First and foremost, this legal battle for the use of the word ALLAH should not be a Muslim vs Catholics and Malays vs Catholics battle. At best it is a BIGOT vs bigot. Let us identify them as minority (small) bigots against majority (Big) bigots.
I for one, have no objection to the use of the name to refer to the ONE God. It is so private, it is so personal. It is impossible to control its use. Furthermore, I am a declared follower of Abraham, the father of monotheism, the origin of the 3 religions, and Allah to me is the ONE.
Does it matter who you call your God? It does not matter who you call your God as long as you live up your life to submit to Him and you accord the most beautiful names to the Supreme Being.
Thus arise these questions by the Big Bigots to the little bigots why the need to create this battle in the first place. The Majority BIGOTS have been questioning the minority bigots, the intent for the use. They see it as a challenge to their Authority. There are the HARDCORE religionists among the Majority Bigots who believe this is challenging the Peace Treaty, what ever that is.
There is another significant group, who believe as a matter of FAITH that ALLAH is ONE and it is their religious duty to fight any abuses. I repeat RELIGIOUS DUTY. To them it is OKAY to use GOD for the ONE God like the practice of the Unitary Church but if you say Jesus is ALLAH, they will not tolerate you out of their belief and love of ALLAH and Jesus. And there are many in this category and they are ZEALOTS, just like Jesus of Nazareth they see themselves as.
The deep suspicion that the big bigots (and there are many) have is that it is a politically motivated move. It is a harassment. It is upmanship. It is a strategy to create discomfort and suspicion.
There is this question by the Big Bigot, will the challenger use the word ALLAH in all versions of the Bible and not just the Malay version?
What the heck, the Catholic Herald has only a few thousand circulation. By all means use ALLAH in the sermons, in the electronic media and films as allowed by the law of the land and nobody ever complained and the big bigots cannot touch. Yeah, it is freedom of expressions and the constitution you say. And you dragged the big bigot into a legal battle and now a political battle too, which is dangerously bordering on a religious battle. With respect to Selangor, study the Enactment which is used by the Sultan to assert his power, prohibits the use of the word ALLAH by non-Muslims. So it is more complex then initially perceived. Try amend that Enactment first. You will need Muslims to initiate this but whether it is doable that is secondary. So if we follow rule of Law, all Laws whether tribal, customary or religious need to be respected.
In the meantime, just use it as long as you are not seen as challengging the authorities as the Law allows you to. The use of the word once the critical mass has been established, is unstoppable. The Sarawak and Sabah lobbies are very strong lobbies. You may not be able to use it now, but give them time. Your rights to use the language in whatever way and use whatever terms you want to will succed.
But the moment the battle line is drawn, pride, upmanship vs upmanship will be the order of the day. Once this takes a religious dimension, the battle lines become more divisive. Even your perceived allies may be against you. Remember, this is a democracy, there is a stromg opposition to the use by the AHLISUNNAH WALJAMMAH which represent 99% of all muslims in Malaysia. It is not just UMNO, there are many in PAS and PKR who are very much against the use. I am a tiny weeny minority, you see.
Now let me address the other BIGOTS, the BIG BIGOTS.
In my opinion it is smarter for The BIG BIGOTS to lose this battle in the use of the term ALLAH. Their resistance and refusal to let free its use show how time wrapped and tribal their thoughts are, but again I say this with a caveat: it is their right and freedom to think the way they think, no matter how ancient they are and I respect that.
There are in abundance the purists bigots who say nobody can use the words jima’, istinja, mutaharah, iman, solat and the list is endless. Your language has been nationalised. If you want your language to be internationalised, you have no choice but to set it free. Sooner or later, the big bigots will realise, you cannot control language by whatever means.
Are you saying ALLAH belongs to you only? There will be people who will misuse the name, but can you stop, regulate or control them? nay…..so why fight a battle you cannot win. Strategically you should capitalise and ride it.
And what is the price both bigots have to pay for all these moves? loss of goodwill, mistrust, loss of space, suspicion. Discord.
And to ordinary secularists like many Malaysians, we want to live life. We don’t care what you call your GOD. He has 100 names so they say. It is bigots vs bigots, not quite BIG BIGOTS vs small bigots. They should jointly fight on corruption instead. [bigot;a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief or opinion]