“I Only Wanted To Make Peace With My Christian Friends” – Marina Mahathir

Marina Mahathir at ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ Church a few days ago. Pic: siemens-melayumaju.blogspot.com

by Siti Nur Sarah Mohd Khir, Malaysian Digest

“I JUST went there (to the church) to ease the fear among us regarding this issue, was I wrong?” asked social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

The daughter of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said she is saddened with the allegations saying that she agreed with the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims, and that they say that it is the liberal Islamic movement.

Members of the public especially Muslims condemned her actions yesterday when she joined in a gathering in front of ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ church in Klang.

However, she said, she only wanted to make peace with her Christian friends so that there will be no more disputes.

“Why must this issue be brought up? I came simply to give moral support and brought the flowers as a sign that I’m sincere in being friends with the Christians,” she told mD.

Earlier, a local news portal reported that apart from bringing flowers, Marina also defended the use of the word Allah in The Herald publications although the Islamic authorities and the court forbid it.

Her action seems to trigger controversy and deemed as a cheap ploy to seek publicity when she condemned the raid conducted by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS).

Referring to the raid, Marina insisted that JAIS was acting overboard when they seized the Bibles.

“There are better ways to deal with this issue. JAIS’ decision to take the Bibles is wrong… they acted too harsh. How would you feel if someone seize your holy book,” she asked ruefully.

ALLAH Issue creates wrath from many. Filepice: antarapos.com

Previously, Jais raided the Bible Society of Malaysia’s office in Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, confiscated more than 300 Bibles in Malay and Iban languages and arrested two of the society’s leaders.

Brian Yap, 30, described the raid as unfair and considers it as a form of violence against Christians.

Brian, who is Christian, said JAIS should respect the church and any other house of worship in Malaysia.

“Our Constitution allows freedom of religion, and personally I feel that JAIS must respect us as much as they respect the Muslims”.

He added that in any other context, the Christians should understand that this issue will not be prolonged if Father Lawrence had not brought it up.

Previously, Father Lawrence Andrew said the Catholic churches in Selangor will still continue to use the word Allah in its weekly mass conducted in the malay language even after JAIS had sent them notices prohibiting the use of the word by non-muslims.

Brian hopes that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible for the sake of both religions.

“If this goes on, it will affect the image of both religions (Christianity and Islam) and I fear that it will become an extremely sensitive issue,” he said.

Following the incident, Wira Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) strongly condemned Marina Mahathir for defending and showing solidarity with the Christians in a rally yesterday.

Mohamad Syafiq Iqbal Mohamed, 25, said the raid was timely as it can prevent the book from spreading, hence causing confusion for the Muslims’ faith.

He said in the Federal Constitution, Article 11 Clause (1), it was stated that ‘Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion’ and in Clause (4) ‘State law and in respect of the Federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam’.

Pic: beta.malaysiakini.com

“They can’t use the word Allah in the Bible considering their weekly Catholic publication The Herald was prohibited by the Court of Appeal from using the word Allah to refer to God.

In fact he says in Article 11 (3) ‘Every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs’ which means the same as that done by JAIS.

“What JAIS did was according to the Constitution, in fact, in the Selangor Enactment (Control Distribution to Muslims) Enactment 1988 was also emphasised in order to avoid confusion among Muslims.

“For me, Jais has the power to manipulate people’s movement against Islam. They did it to protect the religion of Islam. What is wrong with that?” he added.

However, for Deepika A / P Padukum, 26, a discussion between the two religions’ leaders (Muslim and Christian) is the best way to resolve this issue.

“To my knowledge, this issue has long been metioned and even the court’s decision has been made, but still no one is satisfied with any of it. As a Hindu, I too want everyone to come together.”

She said the leaders must also play a role to provide information to the community on this matter without inserting the political element.

Deepika added that the issue of the word Allah is very sensitive and there should be a sense of respect among religions.

“They (the leaders) should ‘walk the talk’ to appease Muslims and Christians, and be honest so that others may understand the real situation without any disputes later on,” he said.