Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Failed bible - burning a sign of people’s maturity

There was sigh of relief when the proposed bible-burning event did not materialize last Sunday in Butterworth. As I drove through the place I felt happy that not a single ill-motived person was in sight. The failure of this bible-burning event showed 2 important developments of Malaysian society;
1.The elevated level of maturity of the Malaysian people at large. The vast majority of Malay Muslims are not easily influenced by the racial and religious provocation of a few radicals among them. The Christians too are wise enough to ignore such provocations and act with great restrain so as to maintain the peace and harmony
2.The evil motive of the mainstream media that blew up the issue to confuse and arouse the people especially the Malay Muslims. This too did not have the intended effect to instill fear and confusion among the people  
These two positive attributes in the people of all races are the most promising developments that augurs well for the future of the nation. It gives hope for a more peaceful and harmonious future in our multiracial and multi-religious nation.
Peace and the Allah dispute
The Allah dispute is threatening to tear apart Pakatan Rakyat especially PAS and DAP and may even be the cause of a Pakatan defeat in the coming elections. The swift turn - around by PAS on use of Allah by non-Muslims followed by the goodwill visit by Tuan Guru Nik Aziz to DAP chairman Karpal Singh and the Bishop Sebastian Francis of Penang may be an indication of severe undercurrents, which outsiders  may not understand.
The Christians were indirectly the cause of Tengku Razaleigh's failure in the eighties due to the crucifix issue. Do the Christians want to be the cause again of Anwar Ibrahim’s failure this time around with the Allah issue? The Christians like all other peace-loving Malaysians also want political change they do not want to be the obstacle to the change of government at the 13GE.
It is time for the Christians to rise up in wisdom to drop this Allah claim now so that they can successfully bring about a change of the government first. They have made known their rights on the issue of Allah but they must also understand the anxieties of the ordinary Malay Muslims who are highly anxious of "giving up" Allah as they were brought up over 50 years of politicised Islam under Umno rule to think they alone have exclusive rights to Allah.

Anwar Ibrahim by taking a liberal stand in support of our claim of Allah, has risked losing the support of the Malays that may affect his chances of capturing Putrajaya.The mainstream media will leave no stone unturned to label him and Pakatan as traitors to the race and religion. Let us not let him down and his sacrifices by being adamant in our claims to Allah now. After all God by whatever name we call Him is God.
As Christians we must turn to our Master and Lord, Jesus, for guidance on this important issue that we are facing today. Jesus had 2 choices on being unjustly sentenced to death – to fight his mighty opponents with force or submit to their judgment. Of course he made the more difficult and humiliating choice – the cross. Yes, he chose to offer his other cheek when struck on one. His action then is very clear on what ours should be today.
Our church leaders on behalf of all the Christians in the country must come together and consider very carefully what they should do to put an end to this dispute that may threaten the peace and harmony among the races. They must put the well-being and peace of the people above all other considerations. A graceful way to get out of the impasse for now is to issue a statement like this,

"Historically and constitutionally we are of the opinion that we have the right to use Allah in our scriptures and worship like Christians in other parts of world, but due to the anxieties and fears expressed by our Muslim brethren in our country, we will drop this claim now for the sake of goodwill and harmony to prevail among the Muslims and Christians.

We continue to pray to the Almighty that a day will come when all Malaysians can pray together side by side free to address the one true God in the name they choose. God bless Malaysia".
The Allah dispute is a chance to show our commitment to peace, which should not be compromised for any reason whatsoever. It is a chance to show our tolerance and goodwill even to our fellow citizens of a different faith. It is a chance to put to practice which Jesus himself demonstrated while here on earth. What we do now really depends how much we want to be like Jesus bearing in mind that it is we who need God's protection not God who needs ours.

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