KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Shafie Apdal today said the BN-led government should let Christians in Sabah and Sarawak use the word “Allah” in their worship and make sure it is not misinterpreted to the detriment of Muslims.
Speaking to Christian leaders during a gathering here, Shafie said he had held the view even when he was still a member of the federal cabinet.
“If need be, we should allow the word to be used in Sabah and Sarawak, no matter the religion or race. Only in the peninsula, that word cannot be used by followers of other faiths,” Shafie said.
“In Sarawak, it’s not only Muslims but Christians are also using the word.
“In Sikhism, the word has been used for hundreds of years. It’s the same in countries like Jordan and Egypt.
“We should let people from other faiths use the word (but) the government should make sure no one misinterprets the word.”
According to the Semporna MP, Islam itself teaches its followers to let people from other faiths to freely practise their religion.
“It’s not in their ceramah but in the Quran which says we practise our religion and others practise theirs,” said Shafie, quoting a verse from the Quran.
“We don’t hate people from the peninsula but we dislike their policies.”
Shafie stressed that elements of extremism should not be allowed to creep into Sabah.
“It’s important that we preserve our harmony and not let extremism make inroads into our society,” he said.
“Some people preach about moderation but in practice, it is on the brink of extremism, like in PAS, where they don’t allow Muslims from other parties to lead the prayers.
“Because of politics, people are divided as Umno and PAS are cooperating with each other.”
Shafie also questioned why Christian leaders in BN do not care about the matter.
“Why aren’t Joseph Kurup, Bernard Dompok and Joseph Pairin Kitingan speaking about this issue?
“There’s something not right.”