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SATURDAY, 25 JANUARY 2020

THERE IS NO GOD EXCEPT ALLAH
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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday service as usual at Iban parish church in Sarawak

The congregation at a church in Kuching, Sarawak. The Federal Court's decision upholding the ban on Catholic weekly Herald's use of  the word 'Allah' has not bothered Iban-speaking Christians in Sarawak. – The Malaysian Insider fpic, June 29, 2014.The congregation at a church in Kuching, Sarawak. The Federal Court's decision upholding the ban on Catholic weekly Herald's use of the word 'Allah' has not bothered Iban-speaking Christians in Sarawak. – The Malaysian Insider fpic, June 29, 2014.It was service as usual today at the small All Saints Anglican church that caters for the mainly Iban-speaking Christians in the predominantly Dayak residential area of Tabuan in Kuching, following the Federal Court's decision to uphold the ban on the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.
The usual plethora of the use of the term “Allah Taala” (God Almighty) in the prayers was noticeably less, but it was not due to the court decision, as the service was conducted in English instead of the Iban language.
Still, “Allah Taala” was used where it mattered.
“We're not too bothered with what the Malays in Malaya think of our use of the word nor are we too bothered with the Federal Court decision,” Dorothy Gregory, a 45 year-old executive, said, summing up the mood among the congregation.
“Last Sunday, like all the Sundays over the years, we prayed to Allah without fear of someone picking us up and throwing us in jail because we have broken some rules.
“We have no fear in using Allah in our prayers. We have not changed and will not change.”
The tussle over the use of the word and the court's denial last Monday of the Catholic church's leave application to appeal the “Allah” ban on its weekly Herald, appeared to be non-issues, as the parish priest, Father Nelson Sinken, did not mention them in his sermon.
“Why should we be afraid?” asked a 56-year-old environmental consultant.

“What can they do? Throw us all into jail? They need a lot of large concentration camps from here (Kuching) to Lawas for that,” another parishioner Robert Misken said.
Misken said for the time being, they are sticking to the government's word and the Cabinet's 10-point agreement allowing Christians in Sabah and Sarawak to use the word freely.
Last week, pastors and church ministers of the Sarawak Ministers Fellowship (SMF) had warned that the court ruling on the “Allah” issue had effectively made criminals of Bumiputera Christians who attend church on Sunday.
Christians in Sarawak, SMF added, address God as "Allah Taala" in their native language in their worship, liturgy and prayers.
"Rural churches in Sarawak which largely worship in their native language or Bahasa Malaysia will find that given the ruling, their worshippers are in breach of the law when they go to church this Sunday.
"In just one stroke, the Federal Court has made criminals of Malaysian Christians when they pray and address God as Allah Taala", said SMF chairman Reverend Daron Tan.
They called on Putrajaya to review its position on the “Allah” ban, and blamed the "mess" on the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
- TMI

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