Christians will defend right to use Allah, says Sarawak Archbishop

Bolly Lapok

(TMI) – With the row over the use of the word Allah still simmering, Anglican Christians in Sarawak said they will go all out to defend their right to use the word in worship.

Datuk Bolly Lapok, Anglican Archbishop for Southeast Asia, said they were willing to abandon their calling to be peacemakers and reconcilers, if “turning the other cheek to the provocateurs and extremists in political Islam that are relentlessly stoking the fire of hatred and bigotry is tantamount to sending a wrong message to them”.

He said this in a statement after a mass gathering of its Iban speaking congregation in Sri Aman today.

“The Bible reminds us that there is a time for war, and a time for peace. It seems like a paradox that we are called to be peacemakers.

“Yet at the same time we are also to brace ourselves for war,” said Lapok, who is also the Bishop of Kuching.

“We have been and are doing our part in reconciliation.

“The fact that the Church in Sarawak has not demanded that the post of the chief minister, or that of the governor be picked from among Christians, bears testimony to the extent the church is willing to go for the sake of reconciliation and peacemaking.”

Yet, Lapok asked, how would Christians live when extremist elements kept stoking hatred and bigotry?

“These extremists are, in fact, the minority while the rest of us, including peace-loving Muslims and non-Muslims, have become the suffering majority.

“Ultimately, it is for all Malaysians of goodwill to ensure that Malaysia is not hijacked by the minority.

“To turn the other cheek in these circumstances is indeed to bear false witness to the gospel of reconciliation,” Lapok said.

He said even the judiciary had seen fit to abandon sound principles of jurisprudence and took an unprecedented extrajudicial position that the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.