Written by Kazi Mahmood
In Mauritius, where I come from, a teacher accused the Muslims of being terrorists. This is a first in the peaceful country. The teacher, a Chinese lady, said to my nephew Ishtiak (his name) that terrorism was written on the faces of all Muslims. This caused an outcry and the end of the story came when the teacher had to apologize in public over her remarks.
The Malaysian government has simply banned the publication from using the world Allah and this has raised the ire and anger of the Church and of news editors and bloggers who are struggling for ‘freedom of expression’ in the country. There was a thin line between total freedom of expression and the possible anger of Muslims against the publication. Had this issue gone out of hand, there could have been further divide between the ethnic groups and their religious beliefs.
While it is true to say that the Christians (many church leaders and bloggers stated so) had the right to use the word Allah, the truth is far from this reality however. I lived with a Christian family when I first came to Malaysia some 15 years ago. The members of the family, to whom I salute my reverence and gratitude until today, were never offensive towards Islam. They never used the word Allah when they spoke about ‘God’ and they never suggested anything that could disturb the religious belief of their guests. They had more than one guest at a time living with them in their rented home in Gombak.