In my previous posting, I asked if Archbishop Joseph Marino had risked putting the Vatican and the Malaysian Government on a collision course with his remarks on the "Allah" issue". Yesterday, our Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said his piece, which represents the official stand of Najib Razak's government.
He's not saying the Vatican ambassador should pack up his bags and go; Anifah is a more polished diplomat than that. The Nuncio was welcomed in January as the Vatican's first ambassador to Malaysia and we, as always the good host, continue to welcome him or anyone else who wants to, as long as they don't habour malicious intent towards us, to stay on. What's not welcomed is any attempt by anyone to interfere with the democratic process of this country. The "Allah" issue, for example, is being handled in the most democratic and fair manner. The Government, in fact, is in the process of appealing against a Court decision that was NOT in its favour!
Marino can see for himself what his remarks have done. The Malaysian Insider has come up with an editorial that is aimed at provoking the Christians on Najib Razak's Cabineet, needling them to do something - anything, questioning their effectiveness in protecting the "flock". Some in this country will view the editorial as most seditious; yet, others have gotten away with murder more grisly than this one, in the name of freedom of the press.
It won't stop with Anifah's firm and diplomatic stand, though. Things will get a lot worse before it gets better. Some madmen will burn some suraus down and some other madmen may torch some chapels to the ground. Maybe these madmen will do crazier things but we pray they won't.
The Archbishop, as a good Christian that he is, must put a stop to all this madness that he started. I don't have to tell him what he needs to do or how, but he needs to do the right thing.
p.s. If in doubt, perhaps Marino can start by checking out the Malaysian Foreign Minister. Anifah Aman is from Sabah, where "Allah" has been used in the Bahasa Malaysia bibles for years without any protest by the Muslims. How is that, you ask? Well, welcome to Malaysia, Nuncio.