Oh God Almighty. You, Yet Again!
And it has all got to do with the name of the Almighty! The Arabic name to be precise. A name I find so difficult to mouth because it identifies with the name of the Almighty of the Islamic religion. No sir, I do not want to nor intend to offend a Muslim friend or brethren who might think, my being non-Muslim, its use is so sanctified and preserved for people of his faith that my use of it would diminish that Almighty or his faith.
Of course, I have the right to use it. I have no doubt whatsoever that I can use it. And I have no doubt that I will defend my right to use it whenever, wherever and however.
But do I need to use it? No! No I don't need to use it. After all I have a thousand other names that I can use. It can be Dave. It can be Joe. It can be Briteney, or even Engelbert. And what about Madonna! Or it can be the name of the person I see every time I look in the mirror! After all was I not made in His image?
Why do I need to use a name that makes my good friends or my neighbours uncomfortable. No doubt there is no basis for the discomfort. Is it my business really if they are uncomfortable? Not really.
And why are they uncomfortable? Maybe they lack understanding! Maybe they are insecure! Maybe they are confused! Now, all of these could have a valid basis or it is sheer madness. All that is necessary for me to know is that they are sensitive about it, uncomfortable about it and certainly very suspisious about it. Well, at least that is what their politicians tell me.
But when beer drinking bloggers begin to get passionate about it and write about it or endorse the writings of others, then I have got no choice but to start separating the wheat from the chaff.
There is nothing doctrinal about this issue. Indeed, it was never any kind of issue until politicians started making noises about this. I should add to this group also wannabe ulamaks and religious and racist bigots who raise their profiles chanting anything that works up the adrenaline of their listeners. Apparently for some of them the measure of ones faith might be the level of hate and prejudice you can generate in yourself on your perceived enemies.
If really this was a non-issue that has now been made into one and magnified many times over then of what purpose is this heating up now?
Well, for one thing, it gets the speaker free publicity. And we all only know too well, the UMNO General Assembly is just around the corner.
But more important than that is another.
I have asked myself. Now that The Herald has sued and it is now in the hands of the courts who is going to gain and how important is such a gain to them. Of course, the cynic in me thinks the court has already decided in favour of the UMNO led government.
Does UMNO need this very much? A resounding YES!! UMNO needs this verdict in their favour and they need to be able to use the power that is with them to put a stop to Christians also using the name of the Almighty of the Muslims. But why? When did they become so holier than thou religious and taken up the mantle of the jihadist?
Let us go back a bit. Not too far. Just back to August/September 2008 to the Permatang Pauh by-election. UMNO went to town then about them championing Ketuanan Melayu. But this time this mantra fell flat. People, Malays especially, responded, yes, Ketuanan UMNOPutra sahaja. There was nothing to show the voting Malay for all that mantra that he was tuan over the land and over the non-Malays.
On the religious front, PAS has always taken over the leading role as being more Islamic and the champion or the promoter and defender of the faith. UMNO has never been able to get any kind of traction with the voting Malay over their declaration that this is an Islamic State after all, after so many years.
The Christians have provided a wonderful opportunity to pierce this impossible impasse. Stop the Christians from using that word that happens also to be the name of the Muslim's Almighty. Does not matter that the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have only known this word to reference their Almighty. Does not matter that the Muslims use it as a pronoun whereas the Christians use it as a noun. Just maintain that it confuses the Muslims and they are sensitive about it. Accuse the Christians of using it to deceive Muslims into thinking it is the one and the same Almighty. Any justification to support the application of their power and authority over life in the country. They can do it. They have the power to do it. And they will get away with it. No worries about Christians elsewhere raising their swords as Christians lost their crusading spirit a long long time ago.
What does stopping Christians with all this might mean to UMNO? A lot!
Wouldn't they then be able to say, "This is what Ketuanan Melayu is all about. We say what, to whom and how you pray."
Wouldn't they then be able to tell all Muslims " We can and we have defended the faith. PAS does not and cannot." After all PAS seems to have two minds about it. Nik Aziz ,their spiritual head, seems to think it is alright for the Christians to use it. And you have Hadi Awang, their President and his men who seem to think like UMNO that the Christians cannot use it.
Out of the blues with this, which they can make happen, they can deliver to the Malay Muslim population two things that are close to their hearts. The Ketuanan Melayu mantra and the defenders of Islam claim are realised.
Is this going to get traction with their constituents? I believe it will. I believe it will gain for them a huge amount of traction and by the time the next General Election comes around, the gains made by PAS and Keadilan can be and will be scuppered. Afterall, they will need a massive shift in the Malay vote as the non-Malay support has now become suspect and unreliable.
You can very well bet UMNO will go to town with this claim. You can very well bet UMNO will reinvigourate their efforts to inculcate in the mind of the Malay that this is a jihadist victory that the Malays can be proud of. After all, the Malays have not necessarily been involved in any kind of jihadist activity that they can claim pride in. This will be their first according to UMNO. Very satieting. They need to do this and they need the time for this to sink in so that by the next general elections they will get what they want.
Yes, this is more important to UMNO than you might think. This could be the lifeline that will perpetuate the UMNO juggernaut into the future. How else do you get the dissapearing support of the Malays back? The Malays have now gone three ways. PAS, Keadilan and UMNO. Sure UMNO has the advantage at this time. But for how long? And this advantage is of no use without the support of the non-Malay vote. PAS has recently become a lot more acceptable to the non-Malay and non-Muslims. This will make it hard for UMNO!
As an added bonus, this can propel towards causing a split in PAS. We have already seen in parliament two opposing views from the PAS candidates on this. Malay MPs in Keadilan will find it difficult and compromised opposing UMNO on this. Non-Muslim MPs of Barisan Nasiaonal will as always be bound to voting alongside their UMNO counterparts in this so that UMNO can claim that even the non-Muslims were not objecting to this.
Simply put. UMNO needs to be seen as the one stopping the use of the name of the Muslims' Almighty by non-Muslims. UMNO needs to be seen employing its power and authority to deliver this outcome. This would represent to them an act of Ketuanan Melayu and it will also be represented as an act to defend the Islamic faith. And walla; I wonder how many will fall for that!! In UMNO's estimation, I suppose enough!!