CFM Media Statement: Selangor State Government Shirking Responsibility (English)

alkitabberitabaik

4th April 2014

Selangor State Government Shirking Responsibility

It was reported on 2 April 2014 that the Selangor State Government had advised the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) to write to the Attorney General to request for the release of Bibles seized from its premises on 2 January 2014.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) is disappointed by this apparent attempt on the part of the Selangor State Government to wash its hands off the matter.

The fact remains that the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS), acting under powers purportedly given to it by a State enactment, raided the premises of BSM and seized more than 300 copies of the AlKitab and the Bup Kudus, Bibles written in Bahasa Malaysia and the Iban language respectively. These Bibles remain in their possession.

The officers of JAIS may be authorised to act only after consultation and on the advice of the Selangor State Government. The Selangor State Government is accountable as in the raid of BSM, JAIS acted as an agency of the Selangor State Government. It is therefore perverse that the Selangor State Government is now asking BSM to look to the Attorney General to resolve this matter.

CFM strongly urges the Selangor State Government to act without further delay to order the safe and prompt return of the Bibles to BSM.

It is a ludicrous suggestion that JAIS had the necessary power to seize the Bibles, but that it is only with the approval and authorisation of the Attorney General that these very same Bibles can be released. This is nothing short of ‘passing the buck’, and is totally unacceptable.

The Selangor State Government is duty bound to act in this matter and must not shirk its responsibility. Order the return of the Bibles now.

Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng
Chairman and the Executive Committee,
The Christian Federation of Malaysia

Download this CFM Media Statement in PDF.

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Persekutuan Kristian Malaysia: Kerajaan Negeri Selangor Mengelak Tanggungjawab

alkitabberitabaik

4hb April 2014

Kerajaan Negeri Selangor Mengelak Tanggungjawab

Dilaporkan pada 2 April 2014 Kerajaan Negeri Selangor telah menasihati Lembaga Alkitab Malaysia (BSM) untuk menulis kepada Peguam Negara meminta pembebasan terhadap Alkitab yang disita dari premis mereka pada 2 Januari 2014.

Persekutuan Kristian Malaysia (CFM) kecewa dengan pihak Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dalam cubaannya mencuci tangan dalam perkara itu.

Hakikatnya bahawa Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS), yang bertindak di bawah kuasa yang kononnya diberikan kepadanya oleh enakmen Negeri, menyerbu premis BSM dan merampas lebih 300 buah Alkitab dan Bup Kudus, Alkitab ditulis dalam Bahasa Malaysia dan Bahasa Iban masing-masing. Alkitab ini masih dalam simpanan mereka.

Pegawai-pegawai JAIS hanya berkuasa bertindak selepas berunding dan atas nasihat Kerajaan Negeri Selangor. Kerajaan Negeri Selangor bertanggungjawab terhadap serbuan BSM, JAIS bertindak sebagai sebuah agensi Kerajaan Negeri Selangor. Oleh itu, adalah bertentangan jika Kerajaan Negeri Selangor sekarang meminta BSM untuk melihat kepada Peguam Negara untuk menyelesaikan perkara ini.

CFM menggesa dengan tegas Kerajaan Negeri Selangor untuk bertindak tanpa berlengah-lengah lagi mengarahkan pemulangan dengan selamat dan segera Alkitab kepada BSM.

Ia adalah satu cadangan yang lucu bahawa JAIS mempunyai kuasa tertentu untuk menyita Alkitab, dan bahawa hanya dengan kelulusan dan kebenaran Peguam Negara bahawa Alkitab yang sama boleh di lepaskan. Ini adalah tidak lain daripada ‘menolak tanggungjawab’, dan sama sekali tidak boleh diterima.

Kerajaan Negeri Selangor adalah berkewajipan untuk bertindak dalam perkara ini dan tidak mengelakkan dari bertanggungjawab. Perintahkan pengembalian Alkitab itu sekarang.

Ditandatangani

Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng,
Pengerusi dan Jawatankuasa Eksekutif,
Persekutuan Kristian Malaysia

Muat turun Kenyataan Akhbar CFM ini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

 

马来西亚基督教联合会: 雪州政府推卸责任

alkitabberitabaik

44日,2014

雪州政府推卸

42日的道,雪莪州政府建议议来西公会(BSM)致函察署以要求归归201412日被扣押的圣

来西基督教合会(CFM于雪州政府尝尝置身事外的表感到失望。

上雪州宗教局(JAIS)据称是根据州政府予的力来搜公会并扣押了超300来文及伊班文版圣。而些圣目前仍然在他手中。

雪州宗教局的官是可能在咨雪州政府并被授后才会采取行的。既然雪州宗教局是雪州政府属下的机构,雪州是需要公会被搜的事件上任。因此,雪州政府今建公会向总检察署要求理事件是极不正当的。

来西基督教合会烈促雪州政府在毫不拖延的情况下指示并原原本本地归归

在一方明雪州宗教局力扣押圣,另一方面则说归归需要察署的力批准是谎谎法。根本是胡扯并且完全不可以被接受。

雪州政府在起事件上是无旁并且是绝对不可以推卸任。请议归归

尤方成牧博士Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng
来西基督教合会主席
暨全体执委。

 

CFM Statement on the latest fire-bombing of a church in Penang

The Christian Federation of Malaysia has released a statement in response to the recent fire-bombing of a church in Penang.

CFM Statement - Fire Bombing Churches In Penang

27th January 2014

Comments below are made by CFM chairman Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng on the latest fire-bombing of a church in Penang.

  1. CFM denounces the heinous act of the fire-bombing of a church in the early morning of Monday in Penang. This follows another act of mischief by the placing of banners with provocative statements in five churches on Penang Island and in Butterworth as was reported in the media.
  2. We are happy to note that the police are on top of the situation.
  3. These acts of provocation to cause chaos and ethnic enmity are aimed at the
    self-interest gains of those who have organised it.
  4. CFM advises Christians and the general public not to be alarmed by nor over-react to such acts. Should these attacks be politically-motivated and calculated to try to ignite an escalation in inter-racial and inter-religious tensions, then all the more reason that we do well to be wise and measured in our response.
  5. We call on all peace-loving Malaysi ans to stand firm and united and to oppose such acts of desecration and criminal damage on a place of religious worship.

Issued on behalf of Rev. Dr. Eu hong Seng

Tan Kong Beng
Executive Secretary

When, Why And How Christians Use The Word ‘Allah’

The issue of Christians using the word “Allah” has become a flashpoint among Malaysians and has been highlighted in many media stories. As Christians, how are we supposed to respond?

Presently, BLC Council thinks it best to firstly provide everyone with a clearer understanding of the issue at hand and its implications to Malaysian Christians. To do that, we are reproducing the statement provided by the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) on 16 May 2013. (See below or download PDF here)

Next, Pastor Augustin will be addressing some of the concerns on this issue this coming Sunday, 12 Jan 2014, as part of his sermon. He will also host an open dialogue session with anyone who may be interested to discuss this further after the service. Please do make time to stay back for the discussion together. We will provide pens and paper for you to write down questions if that is more comfortable for you – or you could email Pastor Augustin with your question beforehand at revaugustin[at]yahoo[dot]com.

Finally, the Council would like to exhort everyone to do the following as part of our response to this issue: 1.Pray 2.Act in Christ’s Love 3.Stay informed

Let’s continue to do our part as Malaysians.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Graphic by The Malaysian Insider (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/for-confused-and-ignorant-christians-an-allah-fact-sheet)

Introduction and Background

The objective of this document is to explain briefly to those Christians who do not understand when, why and how Churches in Malaysia use the word ‘Allah. It is also for Christians who are confused about how to respond, when confronted by the ignorance of non-Muslims about the Christian use of the word ‘Allah’.

There are many (misleading) statements by non-Christians who claim that we should not use the word, because it is an exclusive Muslim term for the God of Islam and can be used only by Muslims. This is a situation peculiar to Malaysia, as elsewhere in the Muslim world, Arabic-speaking Christians use the word ‘Allah’.

Christians themselves are sometimes ignorant, because unless we pray in Bahasa Malaysia, we pray to ‘God’ in our own language. In English services, for example, nowhere do we use the word ‘Allah’.

However, more than 60% of Malaysian Christians only speak Bahasa Malaysia, and the word used for God in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible (Al-Kitab) since its translation in 1731, is ‘Allah’. The word is used by Bumiputera Christians who only have Bahasa Malaysia as their common language in Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia, and by the Baba community in Malacca.

Historical Usage and Meaning

  1. The word ‘Allah’ was a term used for the supreme God in a pantheon of gods, before the revelation of Islam. The Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam ed., H. A. R. Gibb & J. H. Kramer and The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, ed. John L. Esposito, both affirm and support this contention.
  2. Historically, Malay-speaking Christians in South-East Asia have used ‘Allah’ to refer to God. The proof is as follows:
    • The Kitab salat as-sawai or Christian catechisms in Malay written in 1514 and published around 1545,
    • The printed version of the Gospel of Matthew in Malay by A.C. Ruyl in 1629,
    • Malay-Latin Dictionary was printed in Rome in 1631 (The Dictionarium Malaicum-Latinum and Latinum – Malaicum)
    • The translation of Genesis by D. Brouwerius (1662),
    • M. Leijdecker’s translation (1733),
    • H.C. Klinkert’s translation (1879),
    • W.A. Bode’s translation (1938), and
    • The complete Malay Bible of 1731-1733 containing the word ‘Allah’ for God.
  3. Therefore, from the very beginning, the word ‘Allah’ has been used in the liturgy, prayers and worship of those Christians who speak Bahasa Malaysia. But for centuries, there has been no opposition or uproar about their use of ‘Allah’.

Language

Objections to the use of the word ‘Allah’ comes mostly from political discourse, or those who argue that the translation and usage of the word is a recent decision. This is not true for the following reasons:

  1. In Semitic languages, the word ‘Allah’ has been widely used in the Middle East dating back to the 5th century BC and up to the time of the expansion of Islam and the spread of the Arabic language in the 7th century AD.
  2. The translation of the Al-Kitab is not from the English translation but based on the Hebrew and Greek text of the Bible. In the Hebrew language, the word ‘God’ has the same root form as the Arabic language. So, when the word ‘God’ was first translated into Bahasa Malaysia, the translators merely followed the Arabic Christian usage and retained the word ‘Allah’.
  3. As stated earlier, the word ‘Allah’ pre-dates Islam. It is not a creation of the Muslims and its existence does not begin in the Al-Quran.

Should Christians Substitute the word ‘Allah’ with ‘Tuhan’?

This is not possible for the following reasons :

  1. In the Malay language, ‘Allah’ means ‘God’ and Tuhan means ‘Lord’. As is obvious when we read the Bible, both God and Lord are used in the Bible, and both have different connotations. Therefore ‘Allah’ cannot be substituted by ‘Tuhan’.
  2. The word Tuhan has been applied to Jesus Christ and read as Tuhan Yesus. If Christians are to substitute the word ‘Allah’ for Tuhan, it will render many Biblical references to God and Jesus incoherent because:
    • The meaning of ‘Allah’ and Tuhan are different.
    • This is obvious in just one example. In Isaiah chapter 41 and verse 13; also 43:3 and 51:15. “For I am the LORD, your GOD…” is translated as “Akulah TUHAN, ALLAH kamu…”. (ALKITAB: Berita Baik. 2001. 2nd edition. Published by the Bible Society of Malaysia).
    • It creates an absurd situation if Christians have to translate the biblical phrase ‘Lord God’ as Tuhan Tuhan. The repeated words Tuhan Tuhan indicates plural in Bahasa Malaysia, and creates the impression that Christians believe in many Gods, which is unacceptable.
    • Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christians will not be able to affirm the deity of Jesus Christ and teach the doctrine of the Trinity as these two foundational words are essential to maintain and communicate these truths.

Consequences of Banning the Word “Allah”

  1. Being denied the use of the word ‘Allah’ disregards the constitutional right of Malaysian citizens to freedom of religion under the Federal Constitution. Article 11 of the Federal Constitution safeguards the right of each Malaysian to profess and practice one’s religion of choice. Article 11(3) expressly provides that every religious group has the right to manage their own religious affairs.
  2. In 2011, the High Court handed down a judgement allowing the Catholic Church to use the word ‘Allah’. The government (of all Malaysians, including Christians) is appealing the judgement and it is pending.
  3. There have been other infringements on the right to use words imperative in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible. See the directive of 5 Dec 1986 from the Ministry of Home Affairs stating that, in addition to ‘Allah’, the words: Al-Kitab, Firman, Rasul, Iman, Ibadah, Injil, Wahyu, Nabi, Syukur, Solat and doa are not to be used in the Al-Kitab. In addition, making such prohibitions through fatwa render them only relevant to Muslims as the Shari’a does not apply to non-Muslims.
  4. Prohibiting the use of the word ‘Allah’ and these other terms is unjust. Bumiputera Christians should be given the respect and freedom to call God in the only language they have in common. This is important to their religious and cultural identity.
  5. If Churches in Malaysia agree to stop using the word ‘Allah’, it means that the right to edit the Scripture of a major world religion has been given over to a secular government. This would be a shameful and an unprecedented development for any religion and government.

Conclusion

Some Muslims have claimed repeatedly that Christians in Malaysia refuse to stop using the word ‘Allah’ because they want to confuse and convert Muslims, thereby posing a threat to national security. The claim is groundless as there has been no evidence offered of any threat to security. These remain unfounded accusations.

On the contrary, such an assertion is made in ignorance of the fact that when Christians use the Al-Kitab, it is simply for Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christians. Malaysian Churches have never suggested changing the words ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ to ‘Allah’ and ‘Tuhan’ respectively, in the other languages of the Bible.

The content above was prepared by the Christian Federation Of Malaysia, 16 May 2013 in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As Bangsar Lutheran Church, how then should we respond to all this?

1) Pray – Prayer reminds us that we are not alone in being the solution to the challenges that grip our country, but that we also have access to the one who transcends those challenges. Prayer thus aligns us with God’s heart, purposes and blessings – with prayer, there is hope beyond the headlines. Prayer, at its best, is an offering of one’s self to be used by God as a part of the answer.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14  

2) Act in Christ’s Love – It is not going to be easy, but as Christians we must remember that we are called to be Light and Salt to the world – serving as ambassadors for Christ. It is important that we maintain our dignity and honor in following Christ, even as we deal with such a contentious and emotional subject. While we must stand firm on matters of right and wrong, of justice and injustice – we must not forget to follow Christ’s example and His call to “love our enemies and pray for them.”

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

3) Stay informed – refer to the following sites for more guidance, updates and resources:

致马来西亚的教会: 基督徒何时、为何、如何使用“阿拉”(Allah)一词

 Graphic by The Malaysian Insider (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/for-confused-and-ignorant-christians-an-allah-fact-sheet)

前言与背景

此文件的目的是向基督徒解清楚来西的教会何何、如何使用“阿”Allah)一文件也将明,当非穆斯林基督徒使用“阿拉”之事不了解,基督徒如何回

多(误误性)言表明基督徒不使用“阿拉”,因那是用于称呼伊斯的神的回教,只有穆斯林可以使用。种特殊的情况只生在来西,其他国家的穆斯林圈子里阿拉伯的基督徒都是使用“阿拉”的。

基督徒本身往往对这件事也一知半解,我若非用祷告,一般都是以各自的日常用向神祷告;比如在英的主日崇拜中,我都不会使用“阿拉”一

然而有60%以上的来西基督徒只谙马,而自从1731年起来文将“神”译为“阿拉”了。在沙巴、砂拉越和来西,以日常的土著基督徒都会使用“阿拉”一;此外,六甲的峇峇娘惹也都使用该词

史性的用法与意

  1. “阿拉”用以称呼众神之上的至高神,在伊斯教的启示之前就已如此。H.A.R. 吉布和J. H.克雷默所著的《明伊斯教百科全》与L.埃斯波西托所著 的《牛津当代伊斯教世界百科全》都申明并支持了点。
  2. 史上在亚说马的基督徒都是以“阿拉”称呼神的。据如下所示:
    • 写于1514年,出版于1545年的来文《基督徒祷告文》或《基督教教义义答》;
    • A. C.1629年翻的印刷版来文《太福音》;
    • 1631年在罗马印刷的《来文拉丁文双语词典》(The Dictionarium Malaicum-Latinum and Latinum-Malaicum);
    • D.沃利斯(1662)翻的《》;
    • M.德克(1733)的本;
    • H.C.克林克特(1879)的本;
    • W.A.波德(1938)的本以及
    • 1731年至1733完整的来文圣尽都含有用以称呼神的“阿拉”一
  3. 由此可,早在很久以前,说马的基督徒就已在礼拜、祷告和敬拜使用“阿拉”了。然而他们这几个世以来使用“阿拉”并未引起任何反抗或争

语言
多数对于基督徒使用“阿拉”的抗议都出自于政治演讲,甚至有些人还争论说该词的翻译与使用是近来的决定。其实这是不正确的,因为:

  1. 追溯到公元前5世纪,闪米特语中的“阿拉”一词已经在中东地区广泛使用了,这甚至还更早于公元7世纪伊斯兰教的扩展和阿拉伯语的传播。
  2. 翻译马来文圣经并不是基于英文的译本,而是基于希伯来语和希腊语的圣经文本。在希伯来语中,“神”的词根与阿拉伯语相似。于是,当译者将“神”译成马来文时时时是随着阿拉伯基督徒的用法而保留了“阿拉”一词。
  3. 如前文所述,“阿拉”更早于伊斯兰教,该词并不是穆斯林所造,也并非起于可兰经。

基督徒是否应应以“主”(Tuhan)代替“阿拉”(Allah)?
这是不可能的,因为:

  1. 在马来文中,“阿拉”的意思是“神”,而“Tuhan”的意思是“主”。当我们读圣经时可明显地发发圣经中的“神”和“主”有不同的含义,于是不能以“主”(Tuhan)代替“阿拉”。
  2. “主”一般都用于称呼耶稣基督,并且也称为主耶稣。如果基督徒以“主”代替“阿拉”,这将误致圣经中许多有关神和耶稣的说法变得不清晰,因为:
    • “阿拉”和“主”的意思并不一样。
    • 以下的例子就足以说明了。在以赛亚书41 章13 节、43 章3 节以及51 章15 节,“因为我是主你的神……”译成了“Akulah TUHAN, ALLAH kamu…”(《ALKITAB:Berita Baik》第二版,马来西亚圣经公会2001年出版)
    • 如果基督徒将“主神”译成“Tuhan Tuhan”就会造成一种奇怪的发象。重叠的词语“Tuhan Tuhan”在马来文中表示复数,这将让人以为基督徒信奉许多的神,而这是无法接受的。
    • 说马来语的基督徒将无法申明耶稣基督的神性并教误有关三位一体的教义,因为在传传该真理时“阿拉”和“主”这两个词都是必不可缺的。

禁用“阿拉”的后果

  1. 禁止使用“阿拉”将有违违邦宪法所规定的宗教自由权利。违邦宪法第11条文保障每个马来西亚公民都有权信奉与实践其宗教信仰,第11条文第3款也明确地规定了所有宗教团体皆有权权理自身的宗教事务。
  2. 在2011年,高等法院已经判决允许天主教教会使用“阿拉”。马来西亚政府却对于该判决提出上诉,其结果还待定未决。
  3. 马来文圣经中还有其他重要的词语也涉及类似的侵权情况。内政部在1986年12月5 日所下达的指令表示,除了“阿拉”之外还有其他不可在圣经中使用的词语,包括:Al-Kitab、Firman、Rasul、Iman、Ibadah、Injil、Wahyu、Nabi、Syukur、Solat 和 Doa。然而通过伊斯兰教令所下达的禁令就只牵涉到穆斯林而已,因为伊斯兰教法并不套用于非穆斯林。
  4. 禁止使用“阿拉”与上述其他词语是不公平的。土著基督徒应该被尊敬并可自由以他们唯一的日常用语来称呼神,这对于他们的信仰与文化身份而言是很重要的。
  5. 如果马来西亚的教会同意停止使用“阿拉”,这就表示我们把编编世界一大宗教的经文的权力交给了一个世俗的政府。这对任何宗教与政府来说都是可耻而不可行的。

结结
有些穆斯林不断表示说,马来西亚的基督徒拒绝停止使用“阿拉”是为了混淆穆斯林并让他们改信基督教,这就威胁了国家安全。该该指控是毫无根据的,因为并无证据证明马来西亚基督徒使用“阿拉”将对国家安全造成任何威胁,可见那是一该没有依据的控告。

相反地,该该言论是基于不了解事实的情况下所说的;其实基督徒使用马来文圣经单单是为了那些说马来语的基督徒,而且马来西亚的教会也不曾想过把其他语言的圣经里的“神”和“主”分别别成“Allah”和“Tuhan”。

2013年5月16日
马来西亚基督教违合会编
(Christian Federation of Malaysia)