Islam must be known foremost for its gentleness, kindness and mercy

MAY 9, 2018 was a very special day for Malaysians. For those of us who voted for a change, it meant waking up to a renewed sense of pride.

Because let’s face it, for the longest time, so many of us have been feeling quite embarrassed by our own country. For so long, Malaysia has made international headlines for all the wrong reasons; corruption, fraud, misappropriation. It had become difficult to face the international community without feeling a bit of shame for allowing such exploitation to fester in our country.

So during this election, we changed that, because truly at the core our love for this country speaks louder than our urge to just run away from it. And so we did.

And we thought that given the questionably low bar set by the previous government, where connectedness with the community was concerned, it would be pretty hard for a political party that claims to be people-centric to let us down.

So excuse us for feeling disappointed that it has come to this, because we voted for a progressive new Malaysia that is eager to be recognised by the rest of the world for all the right reasons. A Malaysia that we can be proud of.

We did not vote for a Malaysia that condones oppression, silencing and fundamentalism. We did not vote for a Malaysia that wishes to travel back to medieval times of public cruelty and torture.

It is appalling that not only are videos of the public caning circulating via social media, but also that there are people encouraging this to be normalised in the country to a point where caning should not be something that people are shocked by anymore, according to the Terengganu executive councillor (exco).

It is indeed a disturbing sign of times when a state government actually wants people to be desensitised to seeing other people get publicly humiliated and hurt.

It is even more troubling that Islam is being used to justify such conditioning of the community.

In the Holy Quran, Allah s.w.t. tells us that, “those who love (to see) scandal published (and) broadcast among the Believers will have a grievous penalty in this lifetime and in the Hereafter” [24:19]. In fact, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said that it is wicked for someone to demean a fellow Muslim (Bukhari).

Every human being, by virtue of being descendants of Prophet Adam (peace and blessings be upon him), has been granted dignity and honour (karamah) [17:70] and this is something no one can deny. We are obligated to recognise that all humans are Allah’s vicegerents (khalifah) on this earth, for even when questioned by the angels, Allah tells them that “I know what ye know not” [2:30].

To be respectful of each other’s dignity is so sacred, that Allah tells us that it is wrong to defame and be sarcastic to each other or call each other by offensive nicknames because we can never know if they could be better people than we are [49:11]. Surah Hujurat goes on to explicitly tell us to avoid suspicion because to even be suspicious of another person can be considered a sin and this includes going out of the way to spy on each other behind their backs [49:12].

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) himself tells us not to search for each other’s faults, “for if anyone searches for the faults of others, Allah will search for their faults,” (Hasan Sahih [Al-Albani]). Even in doing so, the hadith goes on to say that, “If Allah searches for the fault of anyone, They will be disgraced in their house,” – such is the grace and mercy of Allah who dislikes public humiliation and mockery [104:1].

It is about time that we stopped using Islam as an excuse to exert oppression onto others, and accept that Islam is and must be known foremost for its gentleness, kindness and mercy.

Some of the most sacred names of Allah are Al-Ghafoor (The Most Forgiving: mentioned over 70 times in the Holy Quran), Al-Rahman (The Most Merciful: mentioned 57 times in the Holy Quran) and Al-Raheem (The Most Compassionate: mentioned 115 times in the Holy Quran). So mighty is Allah, that They can forgive every (other) sin from whomsoever They will [4:116] and Allah, in fact, loves to forgive (At Trimidhi and Ibn Majah).

This is the beauty of Islam, which must prevail over everything that we do as a people and as a country. This is what our country must be known for. This is the country that we want to be proud of.

Majidah Hashim
Communications Manager
Sisters in Islam

Right to freedom of religion

THE Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is deeply concerned with the most recent crackdown on a Shia minority group in Kelantan for practising their religion, a right guaranteed in the Federal Constitution. The arrest of 50 individuals including children, in Suhakam’s view, indicates a severe intolerance for minority faiths, including Muslims, and can be construed as a move towards extremism.

As a result, a population of Malaysians have been deprived of their basic constitutional right to freedom of religion. Suhakam believes that the constant threat of raids, arrests, and detention by religious authorities acting with the police amounts to a government-led persecution of Shias despite Malaysia having a constitutional framework to guarantee all citizens the right to freedom of religion.

The glaring inequality facing religious minorities has not changed since Pakatan Harapan came to power and despite the government’s promise to end discrimination in a moderate, progressive and tolerant Malaysia.

Suhakam would not want to see a situation where religious intolerance, discrimination, social hostilities and incitement to violence based on religion or belief reach a new depth in our new Malaysia and believes sensitivity of the subject matter can no longer be a barrier to a firm resolution.

The government must immediately take steps towards guaranteeing legal protections and rights for all religious minorities and to reinforce peaceful and sustainable coexistence among Malaysians.

Therefore, Suhakam advises the government to take immediate steps to strengthen the enjoyment of the fundamental human right to freedom of religion, as opposed to restricting this constitutional right. Suhakam stands ready to play a facilitative role and hopes that the government will take fair and constructive steps towards providing equal rights for all religious groups in Malaysia.

Therefore, Suhakam advises the government to take immediate steps to strengthen the enjoyment of the fundamental human right to freedom of religion, as opposed to restricting this constitutional right. Suhakam stands ready to play a facilitative role and hopes that the government will take fair and constructive steps towards providing equal rights for all religious groups in Malaysia.

Suhakam believes that the Council of Rulers has a responsibility towards sections of Malaysian population victimised on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Tan Sri Razali Ismail
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam)

CFM deeply concerned over recent acts of escalating tensions

15th January 2014


The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) notes with deep concern the recent acts of escalating tensions on the part of certain groups in respect of the use of the term “Allah” by the Christian community in Malaysia.

In particular we refer to four incidents: the continued singling out of Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of The Herald, for criticism and threats of “mega demonstrations” against him; the advertisement placed in The Star on Saturday 11 January 2014 by the head of the Majlis Agama Islam Selangor attempting to justify the raid by the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor on the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia on 2 January 2014; the demonstration near Shekinah Glory AG Church, Klang on Saturday morning 4 January 2014; and the demonstration by a group of approximately 100 people outside Metro Tabernacle Church in Gombak on Sunday morning 12 January 2014.

We are of the view that none of these incidents was either helpful or prudent in the current environment.

The 10-point solution announced by the Government in April 2011 should have resolved the usage of Bahasa Malaysia and the term “Allah” in the Al-Kitab, the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia. Regrettably, the Government that devised the 10-point solution is now silent about it.

As such, in the absence of any clear direction from the political leadership of our country, what we are witnessing is the mad scramble by any and every group to grab media attention for themselves. It is a sorry reflection of the declining state of affairs. We regret that these groups have felt it necessary to undertake these actions.

The CFM on behalf of the Christian community in Malaysia remains undaunted in the face of these and no doubt future incidents of this nature.

We stand firm and united in our understanding of the principle of the freedom of religion and the equal protection of the law, both of which are guaranteed in our Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

We look to the courts of this land to protect, preserve and defend these cherished principles of our Federal Constitution.

We stand by individuals such as Father Lawrence Andrew and churches that have been singled out to be recipients of unwarranted and undeserved protests, and with the many Christians in this country whose only offence has been a heartfelt desire to worship and address God in their own language.

We bear in mind that 64% of Christians in Malaysia have no other language for their Bible, prayer and worship except for Bahasa Malaysia.

We thank friends and neighbours from other faiths who understand this history and who are standing with us and by us in these dark days.

We call on all peace-loving people in Malaysia and throughout the world to continue to pray for the peace and security of individual Christians, churches and communities, and for justice to prevail in our beloved nation.

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

JAIS raid violation of constitutional right and Cabinet’s 10-points solution


The Christian Federation of Malaysia strongly condemns the raid conducted by officers from the Selangor State Islamic Department (JAIS), accompanied by the police, on the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) on Thursday afternoon 2 January 2014.

They seized 320 copies of the Al-Kitab, the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, and 10 copies of the Bup Kudus, the Bible in the Iban language. The President of BSM and the Office Manager were also arrested during the raid and brought to a nearby police station to have their statements recorded. Both were subsequently released on police bail but have been told to make themselves available to be interviewed by JAIS.

The raid, the seizure of copies of our sacred Scriptures and the arrest of two of BSM’s officers are clear violations of our constitutionally-mandated right to freedom of religion, as set out in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. The unwarranted actions on the part of JAIS, aided and abetted by the police, are in absolute breach of the Cabinet’s 10-points solution announced in April 2011 which stated that Christians can import, print and distribute the Al-Kitab under certain conditions, all of which have been complied with by We call upon the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet to uphold the word and commitment of the Federal Government to ensure that the rights of the Christian community under the Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, are not violated and trampled upon by state-level religious officers with the complicity of the Federal police.

This unconscionable conduct on the part of JAIS and the Federal police is not just an authoritarian abuse of power and an act of harassment against Christians in Malaysia. It is also a blatant and aggressive attack on the moral and multi-cultural fabric of our society which values inter-communal harmony and utmost respect for the sanctity of each other’s religious beliefs and books. To allow one religion to be able to monitor and regulate how another religion is to be practiced is a distasteful recipe for disaster, and a contradiction of the moderation of which the Prime Minister speaks so frequently abroad.

JAIS, or for that matter any Muslim religious body or department, must not have any authority over another religion. It is as simple as that. Otherwise, the constitutional protection of freedom of religion will mean absolutely nothing. We are disturbed by the fact that the actions by JAIS and the police yesterday are but the latest episode in a continuing saga of repeated violations of the freedom of religion of the non-Muslim community in Malaysia.

We are also deeply concerned and disturbed by the numerous reports of threats that have been made in both mainstream and alternative media that indicate protests and demonstrations will be organised outside churches in Selangor. We welcome the police statements warning Umno Selangor that their protests would contravene the Peaceful Assembly Act and that the police in Klang would be present to ensure the safety and security of church members and the sanctity of the church as a place of worship.

We call upon the police and the relevant authorities to do their sworn duty to protect and defend the rights of the Christian minority in Malaysia and to ensure that the sanctity of our places of worship and the safety of our members are not in any way violated. It is incumbent on the police and the relevant authorities to ensure that our places of worship are not desecrated or defiled and our worship services not disturbed by these protestors and their threatened actions.

Finally, we call upon all Christians to be vigilant both in standing up for their constitutional rights and in prayer, and to remain calm in the midst of these trying times. We call on Almighty God for good sense and wisdom to ultimately prevail in this beloved land of ours.

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

Press Statement by Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur


The recent judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal against the Herald newspaper has raised serious concerns to many Malaysians, especially the Christian community. As President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, I hereby state that that the three Judges were grossly misinformed when concluding that the word ‘Allah’ was “not the essential or integral part of the religion of Christianity”.

The 1st Article of Faith in the Catholic Creed and for all Christians is: “I believe in ONE GOD, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth”. Any Christian who denies or modifies this statement of faith, incurs excommunication and would be considered a heretic. It is to be noted that for centuries the Bahasa Malaysia translation and the Arabic equivalent of the ONE GOD, is the sacred word ‘Allah’, which the Christians have been using peacefully.

Hence, to conclude that the word ‘Allah’ is not essential to the Christian faith would be a grave denial of the fundamental right of the Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christian community to use this word in prayer, worship services, prayer books, the Alkitab and other publications. This would be tantamount to signalling a form of persecution.

There are thousands of Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christians from Sabah and Sarawak in Semanunjung Malaysia: students in institutes of higher learning, armed forces personnel, police personnel, civil servants and others in the private sector, many of whom reside here with their families. Already more than half of our Parish Churches and Chapels in Semanunjung Malaysia conduct at least one worship service or catechism lessons weekly in Bahasa Malaysia. As committed religious leaders, we have to ensure that we respectfully minister to them in the national language. For this reason then, we do not accept the statement of these judges and stand in solidarity with other Church leaders who have also emphatically voiced their objection. We are heartened that other religious leaders and organisations have echoed similar sentiments.

We, together with all peoples of goodwill, invoke the good sense of the thousands of Malay brothers and sisters, many of whom have greatly benefitted from the education offered in our Mission schools and are familiar with our belief in God, to allow us to continue peacefully with our use of the sacred word ‘Allah’. We urge the Prime Minister to take positive steps to stop the indoctrination of unwitting Malays by individuals and organisations from swinging towards a divisive radicalism.

We continue to pray that God will bless and enlighten all Malaysians to accept one another in unity and diversity.

Most Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia

Dated this 20th October 2013 in Kuala Lumpur

Courts continue to ignore rights of Christian minority


14 October 2013

The Christian community in Malaysia is gravely dismayed and very disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal to uphold the power of the Minister to ban the use of the word Allah in the Herald publication.

In a wide-ranging decision, all Christian publications in Bahasa Malaysia would appear to be affected by this ruling. By stating that “the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity” the court has totally ignored the position of our East Malaysian Bumiputra and Orang Asli Christians, who constitute 60% of the church in Malaysia and who are Bahasa Malaysia-speaking.

In particular, by holding that “the welfare of an individual or group must yield to that of the community” and applying this principle to freedom of religion, this decision is yet another erosion and infringement of the constitutional protection to the freedom of religious communities to profess and practise their faith and to manage their own affairs.

In what would appear to be a re-reading and re-interpretation of Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, it would now appear that a minority religion can only be practised and professed in Malaysia to the extent that it does not upset the “peace and harmony” of adherents of the majority religion.

The Bahasa Malaysia-speaking churches have been using the word Allah both before and after the independence of Malaya and the formation of Malaysia. The use of the word Allah by the Malaysian churches had not been an issue all these years.

However, the various authorities in this country by making an issue of it and by what would appear to be selective action or inaction have only encouraged and fuelled further misunderstandings, mistrusts and brokenness between the Muslim and Christian communities. This will only further undermine the unity of Malaysians.

Despite this very negative development, the Christian Federation of Malaysia reminds all churches in Malaysia to always look to God and to pray for wisdom and guidance for all involved as to the next steps that they should take.

We welcome the fact that the decision of the Court of Appeal does not appear to cover the use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Alkitab.

We expect our Honourable Prime Minister and the Cabinet to continue to honour the 10-point solution with respect to the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Alkitab. We shall, therefore, continue to use the word Allah in our worship, liturgy, prayers and educational materials of the church. As Malaysian Christians we are committed to our beloved nation and our love for Malaysia remains steadfast and we continue to respond with love and not in hatred as we face this on-going trial and tribulation.

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


9 September 2013


As the hearing date of 10 September 2013 for the appeal by the Government of Malaysia against the decision of the High Court of Malaya to allow The Herald newspaper to use the word “Allah” fast approaches, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) notes with grave concern the calls by various groups to ‘defend’ Islam from being insulted and threatened.

In particular, we refer to a television programme in which untrue and unsubstantiated accusations were made about so-called Christian plots to convert Muslims, and to the official Friday sermon (khutbah) written by JAKIM (the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, or Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia) and delivered on 6 September 2013, which called for “action” (“tindakan”) in defence of Islam by Muslims over the use of the word “Allah” for God by Christians, and that such defence was a “holy struggle” (“perjuangan suci”).

The issue, then, is whether such calls would become the catalyst and the incitement of reactions which may result in public disorder. Even a cursory examination of these accusations and statements will clearly show that they are emotional and without factual basis. However, the call for “action” by some Muslims is incendiary and alarming to ordinary Malaysians. Worst of all, there appears to be no action or statement whatsoever from any governmental authority in our nation, calling for calm or even ordering a stop to such stoking of anger and heightening of feelings.

Let it be made clear once again that:

  1. The word “Allah” to refer to God is used by about 60% of the approximately 2.6 million Christians in Malaysia. Bumiputra Christians, who only have Bahasa Malaysia as their common language for worship and prayer, have long used the Bahasa Malaysia Bible containing the word “Allah” for God without any uproar, resistance nor objection.
  2. The word “Allah” to refer to God has been in use for hundreds of years in various translations of and from the Bible (please refer to the CFM Fact Sheet issued on 16 May 2013).
  3. Only in Malaysia is the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God by Christians a problem for Muslims. Christians in the Middle East freely use the word “Allah”. There is no confusion.
  4. The repeated accusations that the use of the word “Allah” is a device that is part of a Christian conspiracy to convert Muslims has never been substantiated. Such irresponsible accusations must stop. This is blatant scare- mongering and provoking of religious tensions.

The CFM invites our Muslim sisters and brothers in Malaysia to reflect, understand and appreciate the context of how, when and why Christians use the word “Allah”. This use has carried on for centuries through our shared history without any problem, and we have lived in relative peace and harmony for many years whilst this use has been on-going.

In dealing with the issue of the use of the word “Allah” for God, as indeed with other inter-religious issues, there is a need for the truth, i.e. facts and evidence, to be looked at, instead of an appeal to purely emotional rhetoric or use of base insults, or talk of plots and alleged conversions.

The CFM vigorously calls upon the Malaysian Government, which represents ALL Malaysians, to ensure, uphold and protect freedom of religion in Malaysia.

Let not JAKIM be the only voice purporting to speak on behalf of the Government of Malaysia that has said that it represents Malaysians of different faiths and ethnicities.

The CFM requests all Christians to continue to pray for peace and justice. May God bless and protect our beloved nation, and grant peace to all Malaysians.

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

A nation for all


26th August 2013


This year Malaysians celebrate the 56th anniversary of Merdeka for Malaya and the 50th anniversary since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

We give thanks to Almighty God for the wisdom and strength He has granted to our national and state leaders over the years and for the relative peace and prosperity we have enjoyed as a nation.

As with our founding fathers of Malaysia we pray and seek the help of Almighty God to assist us as we envision and foster a nation uniting all peoples together; an inclusive nation rather than a divisive one. A nation for ALL.

A journey of 50 years is a small step in the evolution of nations. Yet we can take pride that even as we have faced many difficulties, we have endured as a nation of many people welded together in peace and harmony because of our mutual respect for and harmonious relationship with each other.

However, let us not be presumptuous but together actively work at building a nation under God and continue to seek blessing, peace and goodwill for each other and our communities.

We call on all Malaysians to strengthen our nation upon the twin pillars of truth and justice in order to give everyone hope and a place under the Malaysian sun. We urge all Malaysians to continue to fashion a legal system that will provide equality and equal protection under the law for all Malaysians.

We call on all peaceful and peace-loving Malaysians to reject those who are racists and religious chauvinists in both their speech and actions. We need to actively resist all who use race and religion to drum up fear and hatred against others for political mileage and advantage.

We ask all Malaysians to continue to show mutual respect, compassion and care for the human rights and dignity of each other and to demonstrate that with the courage to speak up against injustice and extremism of all kinds. Let us heighten our consciousness of and consideration for those others living around us and treat all peoples with love, honour and respect as we are all children of the living God.

As Christians in Malaysia we continue to pray for the well-being and good of our beloved nation MALAYSIA. We pray that Almighty God will assist us in our nation-building endeavours as we continue to build and to prosper a nation on the basis of truth and justice so that we may live together in unity, peace and harmony.

We pray for our police and armed forces to be vigilant and diligent to ensure the safety and security of our beloved nation.

We continue to pray for the blessings of wisdom and moral courage from Almighty God to be upon our Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, the Rulers, the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet, the state Mentris Besar and the Chief Ministers and members of their Executive Councils, and all our Members of Parliament and State Assemblypersons, that they may represent the Rakyat with responsibility and integrity, and govern honestly and fairly, seeking always the common good.


Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng

Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam

Rev. Datuk Jerry Dusing

Bishop Philip Lok Oi Peng

Conversion by single parent is unconstitutional

Media Statement- 28 June 2013


The Malaysian Consultative Council Of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) vehemently objects to some provisions found in the RANG UNDANG­ UNDANG PENTADBIRAN AGAMA ISLAM (WILAYAH-WILAYAH PERSEKUTUAN) 2013 tabled in Parliament for its first reading on 26 June 2013 as they affect the Non-Muslims. The Bill under disguise of Islamic Laws is unilaterally trying to alter the Federal Constitution by translating the word “parent” in the Federal Constitution to mean “lbu atau Bapa” as opposed to “lbubapa”.

Any conversion of a minor by a single parent will cause serious injustice to the non-converting parent and the children of the marriage- Section 107 (b) “jika dia belum mencapai umur Iapan be/as tahun, ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya mengizinkan pemelukan agama Islam olehnya” This provision would further creates social injustice and is contrary to the constitutional scheme of things.

We hold the Federal Cabinet accountable for this transgression, that is, inspite of the Cabinet decision of 23/4/2013 whereby it was decided that a single parent cannot convert a minor child of the marriage. Despite that public statement, the Cabinet deem it fit to introduce the above provision in D.R. 1/2013. It appears that the Cabinet promise and undertaking on this issue was not sincere.

The MCCBCHST wishes to reiterate that any unilateral conversion of their children by one parent encroaches into the lives of Non-Muslims. Such conversions are not only unconstitutional but are morally and ethically wrong. We ask Cabinet members how they will feel if their children are unilaterally converted. Do not do things to others, which you do not want to be done to you.

We must warn that if “Parent” in Article 12(4) is to be interpreted to mean “single” parent”, it will go against the spirit and letter of Article 4 of the Federal Constitution -the Supreme Law of the land. If this Interpretation is advanced, then there is nothing to stop the other single parent to convert back the child to the Original religion. No religious law can over-ride the constitution. This would produce an absurd result and therefore this could not be meaning intended.

Reliance on the case of SUBASHINI (2008), may not be in order as the case appears to be wrongly decided due to the following:-

i) The Court did not apply the Statutory Interpretation clause. Art. 160(1) (Eleventh Schedule) under which “words importing the masculine gender Include female” and “words in the singular include the plural, and words in the plural include the singular.

ii) The guardianship of Infants Act, 1961 which provides for equality of parental rights.

iii) If single “parent” can convert, then it would lead to an absurd result, as the non­ converting spouse can similarly by virtue of being a single parent convert back her child to the original faith.

We understand that the Bill also provides for Syariah High Court to decide whether a person is a Muslim or not. See Section 51(3)(b) (x) and (xi). This power has always been with the Civil High Court and not the Syariah Court. The amendment thus proposed is unconstitutional.

The MCCBCHST, therefore calls upon the Cabinet to withdraw the above Bill, until its provisions have been thoroughly debated by all the stake holders. Any bull dozing through of the Bill will not be accepted and would also be unconstitutional, giving no choice to the affected persons to look for
remedy peacefully through other legal channels locally and internationally.

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow, AMS

Sardar Jagir Singh
Deputy President

Venerable Sing Kan

Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips

Y. Bhg. Datuk RS. Mohan Shan, PMW, JMW, AMK, BKM, PJK

Mr. Prematilaka KD. Serisena
Hon. Secretary General