Penang Muslim Network takes to the streets over ‘Allah’ issue

Penang Muslim Network members demonstrate over the “Allah” issue at Masjid Simpang Enam near Komtar. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

Opalyn Mok, The Malaysian Insider

Penang Muslim Network (JMPP) members marched 500 metres from a mosque in Macalister Road to Komtar after Friday prayers today to demand an apology from DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng over his call for the federal government to allow the use of the word “Allah” in Malay-language bibles.

The group comprising about 50 members, led by JMPP coordinator Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nordin, carried banners demanding that “Father Joseph Lim Guan Eng” apologise and retract his statement as they started the march at about 2pm.

Two Federal Reserve Unit trucks and several police patrol units were already waiting for the demonstrators at the Komtar underpass where the demonstrators stopped and shouted through loud hailers.

Earlier, a scuffle almost broke out when the police tried to stop the demonstrators from marching to Komtar after they gathered in front of the mosque.

However, after a brief negotiation between the members of the group and the police, they were allowed to march through the busy Penang Road, effectively closing off the whole road and bringing traffic to a standstill.

At the Komtar underpass, the group recited a prayer and shouted for Lim, who is also Penang chief minister, to retract his statement and also for Muslims in Penang not to trust Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

“Even in delivering a Christmas message, he had to include such religious sentiments against the Muslims, this showed how insensitive and discriminatory the PR and DAP are,” claimed Mohd Hafiz.

He also said Lim’s statement is not only an insult to all Muslims in the country but also an insult to the King.

On Monday, Lim issued a Christmas message where he urged the federal government to allow the use of the word “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian Bible for east Malaysia, the Alkitab.

This created a huge uproar with even PAS joining in to insist that Christians should not use “Allah” in the Alkitab as it does not reflect the actual meaning of “God” in the original text.

The Internet is also rife with Muslim blogs criticising Lim over his statement and demanding that he issue a retraction and apologise.

Today, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh called for calm over this issue while pointing out that many non-Muslims in the country use the word too.