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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hadi visits church, declares arson attacks 'un-Islamic' - Malaysiakini

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has strongly condemned yesterday's arson attacks on three churches in the Klang Valley as “un-Islamic”.

hadi awang visits Metro Tabernacle ChurchThe hardline Muslim cleric told reporters that the firebombing of the churches were "senseless", after inspecting the damage at the Metro Tabernacle Church in Wangsa Maju this afternoon.

"Even in war, Muslims are forbidden from desecrating places of worships, what more now when we are living in peace," he said.

"I don't know if these people (the perpetrators) perform prayers," added Abdul Hadi, who was accompanied by his deputy, Nasharuddin Mat Isa.

Hadi was among several Pakatan Rakyat leaders who have visited the worst of the three arson sites in the wake of the attacks.

NONEThe administrative office of the church, located on the ground floor of the three-storey building, has been completely scorched, but the damage was so extensive that the entire building is rendered unusable.

Abdul Hadi's visit precedes the visit by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, scheduled at 5pm, whose party Umno has been blamed for fanning religious flames over last week's court decision to allow Catholic weekly The Herald to use the term 'Allah' in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

'Arrest the culprits'

Soon after Abdul Hadi's brief visit, PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Hassan and former MCA deputy president turned PKR leader Chua Jui Meng arrived at the scene.

Like the PAS president before them, the duo were given a tour of the destruction by senior pastor Rev Ong Sek Leang.

Metro Tabernacle Church nasruddin hassan chua jui meng"This is cruel, the person responsible is inhumane and clearly not religious," Nasruddin (photo, centre) told reporters later.

Nasruddin said he had issued a statement yesterday to "disagree" with the arson attack, but after visiting the site, he now "strongly condemns" the act.

Both he and Hadi urged the authorities to act swiftly and apprehend those responsible.

Earlier this morning, MCA president and Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat visited the site and pledged to use his powers to help the church.

"This Sunday, the congregation would be using the San Choon Hall (at the MCA headquarters) for its Sunday service. We are mindful of other forms of assistance (they require)," he said.

Ong, a devout Buddhist, said he would assist the church in their attempt to relocate to Batu Caves and is even willing to help with fund raising.

½ Million Indians not registered as voters.

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As of December, 4.38 Million Malaysians had not registered as voters says SPR Deputy Chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar. From this we estimate that about 15% or ½ Million Indians are not registered voters. (UM 24/12/09 at page 4). If we see the chart below the states with the highest Indian population ie Selangor, Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah and Johor are the top six states where voters have not registered.

We hereby call upon all voters attaining age 21 and the others in the other constituencies for the start to register at our following targeted state constituencies which also has the highest number of Indian voters.

1) Lunas, Kedah

2) Perai, Pulau Pinang

3) Buntong, Perak

4) Sri Andalas, Selangor

5) Tanah Rata, Pahang

6) Tiram, Johor Baru

This will be Plan A of HRP’s Indian political empowerment strategy which eventually targets 15 Parliamentary and 38 seats.

Mandorism is reigning supreme in both UMNO/BN and PKR, DAP and PAS. Wherein short in exchange for personal gains for themselves and their cronies they compromise even on the very fundamental and basic rights of the Indians which we have been highlighting on an almost daily basis in this our website.

This Indian political empowerment strategy is our only may forward and our only hope. Even at this juveture, give me another workable solution to the critical Indian problems and I am prepared to abandon this political.

P. Uthayakumar.

half-million

Felda’s 70 Community Broadband Centres Indians excluded.

72 new Community Broadband Centres (CBC) have been planned at the Felda Schemes nationalwide (NST 1/1/2010 at page 20 – Felda Supplement) The existing centre at Felda Lubuk Merbau, the 14th CBC centre is manned by a manager and is equipped with 15 computers, scanners and printers.

But the Indians are almost completely excluded from this UMNO out reach programme for the poor. Why? Aren’t the poor and working class Indians not Malaysians enough to also benefit from this scheme?

This only happens in PM Najib’s One Malay-sian

S.JAYATHAS

HRP Information Chief

felda-70-community

Sabah politician sees fire bombings as the end game

The federal government can longer bank on solid returns from the Christian electoral fixed deposits in Sabah and Sarawak in the wake of yesterday’s arson attacks on churches in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

desa melawati church firebomb allah issue 2There are parallels in the church fire-bombings and the temple demolishing that preceded the 2008 political tsunami in peninsular Malaysia,” said Jeffrey Kitingan, the Pakatan Rakyat head for the two states, in an exclusive interview yesterday evening with Malaysiakini in Kota Kinabalu.

Jeffrey is also convinced that Chinese voters, not just the Christians, and many god-fearing Muslims as well in East Malaysia will abandon Umno in the next General Elections.
He dismisses BN (Barisan Nasional) which, according to him, has ceased to exist following the emergence of the Pakatan Rakyat.

“It is bad enough that the Customs are sitting on our Bahasa Indonesia language Bibles for using the word Allah,” said Jeffrey.He added that the arson incidents could erase all doubts among the community.

Jeffrey, also responsible for strategies in Sabah and Sarawak as PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) national vice-president, thinks that even the debate in the courts over the term Allah had not been enough so far to budge the rural vote bank from Umno’s vice-like grip.

“I am more a man of the intellect rather than the heart and emotions,” he confessed.

“But even I was emotionally moved beyond words when I first saw the graphic pictures of the church fire-bombings in peninsular Malaysia. Tears welled up in my eyes for the first time since my detention under the ISA (Internal Security Act).”

Hindraf example for E. Malayasia

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The Sabah strongman thinks those pictures will have a devastating effect in the rural heartland of East Malaysia.

He does not deny that local politicians will not be averse to embellishing stories of the incidents, actual and rumoured, with their own versions.

This is what happened among Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Front) activists in the wake of temple demolishing, he added. “Indian voters were stirred in the 67 parliamentary seats where they are in some numbers.”

NONEJeffrey (left) does not think the arson attacks were isolated incidents which could be excused as the work of “some cowards or fanatics”.

He’s convinced the Umno Government’s handling of the Allah issue was the inspiration and the clearest evidence that “the party is up to no good in the emerging new politics of the nation”.

“I think that there are certain elements in Umno who have this thinking that when it comes to the crunch, they must be willing to employ strong-arm tactics to remain in power,” said Jeffrey.

“This means deliberately embarking on a campaign of intimidation and instilling fear to beat others into submission.”

“It is ironic that people in peninsular Malaysia would demonstrate over us in far away Sabah and Sarawak using the term Allah for God in our Bible and prayers,” said Jeffrey.

And God had rested for three centuries….

“Allah is not an issue among the Christian community in peninsular Malaysia but among us on this side of the South China Sea. By what right do people in the peninsular decide, after 300 years, what we call our God?”

He cited a surah (chapter 29, verse 46) from the Holy Quran: “. . . and do not debate with the people of the book (Christians and Jews) except with decorum, except those who are belligerent among them, and say to them we believe in the books/scriptures that had been brought to us and unto thee; my God and your God is one; and only to Him do we submit.”

He gives this as an example of Islam the Faith as practiced by fellow-PR partner PAS unlike the Islam the Politics propagated by Umno.

Jeffrey reiterated that the demonstrations and the church fire-bombings were politically-motivated and well-organised acts “designed to intimidate the people of Sabah and Sarawak into total submission”.

Prime Minister Najib and his cousin Hishammudin (Home Minister) were literally encouraging the demonstrators, he added.

Raw deal sentiment growing stronger

“It’s becoming increasingly clear with each passing year to Sabah and Sarawak that this Malaysia has been a raw deal for us,” said Jeffrey.

“It’s not just peninsular Malaysian intimidation of us over the Allah issue. We are in fact coming to the tail-end of nearly 50 years of neo-colonialist exploitation.”

The veteran Sabah politician, long noted for his campaign for autonomy and state rights, sees Umno as being unable to redeem itself after having inherited the mantle of power from the departing British colonialists.

“After 50 years, surely we have to ask ourselves whether we still want a party which is no better than the British colonialists. Where is our freedom?” asked Jeffrey.

“They indulge in divide-and-rule tactics like the British, treat us like slaves, are trying to introduce racial polarization a la Malaya and exploit our resources without developing our states.”

Jeffrey points out that he does not want to “sound like a broken record stuck in the same groove” by reciting the litany of Federal Government transgressions in Sabah and Sarawak besides the Allah issue.

“Mark my words. Umno is bent on systematically creating political chaos in the country to save itself out of the hole it had dug itself into over the years,” warned Jeffrey.

“Everyone is beginning to see the hollowness of Prime Minister Najib’s so-called 1Malaysia

MMC files formal charges against Doctor who did first Autopsy on Kugan. The Doctor cleared by the DG of MOH Ismail Marican

The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) will file a formal charge against forensics expert Dr Abdul Karim Tajudin of Hospital Serdang who conducted the first post-mortem on deceased police detainee A Kugan.

Lawyer N Surendran, who is representing Kugan’s family, told Malaysiakini that the MMC held an inquiry yesterday and Kugan case 020709 05cross-examined the deceased’s mother M Indra (left) on the complaint against Abdul Karim for professional misconduct.

“They felt that there was substance in the complaint and decided to file a formal charge against him,” he said.

The complaint was lodged March last year urging for an independent investigation to probe why there were significant differences in the first and second post-mortem procedures conducted on Kugan.

Indra also lodged a police report against Serdang Hospital and the pathologist after the results of the second post-mortem revealed that Kugan had died from kidney failure due to severe beating.

Abdul Karim had attributed Kugan’s death to fluid accumulation in the lungs.

The family, who suspected foul play due to the bruises on the deceased’s body, commissioned a second post-mortem, which was carried out by by Dr Prashant N Samberkar of Universiti Malaya Medical Centre.

Attempt to cover up?’

Surendran said MMC’s preliminary investigations committee, headed by Dr Megat Buhainuddin Abdul Rahman, is expected to file the charges soon.

“The inquiry committee took evidence and cross-examined all those involved and came to the decision after having considered all evidence,” he added.

hindraf probed by police 141008 surendranAccording to Surendran (right), the issue has now taken a more serious turn as there could have been an attempt to cover-up the real cause of Kugan’s death.

Speaking on the behalf Indra, Surendran said that she is happy with the committee’s findings and decision.

If found guilty, Abdul Karim’s practising license could be suspended or revoked.

Kugan had died on Jan 20 at the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya, five days after he was arrested in connection with the theft of luxury cars.

pa010039

50 acres of goat farms denied to Indian goat farmers.

Mohd Zainuri was give a 50 acre land and loans by the Malay-sian UMNO government to open up an Agro goat and cow farm & Resort in Kampong Chuar Hulu, Kati, Kuala Kangsar. He also has a 50 acre farm in Perlis and intends to open up a few more farms in Pahang and Negeri Sembilan. He has now branched open up a steak restaurant in Subang Jaya (UM Mega Fokus 1/1/2010 at page 2). But these opportunities and upward mobility opportunities would not be given to the Indians even bearing in mind that Malaysia imports 90% of it’s dairy milk, 90% of it’s mutton and 75% of it’s beef (UM 8/3/09). And in the 2010 national Budget RM 6 Billion has been allocated for food production.

But all these government sponsored programmes and projects does not reach to the Indians at all or at least not that we know of.

Even despite our official letter to the Prime Minister and dated 14/12/09 in the case of cattle farmer Shanmugam requesting for 50 acres of grazing and for this letter check website on 14/12/09) we are yet to receive an official reply. And the authorities have given notice to demolish Shanmugam’s cow farm in Sentul at any time from now.

If this, can happen to Shanmugam despite our letter to the PM what more the thousands of other Indian goat and cattle farmers.

But then this is Prime Minister’s UMNO, One Malay-sia.

P. Uthayakumar

50-acres2

Below HRP P.Uthayakumar visits Shanmugam at his farm at Sentul

sentul-cow-farmer-12

What's next after church attacks in Malaysia?

He could lose votes in the states of Sabah and Sarawak which have larger Christian populations. Sarawak has 31 MPs and Sabah 25, home to just two opposition MPs. The government has 137 seats in a 222-member parliament.
By Niluksi Koswanage, Reuters

Malaysian Muslims rallied on Friday to protest against Christians using the word "Allah" for God after a spate of attacks on churches which threatened to stoke racial and religious tensions.

Following are some questions and answers on what lies ahead in this majority Muslim Southeast Asian country of 28 million.

IS THERE A RISK OF ETHNIC CLASHES?

The risk is small but analysts do not discount tensions coming to a boil between the majority Malays who are Muslim and ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who practice a range of faiths such as Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism.

It mostly depends on whether Prime Minister Najib Razak's government comes down hard on the arsonists who attacked the churches. Usually at any sign of trouble the government uses the Internal Security Act that allows detention without trial.

The government says the attacks have been carried out by disaffected or criminal youths and that they are not coordinated.

What may hold back ethnic clashes is the memory of the bloody 1969 riots that divided the country.

Protests on Friday at mosques against the non-Muslim use of the word Allah have been peaceful although the language on banners and speeches suggests growing anger.

ARE RELIGIOUS TENSIONS IN MALAYSIA AN INVESTMENT RISK?

After the arson attempts against the churches, possibly. Religious disputes are a risk mostly in their potential to increase ethnic tensions, making it important for investors to see how the government handles the issue.

Investors have been avoiding Malaysia due to the lacklustre government of Najib's predecessor and Najib is working hard to implement economic reforms to win back investment.

Malaysia was one of the worst-performing stock markets in Asia in 2009, ranked fourth from the bottom. Malaysia's benchmark share index rose 45 percent in 2009.

During a meeting with investors in New York last year, Najib was asked about the government's stand over the caning sentence meted out to a Muslim woman for drinking beer under rarely-enforced Islamic criminal laws.

An escalation of religious tensions in Malaysia could weaken Najib's ability to push through economic reforms.

WHAT COULD HAVE SPARKED THE PROTESTS, CHURCH ATTACKS?

The issue stems from a Malaysian Catholic newspaper's successful legal bid last week to overturn a government ban against the paper's use of the word "Allah" to describe the Christian God in its Malay language edition.

Their argument is that use of the word Allah has been common among non-English speaking Malaysian Christians in the Borneo island states of Sabah and Sarawak for decades.

The government since has obtained a stay of execution on the judgment this week amid growing Malay-Muslim anger. The case is also before the Appeal's court and the verdict there can still be challenged at the Federal Court, Malaysia's top court.

It is illegal for non-Muslims to proselytise to Muslims but freedom of worship for the mainly Buddhist, Christian and Hindu religious minorities, who make up 40 percent of the country's population, is guaranteed under the constitution.

WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT'S STANCE?

The coalition, which ruled Malaysia for 52 years, suffered its worst-ever setbacks in national and state elections in 2008 after being abandoned by non-Malays in part due to unease over an increasing Islamisation.

Religious tensions will jeopardise Prime Minister Najib Razak's ability to win back ethnic Chinese and Indian voters in the next general election, which must be held by 2013. The opposition and some political commentators say that Najib failed to show leadership on the church issue.

He could lose votes in the states of Sabah and Sarawak which have larger Christian populations. Sarawak has 31 MPs and Sabah 25, home to just two opposition MPs. The government has 137 seats in a 222-member parliament.

AND THE OPPOSITION?

The three-party opposition People's Alliance led by former Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim is regarded as having played the religious row much more skilfully than the government.

While stressing its Muslim credentials, the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has appealed for tolerance as has Anwar. PAS has also managed to keep its Islamic credentials intact.

(Reporting by Razak Ahmad, Niluksi Koswanage and Soo Ai Peng; Editing by David Chance and Sugita Katyal)

Najib 1 Malaysia fails once again

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life adviser

UMNO LED OPPOSITION TO THE USE OF ALLAH BY CHRISTIANS IN MALAYSIA, IS AGAINST WORLD MUSLIM OPINION AND WILL BACKFIRE ON THE PROMOTION OF 1 MALAYSIA REFORMS OF THE PRIME MINISTER.

PM Najib open support for UMNO’s retrogressive stand against the use of Allah by Christians, shows that his 1 Malaysia so called reforms for a multicultural society with religious freedom will once again fail to deliver his promises to the people.

Firstly, the majority of world muslims, including muslim Arabs, muslim Africans, muslim Indonesians, and muslim Malaysians have no problem with the use of Allah by christians living amidst them for centuries.

So why is the Home ministry objecting to the use of Allah by christians in Malaysia.

According to YB Bernard Dompoh, he disclosed that christian indigenous peoples of Sarawak and Sabah have been calling God ‘Allah’ for a century or more, long before the independence of Malaysia and before UMNO was formed.

The Federal Constitution contains articles which permit the use of Allah by people of the christian faith. a judgment to this effect was made by the high court judge.

UMNO and its supporters have opposed this judgment and are organising protest rallies against it.

It looks like that UMNO’s stand against the use of Allah by christians is contrary to the thinking and practices by muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Indonesia.

It is even more astonishing to see that PM Najib and his government are supporting the stand of UMNO, and by doing so the PM has gone back on his word to build a 1 Malaysia where all Malaysians are given equal opportunities and where there is freedom of religion and the people can practice their beliefs without any restrictions.

PM Najib cannot deny the undeniable. He, his home minister, the IGP and the the Police have openly supported the demonstrations against the use of Allah by christians by UMNO and Umno NGOs. This is in sharp contrast to the attitude of using force against demonstrations organised by the opposition.

Yesterday, the Police protected UMNO protesters in their demonstrations, and gave them special kid glove treatment. There was no arrest, no water spraying and no police battering with trunches. This is in sharp contrast to the treatment of protesters involved in opposition rallies, who were beaten, battered and arrested without rhyme or reason.

The display of open discrimination by Najib’ government, and by the IGP and his police personnel is an open admission that it is UMNO that is power behind the the prime minister and that Umno calls the shots.

It confirms that 1 Malaysia is nothing more than a political gimmick to fool the people into thinking that the new government will bring reforms for the people.

PM Najib open support for UMNO’s repressive policies will bring bring serious consequences. He is going against world opinion of both the christian and muslim world.

Foreign investors will view the developments with displeasure, and this will cause FDIs (foreign direct investments: to fall further Economic development will slow and the country will remain poor like the banana republics.

Church bombings the work of demons

By Azly Rahman

Peace, mercy, and blessings to all Malaysians.
My heart goes to those affected by the recent bombings. Today’s ‘World Briefing’ section of The New York Times carried the news.

The three attacks on the churches are terrorist attacks by definition. Thus begin a rough period of turmoil ahead beginning with the blowing up of the French-speaking Mongolian translator for Malaysia’s arms dealings. Violence, Machiavellian-styled will be the order of the day — we have entered a period of the emergence of demons and demolition. I hope these are not the work of those out to create chaos; in view that the current regime is losing power and seriously challenged by the growing strength of the emergent alternative government. The ends justify the means. Violence is the means and the end as well. While physical violence is the means to cling on to power, structural or the unseen/hidden/structural violence is the goal of the State.

We are entering “into interesting times,” as Mao Zedong would say. You and I are part of the game – in the Malaysian matrix of complexities.

The immediate reaction for all of us should be to condemn these terrorist attacks, so that God forbids, when and if masjids, or and other houses of worship are being bombed, non-Muslim friends of ours will come to console us and help become vigilantes. Terror has no face, nor religious affiliation. Terrorists need to be smoked out of their holes and their hiding places. Organizations supporting them must be exposed and brought to justice.

Malaysians of all faiths must be united in condemning these terrorist acts. All NGOs must issue a statement on this. These demons need to be incarcerated and the culture of “demolitions in Malaysian politics” need to be destroyed.

God forbids any of your loved ones were nearby during the morning explosions.

I see this development as a consequence of race-politics, mass panic over a plausibly positive outcome of the next general election, and the implosion happening like a nuclear fission in the concept of Ketuanan Melayu. I have written quite extensively on the pathology of Malay-Muslim extremism. I hope the bombings are not a prelude to the creation of Malaysian suicide bombers. It will be a shame for a peaceful country such as Malaysia to be relegated to be a “Travel Advisory” country as defined by the US State Department.

Democracy in Malaysia is almost dead with the recent happenings. The government is powerless in face of this– should have stopped those rallies and should have monitored the growth of hate-based NGOs, especially those championing idiotic pride.

Where are we going? What will happen to the future generation of Malaysians as we try to teach tolerance? What then must we do? How do we dismantle all these race-based parties that are using religion to create chaos and destruction? Is the country still safe — or is Malaysia turning into a Pakistan — out of our own Talibanization of ideas? “1Malaysia” is now “1Scary Malaysia”

We must speak up for peace and justice for all, and encourage others to leave organizations that are entrenched in racial and religious hatred. We must console the Christians and Catholics affected by the bombings and address their fear, assuring that the bombings are done not by rational Muslims but by demons on Mat Rempit bikes.

I suggest Malaysians offer donations for the rebuilding of those churches. For me, I offer this piece of writing.

May the Universal God of Humanity grant us Mercy and Compassion in dealing with demons and demolitions. We will be strong, as a nation.

Ringing condemnation from 113 NGOs, parties

More than a hundred (113 at noon) civil society groups and several political parties have come out to strongly condemn the attempted arson attacks against three churches following the controversy over the use of the word Allah.

They issued the statement here at a joint press conference held at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall this afternoon.

The condemnation comes in the wake of an attack on a fourth church. Rev Hermen Shastri, the General Secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, says he has been informed that the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in PJ old town has been fire-bombed sometime between last night and this morning.

“Police report made and police investigating. Fire bomb missed window and minor damage,” he said in a text message.

Allah name in the Christians Bible

Allah - the Moon God

The Archeology of The Middle East (http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/moongod.htm)

The religion of Islam has as its focus of worship a deity by the name of "Allah." The Muslims claim that Allah in pre-Islamic times was the biblical God of the Patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. The issue is thus one of continuity. Was "Allah" the biblical God or a pagan god in Arabia during pre- Islamic times? The Muslim's claim of continuity is essential to their attempt to convert Jews and Christians for if "Allah" is part of the flow of divine revelation in Scripture, then it is the next step in biblical religion. Thus we should all become Muslims. But, on the other hand, if Allah was a pre- Islamic pagan deity, then its core claim is refuted. Religious claims often fall before the results of hard sciences such as archeology. We can endlessly speculate about the past or go and dig it up and see what the evidence reveals. This is the only way to find out the truth concerning the origins of Allah. As we shall see, the hard evidence demonstrates that the god Allah was a pagan deity. In fact, he was the Moon-god who was married to the sun goddess and the stars were his daughters.



The reader must know that Ismael was a Hebrew.

Archaeologists have uncovered temples to the Moon-god throughout the Middle East. From the mountains of Turkey to the banks of the Nile, the most wide-spread religion of the ancient world was the worship of the Moon-god. In the first literate civilization, the Sumerians have left us thousands of clay tablets in which they described their religious beliefs. As demonstrated by Sjoberg and Hall, the ancient Sumerians worshipped a Moon-god who was called many different names. The most popular names were Nanna, Suen and Asimbabbar. His symbol was the crescent moon. Given the amount of artifacts concerning the worship of this Moon-god, it is clear that this was the dominant religion in Sumeria. The cult of the Moon-god was the most popular religion throughout ancient Mesopotamia. The Assyrians, Babylonians, and the Akkadians took the word Suen and transformed it into the word Sin as their favorite name for the Moon-god. As Prof. Potts pointed out, "Sin is a name essentially Sumerian in origin which had been borrowed by the Semites. "

In ancient Syria and Canna, the Moon-god Sin was usually represented by the moon in its crescent phase. At times the full moon was placed inside the crescent moon to emphasize all the phases of the moon. The sun-goddess was the wife of Sin and the stars were their daughters. For example, Istar was a daughter of Sin. Sacrifices to the Moon-god are described in the Pas Shamra texts. In the Ugaritic texts, the Moon-god was sometimes called Kusuh. In Persia, as well as in Egypt, the Moon- god is depicted on wall murals and on the heads of statues. He was the Judge of men and gods. The Old Testament constantly rebuked the worship of the Moon-god (see: Deut. 4:19;17:3; II Kngs. 21:3,5; 23:5; Jer. 8:2; 19:13; Zeph. 1:5, etc.) When Israel fell into idolatry, it was usually the cult of the Moon-god. As a matter of fact, everywhere in the ancient world, the symbol of the crescent moon can be found on seal impressions, steles, pottery, amulets, clay tablets, cylinders, weights, earrings, necklaces, wall murals, etc. In Tell-el-Obeid, a copper calf was found with a crescent moon on its forehead. An idol with the body of a bull and the head of man has a crescent moon inlaid on its forehead with shells. In Ur, the Stela of Ur-Nammu has the crescent symbol placed at the top of the register of gods because the Moon-god was the head of the gods. Even bread was baked in the form of a crescent as an act of devotion to the Moon-god. The Ur of the Chaldees was so devoted to the Moon-god that it was sometimes called Nannar in tablets from that time period.

A temple of the Moon-god has been excavated in Ur by Sir Leonard Woolley. He dug up many examples of moon worship in Ur and these are displayed in the British Museum to this day. Harran was likewise noted for its devotion to the Moon-god. In the 1950's a major temple to the Moon-god was excavated at Hazer in Palestine. Two idols of the moon god were found. Each was a stature of a man sitting upon a throne with a crescent moon carved on his chest . The accompanying inscriptions make it clear that these were idols of the Moon-god. Several smaller statues were also found which were identified by their inscriptions as the "daughters" of the Moon-god. What about Arabia? As pointed out by Prof. Coon, "Muslims are notoriously loath to preserve traditions of earlier paganism and like to garble what pre-Islamic history they permit to survive in anachronistic terms."

During the nineteenth century, Amaud, Halevy and Glaser went to Southern Arabia and dug up thousands of Sabean, Minaean, and Qatabanian inscriptions which were subsequently translated. In the 1940's, the archeologists G. Caton Thompson and Carleton S. Coon made some amazing discoveries in Arabia. During the 1950's, Wendell Phillips, W.F. Albright, Richard Bower and others excavated sites at Qataban, Timna, and Marib (the ancient capital of Sheba). Thousands of inscriptions from walls and rocks in Northern Arabia have also been collected. Reliefs and votive bowls used in worship of the "daughters of Allah" have also been discovered. The three daughters, al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat are sometimes depicted together with Allah the Moon-god represented by a crescent moon above them. The archeological evidence demonstrates that the dominant religion of Arabia was the cult of the Moon-god.

In Old Testament times, Nabonidus (555-539 BC), the last king of Babylon, built Tayma, Arabia as a center of Moon-god worship. Segall stated, "South Arabia's stellar religion has always been dominated by the Moon-god in various variations." Many scholars have also noticed that the Moon-god's name "Sin" is a part of such Arabic words as "Sinai," the "wilderness of Sin," etc. When the popularity of the Moon-god waned elsewhere, the Arabs remained true to their conviction that the Moon-god was the greatest of all gods. While they worshipped 360 gods at the Kabah in Mecca, the Moon-god was the chief deity. Mecca was in fact built as a shrine for the Moon-god.

This is what made it the most sacred site of Arabian paganism. In 1944, G. Caton Thompson revealed in her book, The Tombs and Moon Temple of Hureidha, that she had uncovered a temple of the Moon-god in southern Arabia. The symbols of the crescent moon and no less than twenty-one inscriptions with the name Sin were found in this temple. An idol which may be the Moon-god himself was also discovered. This was later confirmed by other well-known archeologists.

The evidence reveals that the temple of the Moon-god was active even in the Christian era. Evidence gathered from both North and South Arabia demonstrate that Moon-god worship was clearly active even in Muhammad's day and was still the dominant cult. According to numerous inscriptions, while the name of the Moon-god was Sin, his title was al- ilah, i.e. "the deity," meaning that he was the chief or high god among the gods. As Coon pointed out, "The god Il or Ilah was originally a phase of the Moon God." The Moon-god was called al- ilah, i.e. the god, which was shortened to Allah in pre-Islamic times. The pagan Arabs even used Allah in the names they gave to their children. For example, both Muhammad's father and uncle had Allah as part of their names.

The fact that they were given such names by their pagan parents proves that Allah was the title for the Moon-god even in Muhammad's day. Prof. Coon goes on to say, "Similarly, under Mohammed's tutelage, the relatively anonymous Ilah, became Al-Ilah, The God, or Allah, the Supreme Being."

This fact answers the questions, "Why is Allah never defined in the Qur'an? Why did Muhammad assume that the pagan Arabs already knew who Allah was?" Muhammad was raised in the religion of the Moon-god Allah. But he went one step further than his fellow pagan Arabs. While they believed that Allah, i.e. the Moon-god, was the greatest of all gods and the supreme deity in a pantheon of deities, Muhammad decided that Allah was not only the greatest god but the only god.

In effect he said, "Look, you already believe that the Moon-god Allah is the greatest of all gods. All I want you to do is to accept that the idea that he is the only god. I am not taking away the Allah you already worship. I am only taking away his wife and his daughters and all the other gods." This is seen from the fact that the first point of the Muslim creed is not, "Allah is great" but "Allah is the greatest," i.e., he is the greatest among the gods. Why would Muhammad say that Allah is the "greatest" except in a polytheistic context? The Arabic word is used to contrast the greater from the lesser. That this is true is seen from the fact that the pagan Arabs never accused Muhammad of preaching a different Allah than the one they already worshipped. This "Allah" was the Moon-god according to the archeological evidence. Muhammad thus attempted to have it both ways. To the pagans, he said that he still believed in the Moon-god Allah. To the Jews and the Christians, he said that Allah was their God too. But both the Jews and the Christians knew better and that is why they rejected his god Allah as a false god.

Al-Kindi, one of the early Christian apologists against Islam, pointed out that Islam and its god Allah did not come from the Bible but from the paganism of the Sabeans. They did not worship the God of the Bible but the Moon-god and his daughters al-Uzza, al-Lat and Manat. Dr. Newman concludes his study of the early Christian-Muslim debates by stating, "Islam proved itself to be...a separate and antagonistic religion which had sprung up from idolatry." Islamic scholar Caesar Farah concluded "There is no reason, therefore, to accept the idea that Allah passed to the Muslims from the Christians and Jews." The Arabs worshipped the Moon-god as a supreme deity. But this was not biblical monotheism. While the Moon-god was greater than all other gods and goddesses, this was still a polytheistic pantheon of deities. Now that we have the actual idols of the Moon-god, it is no longer possible to avoid the fact that Allah was a pagan god in pre-Islamic times. Is it any wonder then that the symbol of Islam is the crescent moon? That a crescent moon sits on top of their mosques and minarets? That a crescent moon is found on the flags of Islamic nations? That the Muslims fast during the month which begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon in the sky?

CONCLUSION

The pagan Arabs worshipped the Moon-god Allah by praying toward Mecca several times a day; making a pilgrimage to Mecca; running around the temple of the Moon-god called the Kabah; kissing the black stone; killing an animal in sacrifice to the Moon-god; throwing stones at the devil; fasting for the month which begins and ends with the crescent moon; giving alms to the poor, etc.

The Muslim's claim that Allah is the God of the Bible and that Islam arose from the religion of the prophets and apostles is refuted by solid, overwhelming archeological evidence. Islam is nothing more than a revival of the ancient Moon-god cult. It has taken the symbols, the rites, the ceremonies, and even the name of its god from the ancient pagan religion of the Moon-god. As such, it is sheer idolatry and must be rejected by all those who follow the Torah and Gospel. moongod.htm

Further information: thoroughly study the links in this file and also in The Cult of the Moon God The Vatican and Islam

Malaysia: Churches firebombed amid Allah dispute

(CNN) -- Attackers firebombed three churches in the southeast Asian nation of Malaysia overnight, assaults that come amid widespread Muslim ire over a court ruling that allowed Christians to use the word Allah as a term for God.

Malaysian news reports said no casualties have been reported, and police have promised to step up security for churches and other places of worship.

But the acts stirred unease in the diverse society -- where 60 percent of the people are Muslim, 19 percent are Buddhist, 9 percent are Christian and 6 percent are Hindu.

"We regret the irresponsible actions of certain extremist elements for the recent spate of firebombs thrown into church premises. These actions display their immaturity and intolerance toward others within a multi-racial society," the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia said in a statement.

The violence comes as Muslims protest a recent court ruling that allowed a Catholic newspaper to use the word "Allah" for God. Muslims believe Allah, an Arabic word, should only be used by Muslims. A stay has been placed on the order on the grounds of national interest.

Muslims took to the streets Friday to protest the use of the word by non-Muslims, and authorities such as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called for the matter to be resolved in court amicably and expressed hope the protests don't deteriorate.

"We should not raise the tension level in this country," he said Thursday, as quoted by Bernama, the Malaysian National News Agency.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia's head of state, on Friday called for calm and the spirit of unity, according to a Bernama report.

The three churches attacked were in the Kuala Lumpur region. They are the Metro Tabernacle Church, the Assumption Church and the Life Chapel. The attacks occurred late Thursday night and early Friday.

Marina: Losing the moral high ground

Khairy: 'A sad day for Malaysia'

Herald issue protest at Masjid Negara

'Allah' issue protest in Kampung Baru

Third front can empower the people

A third political coalition would be an exciting prospect for the growth of democracy in the nation, said a local academician.

sivamurugan pandian 210508Hailing it as a “good, progressive idea”, academic Sivamurugan Pandian (left) said a third force would ensure that the people have a viable choice among three political coalitions, unlike now.

This was in contrast with the current situation where there were only two choices: Barisan Nasional or the opposition Pakatan Rakyat.

“A third force with a different common agenda would give (the people) realistic political choices.

“This would mature the country's democracy,” the lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) told Malaysiakini today.

Sivamurugan said a third force would naturally provide a practical and forceful check and balance among all existing political blocks.

It could actually cater for the political aspirations and socio-economic needs of voters who rejected both BN and Pakatan.

He claimed that at least 30 percent of voters, made of mainly civil society groups, human rights organisations, urban middle and lower-middle income groups, would support the third front.

“These voters don't have political allegiance to any party and would welcome alternate political ideas.

“They are mostly cyber-savvy, thus fully aware of the goings-on in the country” he said.

The real kingmakers

The academician said the pendulum swing among these voters were the main reason for the political change in the 2008 general election.

NONE“If the third political coalition could layout and work on a common agenda, albeit differently from BN and Pakatan, it could become a formidable front.

'It should also steer clear from pseudo-religious and ethnic-centric politics,” said Sivamurugan.

A third force is a common phenomena in most democracies globally.

Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), though claiming to be Pakatan-friendly independent parties, have not dismissed the idea of forming a third force.

PSM president Mohd Nasir Hashim (below right) said a third political force could emerge if people were unhappy with existing political blocks, which would provide the voters another choice.

jerit ride for change campaign shah alam event 171208 nasirPRM vice-president Gary Nair hinted that the third force could well be a hybrid organisation, quasi-political and also non-political, sharing a common political and socio-economy agenda different than others.

He said PRM currently had been exploring all ways and means to forge close ties with the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and its political wing, Human Rights Party (HRP), minority ethnic political groups and civil rights movements.

Sivamurugan said high public interest in the last general election clearly showed politics was no longer the sole property of politicians.

He said the people, especially civil society groups and the human rights movement, wanted to share political power and decision-making power with politicians.

“They no longer want to be bystanders,” he said.

He lamented however, that like BN, Pakatan, which rode on a popular political wave to electoral success, has yet to fulfill public demands for a change in political governance and approach.

“Like BN, Pakatan too focuses mainly on macro, not micro, issues,” he said.

The deputy dean from USM's school of social sciences said the third front could well be a viable political block if it could focus its attention on bread and butter issues.

NONEHe cited crime, employment, living costs, affordable housing and public transport among issues that affect people's lives daily.

“The third force's common agenda should focus on these issues,” he suggested.

If the third political block's setup and concept could cater to such common man aspirations, he added, it could give the other coalitions a run for their money.

Najib urged to be bold for Muslims' sake (Malaysiakini)

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has been urged to make a courageous stand to ensure that only Muslims in this country are entitled to use the term Allah.

In making this call, Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma) president Mohd Fazil William said the premier must act as Muslims feel threatened.

NONE"Najib should be bold to take immediate action to declare Allah is for Muslims only. If there is a need to amend the Federal Constitution to do this or any other existing laws then it should be done.

"If there is a loophole in the existing laws then patch it up," he stressed.

Fazil was speaking to reporters at the sidelines of a 10-minute protest held in the vicinity of Masjid Negara in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.

After the Friday prayers, hundreds gathered to vent their anger over the recent court ruling which allowed a Catholic weekly Herald to use the term Allah in its Bahasa Malaysia edition.

Fazil also said Kimma members who "numbered about one million" were standing together with other Muslims to protest the court decision.

Muslims must stand united

herald allah verdict protest masjid negara 080110 banner 05Meanwhile, Selangor Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) leader Arman Azha Abu Hanifah made an impassioned plea for Muslim unity, particularly among Malays.

"Because we are not united, they are challenging the dignity of Islam. So, lets stand as one and tackle this problem.

"Lets not have to hijrah once again," he said in reference to Prophet Muhammad's migration from Mecca to Medina to escape persecution.

Azman also raised doubts that the spate of arson attacks on churches were the work of those protesting the court decision.

"Are you sure this is our work? This is the question. Is this some sort of propaganda?... We Muslims believe in peace. We won't do anything that can cause uneasiness for the public.

"We Muslims believe in harmony and peace. We condemn whoever that did it," he said.

'We have no quarrels with Christians'

Also expressing dissatisfaction with the court ruling was Abdul Rashid Mohd Fadzil, leader of Islamic proselytization group Pekida.

herald allah verdict protest masjid negara 080110 protesters 03According to him, the fundamental problem was Herald's insistence on using the term Allah.

When told that Christians in Middle-Eastern and other countries have long used the word Allah to describe God, Abdul Rashid replied: "We are talking about Malaysia".

Abdul Rashid stressed that Muslims have no quarrels with Christians, but merely want exclusive rights to the word Allah as Catholics could use other terms such as "God", "Lord" or "Father".

Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz, chairperson of the Umno Youth media unit, was also present at the protest in his personal capacity.

He too was of the view that the use of Allah is exclusively for Muslims who had been using it for years.

"The church must respect this right and should not use Allah out of respect to Muslims," he said.

herald allah verdict protest masjid negara 080110 protesters 01Mohd Shukri Abdullah, advisor of Permuafakatan Ummah Council (Pewaris), clarified that the use of Allah by Christian Arabs was different to what is being practised here.

"As Allah is used to represent a single God for Muslims, it should not be used by the Christians here. It would add to more confusion and should stop," he said.

Mohd Shukri has urged Muslims to be united and steadfast in this action.

Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim (IRIM) Malaysia president Amir Hamzah Allipitchay also urged the government to make a stand.

"If the issue is prolonged, it would lead to unrest in the country. The country's leadership must take immediate steps to resolve it," he said.

Grand Imam in tears

Earlier, Grand Imam Ismail Muhammad in his sermon, authored by the Federal Islamic Development Department (Jakim), also addressed the issue.

He said that certain quarters are using Islamic terms and names with the purpose of fracturing the Islamic faith and to confuse Muslims.

To the surprise of many, Ismail broke down in tears when he recited the doa (prayers).

When the prayers ended, a group of NGO representatives took up loudhailers and began chanting slogans, punctuated with chants of 'Allahu Akhbar' (Allah is great) at the mosque entrance.

NONECalling themselves the Bantah Penggunaan Kalimah Allah movement - a coalition of at least 10 NGOs - the group came prepared with banners as well as a table to collect signatures for a protest petition.

"Today, we will tell them that we have given them rights and religious freedom. But know this, do not play with Islam," a spokesperson, who did not name himself, told the crowd.


Reporting by Andrew Ong, Hafiz Yatim, Jimadie Othman, Kuek Ser Kuang Keng and Vasugi Supramaniam.

Bonded Indian labourers in bahau - Latest case(Malaysiakini)

Teens escape the clutches of tyranny (Malaysiakini)
Teens escape the clutches of tyranny

Nineteen-year-old R Priya, given a new lease on life after being a slave for 14 years, is still apprehensive about her future.

Priya and her younger brother Guna, 16, who were entrusted to their guardians by their single parent, were put to hard labour when they were five and three respectively.

Their now deceased mother, unable to care for them, had little choice but to given them away at a tender age.

In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini, the siblings related the story of their “escape” from the clutches of their guardians in Bahau, Negeri Sembilan.

They were rescued by DAP member D Kamache from a friend’s home in Karak, Pahang where they had been taking refuge.

“Fourteen years ago my mother had left me with the couple and my nightmare had not ended since that day,” said Priya, when asked to describe her life with her guardians.

bahau child abuse 060110 priya Priya (right) was given daily household chores and when she became more capable was put to work at a small-scale glove factory owned by her guardians.”In the mornings we had to finish work at the factory and in the evenings, I had to finish the chores at home. Only then was I allowed to eat anything.

“From young I was forced to do housework all day long and beaten up if I refused to do as I was told,” she said, adding that both of them were not paid.

Priya and her brother Guna are illiterate and only able to converse in Tamil.

“My brother and I did not go school and although I asked them, I was not allowed to attend school,” said Priya.

Unable to hold back her tears, Priya blurted out that all she ever wanted was care and love from her caretakers.

Neighbours would sometimes reprimand her caretakers for beating and using abusive language on them, but that’s as far as they would go as Priya claimed that her guardians were ‘influential’ people.

“Last year, when I attempted to run away, I was caught. Once we got back to the house I was tied up in the bathroom and beaten with rattan cane,” she said.

She suffered a bloody head injury on that occasion, and instead of taking her to the hospital for treatment, her guardian placed coffee powder on the wound.

Priya said that she was never let out of their sight after the incident and kept confined to the home ever since.

Took rat-poison to escape torture

“I could not take it any more and I attempted suicide by consuming rat-poison to escape their torture,” she said tearfully.

However, Priya said she was forbidden to relate the incident to the doctors who had treated her and was forced to say that she had accidently consumed the lethal chemical.

bahau child abuse 060110 gunaHer brother Guna (left) was more fortunate. He escaped on Dec 11 with the help of a friend by hitch-hiking on a lorry travelling from Bahau to Bentong.

Guna, then with some help from some locals found his way to Kamache and recounted the torture both the siblings had undergone.

Kamache immediately lodged a police report in Bahau and Priya was brought to the police station with their guardians on Dec 28.

“When she came in and the cops were questioning her (Priya), she said everything was all right and their were well cared for by their guardians but it didn’t look like she was telling the truth,” said Kamache.

“I insisted that the police interrogate her in another room and assured her that she did not have to fear them and that she will not be sent back with them if she told the truth,” she said.

Only then did Priya relate her 14-year misery to the cops, according to Kamache. The guardian was then remanded for alleged child abuse and for not paying their wages.

A check with the police station in Bahau, revealed that the guardian had been released on police bail pending investigations.

According to the investigating officer, the police are still taking statements from Priya and Guna, as well as their custodians and neighbours.

Both teenagers are currently in the custody of Kamache as they have refused to be placed in the Welfare Department.

Priya, is now employed by a furniture outlet and is under the care of a family in Karak.

bahau child abuse 060110 kamacheMeanwhile, Kamache (right) has identified a foster home for Guna and is awaiting clearance from the Welfare Department.

“I want what is best for them… after the cruelty they have undergone, I just want to ensure that they are given a good life from now on,” said Kamache.

She also urged that the police complete their investigation soon as possible as there are other children under the custody of the same people.

IGP denies Kg Subang church attack and car-smashing in Bangsar

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani- The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 – IGP Tan Sri Musa Hasan denied reports of a church attack in Kampung Subang or cars being smashed in Bangsar that is linked to the ‘Allah’ ruling.

“He did not tell me so it did not happen,” he told reporters at Bukit Aman here.

There had been reports circulating in the city of such incidents which several media including The Malaysian Insider had earlier reported.

“I received an SMS today ... ‘Please remove any rosaries and religious articles in your car. They are smashing cars with Christians objects. There are protests going on in PJ, Shah Alam, and Bangsar.’

“It is a lie,” he stressed

Musa warned the public not to believe rumours from SMSes and the internet.

“If they have any questions, please contact the police. Do not believe the rumours,” he added.

Musa confirmed that there were three demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur, two in Pahang, four in Selangor and one in Terengganu.

“The duration of the protests was only 13 to 15 minutes and they dispersed when we asked them to ... so there were no street demonstrations.

“So since they have followed all the police requests, all of them have not been arrested,” he said.

He added that the situation was under control and there was “no untoward incidents happening.”

“I have also directed all CPOs in all states to do patrols and to monitor mosques and churches so we do not want any untoward incidents happening at the mosques or churches.

“We do not want people to blame one another later on. We will be monitoring the situation for the next two to three days,” he said.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein also warned the media not sensationalise the issue.

“I would like the co-operation of the media to actually come out with the right facts and information because there is so much disinformation out there and we are actually playing with fire.

“I hope that any parties that would like to exploit the issue and situation must always remember that they are playing with fire,” he said.

He also believes that the country will be able to cope with the current crisis.

“The challenges that we faced from independence, which is our diversity, are still our challenge ... that needs to be addressed with wisdom and courage.

“What needs to be done will be done,” he said.

Selangor CPO: Two more incidents in Selangor

(The Star) - A pastor was manhandled by four men before they vandalised a church in Ampang at around 6.30pm on Friday.

The men entered the Agape Revival Church located in a shoplot at Pandan Indah, Ampang and manhandled the priest before shoving him to the ground.

The assailants then proceeded to damage a microphone before tearing down posters in the church and leaving.

The police lodged a report on behalf of the pastor at the Pandan Indah police station.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Selangor an unidentified man walked into a chapel near Asam Jawa and advised the caretaker to be wary during this tense period before handing him a copy of the Quran.

It is learnt the incident occurred at about 6pm when the man met the Chapel Of Our Lady Of Good Health’s caretaker and passed him some advice meant for the parish priest.

He advised the chapel's parish priest to take precautions as it was possible the chapel could become a victim of attacks similar to churches in Kuala Lumpur.

Alan Pereira, the parish priest, said he took the man’s action in good faith and as a sign of friendship because the man had advised them to lock their gates and windows following the attacks made on other churches.

“This shows that not everyone is against us,” he added.

Police personnel who rushed to the scene, have recorded a statement from the caretaker.

Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar when contacted, confirmed both incidents.

He added they were confident in indentifying the person involved in the Kuala Selangor incident, who is believed to be a local.

“Although there was no threat in this case, we would like to record his statement to find out his true intentions,” Khalid said.

Four churches attacked - government powerless, says Najib

Najib Abdul Razak, Malaysia's prime minister, earlier said his government was powerless to stop the planned protests as long as protesters did not leave their mosques.

Al Jazeera

Four Christian churches in Malaysia have been attacked amid tensions over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims in the country.

Attackers threw a molotov cocktail which failed to ignite at a church in the state of Selangor on Friday afternoon, media reports said.

The incident comes hours after a petrol bomb was thrown at a church in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, as well as attackers trying to set another two ablaze in a nearby suburb.

Police also recieved reports of cars displaying Christian symbols having their windscreens smashed in the suburb of Bangsar.

Hishammuddin Hussein, the home minister, appealed for calm and moved to assure religious groups in the country that "they are safe".

"I take the events that happened last night very seriously," he said.

"We want to assure the public that this was not a co-ordinated and well-planned action."

Ruling suspended

A Malaysian court had last week overturned a government ban on non-Muslims using the word "Allah" in their literature, allowing Roman Catholic newsletter, theHerald, to use the term to refer to God in the Malay language.

The judge has since suspended the implementation of the ruling, after the government appealed and the Roman Catholic church agreed to the suspension.

Muslim groups held protests after prayers on Friday against the court overturning the "Allah" ban, despite a warning from Musa Hassan, the country's police chief, advising organisers to "let this be handled by the court" and that he "will take action against anyone who acts to jeopardise national security".

Muslims in Malaysia argue that the "Allah" is exclusive to Islam, and its use by Christians would confuse Muslims.

But Catholic church officials say that for Christian indigenous tribes in East Malaysia, who are the main readers of theHerald's Malay-language edition, "Allah" is the only word they have known for God for decades.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting outside a mosque in the suburb of Kampung Baru, said that protests were held within the mosque compound.

"There was a lively crowd, but not a huge one. Some of the protest organisers filed complaints to local officials over the use of the word Allah in Christian literature," he said.

Government powerless

Najib Abdul Razak, Malaysia's prime minister, earlier said his government was powerless to stop the planned protests as long as protesters did not leave their mosques.

Marina Mahathir, a board member of the Sisters in Islam organisation and the daughter of the former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, told Al Jazeera that many Malaysians are "deeply disappointed as to how this issue has been manipulated".

"This issue goes beyond words and debate. I think many do not understand aspects of this religion, which is why there has been a lot of misinformation going around," she said.

Fire in Friday's first incident gutted the administrative office on the first floor of the three-storey Metro Tabernacle church, shortly after midnight.

Mohamad Sabtu Osman, the Kuala Lumpur police chief, said a witness saw four people on two motorcycles breaking the glass front of the church and throwing an incendiary object inside before fleeing.

Molotov cocktails were believed to be thrown into the compounds of two other churches in Petaling Jaya, just outside Kuala Lumpur, before dawn on Friday.

The attacks on the Assumption church and the Life Chapel caused minor damage, officials said.

Osman said there were no fatalities in the attacks and police were investigating, but added that it was premature to link the attacks on the churches to protests by Muslim groups over last week's court ruling.

Heightened security

Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, said many churches had employed extra security guards amid protest threats as a precaution for fear that matters "may just blow up".

And police say they have stepped up security at churches nationwide following the attacks.

Musa, the police chief, said he had "instructed all patrol cars to patrol all church areas - we are monitoring all churches".

Najib, the prime minister, condemned the attacks "because they will destroy our country's harmony".

"The government will take whatever steps it can to prevent such acts," he said.

Salahuddin Ayub, a leader from the Islamic opposition party PAS, also condemned the attack, saying Islam does not allow followers to destroy houses of worship belonging to non-Muslims.

"Even during war, those who seek sanctuary in houses of worship cannot be killed or the buildings itself destroyed," he was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Insider website.

Azmi Sharom, a columnist and law professor at Universiti Malaya, told Al Jazeera that "the unrest is not surprising because of the fact that the government has been pandering to these kinds of people for a long time".

He said the government allowed some groups to protest when others were banned because the main ruling Umno party - which depends on the Malay/Muslim demographic to remain in power - was "unwilling to do anything which would seem to go against what they think is the Malay/Muslim desire".

"This is a noisy demographic and it is potentially dangerous for Umno to alienate them, so this will be a real test for Najib's administration," he said.

Churches in Malaysia bracing for further attacks

(Times Online) - Churches in Malaysia were bracing themselves for further attacks by Muslim protesters today, hours after two arson attacks, apparently provoked by a controversy over the use by Christians of the word Allah.

Police were increasing their patrols of areas around churches and Christian communities were hiring security guards, after a Protestant church in the capital Kuala Lumpur was set on fire by a petrol bomb in the early hours of the morning. Muslim organisations have promised street protests today over a court decision that would allow use of Allah as the Malaysian language term for the Christian God.

The word has been used for centuries in Malaysia, as well as by Christians in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Indonesia as the equivalent of the English word God. But many Malaysian Muslims in Malaysia, who make up 60 per cent of the population, say that the word Allah should be reserved to refer exclusively to the Muslim deity and that use of it in a Biblical context encourages conversion to Christianity, a crime under the country's Islamic laws.

The Herald, a Catholic newspaper published in Malaysian, won an appeal last week against a ruling that banned use of the word by non-Muslims. The judgment has been suspended in anticipation of an appeal by the Government, but it has already stirred up Muslim anger in a country with a particular dread of ethnic and racial confrontation.

The early-morning attack destroyed the first floor offices of the three-storey Metro Tabernacle Church, although the worship hall itself was undamaged and there were no injuries. Petrol bombs were also thrown into the Assumption Catholic Church and the Life Chapel Protestant church in the adjacent town of Petaling Jaya, but neither caused damage.

"There are witness reports two persons on a motorbike came near the entrance and hurled in something looking like a petrol bomb," Kevin Ang, a spokesman for the Metro Tabernacle Church, said. "Our church is 90 per cent gutted."

The inspector-general of police, Musa Hassan, said: "Since last night, I have instructed all patrol cars to patrol all church areas. We are monitoring all churches."

On Thursday, the website of the Malaysian judiciary was vandalised by a hacker with the alias "Brainwash" who left threatening messages apparently related to the court ruling. "Mess with the best, die like the rest," read one message. "Allah only restricted to Muslim only."

Since the court ruling on New Year's Eve, the website of the Herald, the Catholic Church's largest newspaper in the country, has also been vandalised with profanities by hackers.

Followers of Islam make up a small majority of Malaysia's 28 million people, and throughout the country's short independent history, its rulers have struggled to contain tensions between Muslim Malays, and the country's large Chinese and Indian populations, who follow Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. Most of the readers of the Herald are Christian tribes people in the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah in Borneo.

After violent anti-Chinese riots in 1969, the country instituted a policy of positive discrimination in favour of Malays which went a long way to contain tensions, but has also provoked resentment among Indians and Chinese. Sharia, which applies only to Muslims, forbids conversion and mandates harsh punishments for religious crimes, including caning for those caught consuming alcohol.

"There should not be a cause for concern because some people have got the idea that we are out to convert [Muslims], but not at all, there is no question of this," the editor of the Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew, said.

"We believe these actions to create a climate of fear and a perceived threat to national security so as to pressure the court in reversing its decision."

Kuala Lumpur Church Firebombed over Allah Issue

By Asia Sentinel,

Would a god by any other name smell as sweet?


Youths on motorcycles firebombed an Assemblies of God church in Kuala Lumpur last night, gutting its administrative offices, and threw a Molotov cocktail at a Catholic church in the Petaling Jaya suburb as tensions continue to rise over a decision by a High Court justice that the Catholic Church could use the word "Allah" to represent the Christian god in the Malay version of its news publication, The Herald.

Police later reported that two more churches were attacked as well although at one the Molotov cocktail failed to ignite. Police stationed police cars at churches throughout the city as demonstrations were scheduled at mosques across the country during the Friday Muslim prayer hours. Officials from the United Malays National Organization and Parti Islam se-Malasia, the two ethnic Malay political parties, condemned the attacks and called for calm. By Friday evening, at least 150,000 protesters have signed onto a Facebook protest, with the numbers continuing to grow.

The ruling by Justice Lau Bee Lan was stayed on Jan 6. at the request of Abdlu Gani Patail, Malaysia's attorney general. Lau's decision has generated massive protest across Malaysia, much of it fomented by UMNO, according to critics. Catholic Church officials agreed to the stay out of national security concerns.
There are increasing concerns that the matter could get out of hand. Musa Hassan, the inspector general of police, warned groups planning to stage rallies that they had better cancel or they could face action. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has also called for calm although he also said protesters have the right to rally within the confines of mosques.

"We cannot stop them, as long as it is confined within the mosque area," he told a press conference.

The Muslim youth movement Abim and the National Association of Muslim Students were expected to hold nationwide rallies today against Justice Lau's decision.
Kuala Lumpur is also bracing for rising Malay protest in advance of the trial of 12 so-called "cow's head" protesters who are expected to go to court on April 12 for sedition for an incident that happened last August when they were arrested for carrying a cow's head to the Selangor state government headquarters in protest of a plan to relocate a 150-year-old Hindu temple in what was regarded as an ethnic Malay area. Cows are sacred to ethnic Hindus.

The 12 have hardly backed away from their pugnacious stance. On Dec. 8, shouting "Jangan Memperbodohkan Orang Melayu (Do not hoodwink the Malays'), the 12, accompanied by about 20 more, marched down a busy street carrying a banner depicting leaders of the Democratic Action Party with cows bodies and horns. They threw the banner to the ground and started stepping on it.

Between the two issues, and other accumulated strains in the society, Najib's "1Malaysia" campaign to try to ameliorate the racial tensions that have been rising since March 2008 elections that gave the opposition solid gains faces a rocky time. Najib has assiduously attempted to woo back disaffected minority Chinese and Indian voters who deserted the scandal-ridden Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysian Indian Congress but has faced continued tension.

Ethnic Malays charge that the minorities, who play a major role in the opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim, are demanding too much in a country where ketuanan Melayu, or Malay superiority, has been a fixture for three decades. The minorities believe that UMNO is behind the rising racial tension in an effort to solidify the Malay vote. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, an elder UMNO statesman, told local media that the party was "bent on fanning communal sentiment and digging itself into an intolerant hardline position with no parallel in the Muslim world."

"I think the danger level is going to rise," said a well-placed ethnic Malay source in Kuala Lumpur. "Many protests and demonstrations are in motion across the country. I think this whole saga plus the protests planned basically means that the Muslim Malay community is fighting back. It's not just Allah, but the culmination of lots of issues."
The Herald, which is printed in four languages, was refused a printing permit two years ago for using the word "Allah" as a translation for "God" in its Malay-language section. It had previously done so in copies circulated in Sabah and Sarawak, which have many more Christian converts than does Peninsular Malaysia, which is predominantly Malay and Muslim.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim condemned the stay and charged UMNO with "politicizing the issue and pandering to its conservative base...to deflect attention from its own political vulnerabilities." In a press release, the opposition coalition said it "has gained popularity by touting a vision of a secular country in which all religions have equal rights. Even the opposition's Islamic partner, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party—which hasn't always supported liberal ideas—issued a statement Monday saying that the Herald's use of 'Allah' is its constitutional right.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also joined the fray, writing a Malay-language statement in his blog "Chedet" saying that the issue over the use of the word Allah "cannot be referred to or resolved by the courts. Laws cannot take into account sensitivities and issues that could trigger tension and chaos amongst religious peoples and of different faiths.

"I hope the government is very careful over this issue so that this multi faith country does not fall into disarray," he wrote.