan”, which would not deprive them of their rights.
Haniff made the suggestion while addressing the court during the hearing of a suit by a Malay-speaking Bumiputera Christian from Sarawak, Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, against the home minister and the government to uphold her constitutional rights which she said were infringed by a local “Allah” ban in Christian publications.
“Let it be known to Haniff that his suggestion reflects his ignorance of the theology, and true and proper interpretation of the original language of the Bible.
“Let it also be known to him that we, the Christian community in Sabah, do not and will not accept any Bahasa Malaysia Bible prepared by Dewan Bahasa,” Melter said.
Mais: Dewan Bahasa can prepare BM Bible to correct Christians’ ‘Allah’ use
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka can prepare an official Malay translation of the Bible to correct Christians’ alleged error in using the word “Allah” for God, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) asserted in court today.
Mais lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla claimed that the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak had wrongly used “Allah” for God in Bahasa Malaysia, arguing that they should instead use “Tuhan” and that this would not deprive them of their rights
“That’s why we submit it should be sent to Dewan Bahasa. That will also be in line with para 2 of 2011,” he said, referring to the government’s 10-point solution issued in 2011 which had said bibles of all languages, including Bahasa Malaysia, can be printed in Malaysia.
“The government is also interested in allowing for Bahasa Malaysia publication of bibles. If Bahasa Malaysia publication of bibles is allowed, Dewan Bahasa would then prepare text to be approved by the Christian community, we would then not have this issue for generations to come,” he said.
Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin then interjected to ask if Dewan Bahasa, as an authority in Bahasa Malaysia, would be competent to do a translation of the Bible. Haniff asserted that Dewan Bahasa would be competent to do so.
The judge then noted the local BM-speaking Christian community saying that they have used the word “Allah” for a long time, asking if Dewan Bahasa would be able to say otherwise if the Christian community insisted on using the word “Allah”.
Haniff replied: “Of course. If language has been used in error, it must be corrected.”
Haniff was addressing the court on Mais’ behalf as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, to assist in the understanding of how the word “Allah” is used in Islam.
Today is the hearing of a lawsuit by Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill — a BM-speaking Bumiputera Christian from Sarawak —- against the Home Minister and government to uphold her constitutional rights that were said to be infringed by a local “Allah” ban in Christian publications.
Mansoor Saat, a lawyer for Jill Ireland, told the High Court however that the word “Allah” is a “generic noun or root word of Semitic language concerning the concept of God, be it Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic and so on”, basing this on four verses in the Quran that were previously cited.
Reiterating that the Quran allows non-Muslims to call their concept of God “Allah”, Mansoor also cited Quran verses which said there is no compulsion in religion and each to be left to their own religion.
“It doesn’t say they can’t use the word ‘Allah’ if they can live together and can worship the way they want to. Of course I won’t follow their religion, but surely you can’t impose your religion on them,” he said, citing the verses in the Quran from Surah 109 Al-Kafirun.
Lim Heng Seng, also a lawyer for Jill Ireland, had earlier today noted that the word “Allah” predates Islam and said it is used in multiple countries and by other religions.
“Christians use the word ‘Allah’ not because they want to offend but that is the word used by their forefathers,” he also said.
Lim had said the local BM-speaking Christian community have been using the word “Allah” for God for generations and even before Malaysia was formed, as well as citing historical Christian documents in BM dating back to the 1600s as evidence of the practice which he said was integral to their religion.
“There is no counter-evidence that no such practice has been done except for some fringe groups’ random opinions,” Lim said of the opinions by individuals cited by the government’s expert witnesses.
Read more at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/mais-dewan-bahasa-can-prepare-bm-bible-to-correct-christians-allah-use#w2Oe6Xg8s0vGhEkk.99