Friday, 6 March 2009

dead sea scrolls rivalry?

here is an interesting piece of scholarly rivalry:


Dead Sea Scrolls scholar's son arrested in NY

By SAMUEL MAULL | Associated Press Writer
March 5, 2009

NEW YORK - A New York City lawyer who is the son of a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar was arrested Thursday, accused of using the stolen identities of academics to discredit his father's professional rivals.

Raphael Haim Golb, 49, used New York University's computers to hide his identity while he used dozens of Internet aliases to trash adversaries and skew debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.

Morgenthau said the investigation began last August when Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU, reported that he was being harassed and impersonated over the Internet by an anonymous person.

Golb, son of Dr. Norman Golb of the University of Chicago, opened an e-mail account in Schiffman's name and sent 11 e-mails to NYU officials in which Schiffman purported to admit to plagiarizing scroll scholarship, Morgenthau said.

At the same time, the district attorney said, Golb used other Internet aliases to send e-mails to NYU officials and he created Internet blogs, all accusing Schiffman of plagiarism. He also harassed other academics, Morgenthau said.

for the rest of the article, read here.

for another write-up, see here.

March 5, 2009

Contact: Alicia Maxey Greene

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau today announced the arrest of a 49-year-old man for creating multiple aliases to engage in a campaign of impersonation and harassment relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls and scholars of opposing viewpoints.

The defendant, RAPHAEL HAIM GOLB, was arrested on charges of identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment. The crimes in the Criminal Court Complaint occurred during the period of July to December of 2008.

The investigation leading to today’s arrest revealed that GOLB engaged in a systematic scheme on the Internet, using dozens of Internet aliases, in order to influence and affect debate on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in order to harass Dead Sea Scrolls scholars who disagree with his viewpoint. GOLB used computers at New York University (NYU) in an attempt to mask his true identity when conducting this Internet scheme. He gained access to NYU computers by virtue of being a graduate of the university, and having made donations to its library fund.

The investigation, which included a court-authorized search warrant that was executed this morning at GOLB’s apartment, began in response to a complaint by Lawrence Schiffman, Ph.D., that he was impersonated over the Internet. Dr. Schiffman is a NYU professor, chairman of the Hebrew & Judaic Studies Department and a leading scholar in the field of the Dead Sea Scrolls....

Thursday, 5 March 2009

upcoming TEE module

upcoming TEE module on 'Interpreting the Prophetic Books: Isaiah' to be taught by the reb at the Seremban center. about 20 students have signed up so far for both credit and audit.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

can christians use 'allah'?

continuing the debate whether christians in malaysia can use 'allah' as the name for God. see the 2 articles below. one is from raja petra and the other a report from the malaysiainsider. if it takes a wise muslim to say, what the others? :


Allah has 99 names

Posted by admin Monday, 02 March 2009 10:21

Okay, but what about the other 99 names of Allah? Should not non-Muslims also be banned from using these words as well? If the Allah word has been prohibited, then the remaining 99 names should be equally prohibited.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Malays resent me talking about Islam. This is because I am not a ‘certified’ Muslim scholar. And the certificate that authorises one to talk about Islam is issued by the state religious authorities.

But it is not me alone who is not ‘authorised’ to talk about Islam. The PAS President, Ustaz Haji Abdul Hadi Awang, was also banned from speaking in Selangor mosques, in particular in the Masjid Mujahideen in Damansara Utama. I do not know whether this ban has now been lifted ever since Pakatan Rakyat formed the Selangor State Government soon after the 8 March 2008 general election or whether the ban still exists.

I remember once when the Umno Member of Parliament for Kuala Terengganu, Zubir Embong, was scheduled to give a talk one Friday in a mosque in Gong Tok Nasik. Before he could stand up to deliver his speech, he was politely told he should not do so because he was not ‘certified’. And this was the time when Umno was ruling the state, mind you. What more if Zubir had been a PAS man.

The analogy they use is: would you go to a carpenter to perform brain surgery when a carpenter does not have such skills? Or would you employ a dentist instead of an architect to design your house? Such arguments are valid only to a point. What about a mother who is not a doctor who looks at her child and diagnoses that the child is sick? She is not a doctor. How would she know the child is sick?

You need a brain, of course, to become a doctor. A brainless person like the Umno Youth Leader, Hishammuddin Hussein, would never be able to become a doctor. But you do not need to be a doctor to have brains. Common sense can tell you that the child is sick just by the coughing, wheezing, running nose, hot forehead, and so on. The external signs are enough to convince any non-doctor mother that her child is sick.

Of course, the mother, who has correctly diagnosed that her child is sick, may not have the necessary skills to treat the sickness or even to tell what the child is suffering from. To do that, she will need the help of a doctor. But then many mothers just go to the pharmacist to buy the right medication if she is convinced it is just the flu that is ailing her child. And plenty of rest and chicken soup thrown in may help do the trick as well.

So, do you need to possess a certificate to talk about Islam? Or would a brain and common sense be enough? I have come across many ‘certified’ Muslim preachers who actually do not know everything about Islam. For example, when I was under ISA detention in Kamunting last year, one preacher who was in charge of my religious ‘rehabilitation’ talked about the Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). But he did not even know how many Hadith there are on record. And he also did not know how many of these Hadith are considered authentic and how many are disputed. He was surprised when I told him the figure and he admitted that he was not aware of these facts. And this was the preacher entrusted by JAKIM to ‘rehabilitate’ me. I actually taught him rather than he taught me.

Anyway, what I had written over the many years with regards to non-Muslims using the Allah word, the New Economic Policy being un-Islamic and smacks or racism, and much more, which the Malays thought I was unqualified to talk about since I am not 'certified', has been endorsed by Tok Guru Nik Aziz, undisputedly an authority on Islam. Nik Aziz has said the same thing that I have said all along. The only thing is Nik Aziz is certified and I am not. So I get whacked while Nik Aziz is hailed as a wise Muslim spiritual leader who talks sense.

So now, the Home Minister and Arab Wannabe, Syed Hamid Albar, has signed a Gazette last month banning Christians from using the Allah word. In fact, non-Muslims are not only banned from using the word Allah , it is also a crime for them to use any word with Allah in it, such as Masha-Allah , Alhamdulillah , Insha-Allah , etc., and even words and phrases like Solat , Ka’abah , Assalamu Alaikum .

Okay, but what about the other 99 names of Allah? See the full list below. Should not non-Muslims also be banned from using these words as well? If the Allah word has been prohibited, then the remaining 99 names should be equally prohibited. Would not this be the case since the Quran specifically states that these 99 names belong to Allah based on the attributes of Allah?

Over to you, Syed Hamid, I am anxiously awaiting your response to this issue. Why ban just the one ‘Muslim’ name for God when God has 99 other names, which are exclusive only to Allah, as any Muslim, certified or not, will testify to?


‘Allah’ is allowed for non-Muslims, says Nik Aziz

KOTA BHARU, March 1 – Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the Pas spiritual leader and one of the country’s most respected Muslim leaders, said today that non-Muslims should be allowed to use the word “Allah.”

But he said it was up to the federal government to decide whether to allow its use by non-Muslims.

“I do not want to interfere in this matter. Let the federal government decide,” he was quoted as saying by the national news agency Bernama in Kota Baru today.

The Pas leader was responding to the intense debate over the Catholic newspaper Herald’s law suit against the federal government’s decision to ban the use of the word “Allah” in its publication.

Yesterday, the Home Ministry rescinded a government gazette issued a day earlier which allowed the conditional use of the word in Christian publications.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said a mistake had been made and the government’s ban remained in force unless the courts decide otherwise.

The government had recently ordered a ban on the Herald's Malay edition until the court makes its decision, as part of conditions for it to be allowed to continue publishing in English, Chinese and Tamil.

Muslim groups have been up in arms over the Catholic newspaper’s use of the word “Allah” and were particularly upset when the ban was rescinded on Friday.

These Muslim groups have argued that allowing Christians to use the word “Allah” would cause confusion among Muslims.

They are also suspicious about the intent of Christians, with some accusing churches of trying to use the word “Allah” to convert Muslims.

However, the Catholic Church says the word “Allah” is being used by its members, especially those in Sabah and Sarawak, who are fluent only in the national language.

They also contend that “Allah” is the accurate translation for the word “God” as opposed to “Tuhan” which they use to mean “Lord.”

The church has also pointed to the fact that the word “Allah” is also used by Christians in the Middle East and in Indonesia.

Monday, 2 March 2009






TIME: 8.30PM – 10.30PM



University Teknologi MARA; Author of Document of Destiny: The Constitution of the Federation of Malaysia (2008) (Star Publications)


Co-editor of Sheridan & Groves , The Constitution of Malaysia , 5th Ed (2008)( MLJ) and Co-Counsel in The Tun Mustapha v Tun Adnan Roberts & Dato Pairin Sabah cases in 1985.


Research Director, Kairos Research Centre



Chairman, Kairos Research Centre

The unfolding Perak Constitutional Crisis and political events following the March 8, 2008 General Elections have raised some difficult challenges to democratic governance in Malaysia. Some of the contentious issues that have gained prominence include the following:

* How should the Federal and State Constitutions be interpreted in the context of the present political conflict?
* What is the scope of the Sultan's discretionary power to appoint or dismiss members of the State Executive Council?
* What are the moral and legal issues arising from party hopping?

Resolving the present Constitutional conflict will require an informed judgment that takes into account legal precedents both in Malaysia and in the Commonwealth. The purpose of this Forum is to provide a legal, political and ethical context to evaluate the plurality of views that have been expressed in the media.

The Forum will also provide theological and moral resources for Christians seeking to be responsible citizens who can engage realistically with the moral issues arising from the present political conflict.

Who Should Attend?

Pastors, church leaders, youth leaders and all concerned citizens who desire to gain an understanding of the vital issues that impact our nation.


Forthcoming Forums (be on the lookout for further details):

(1) Global Economic Crisis

(2) The Israel-Palestine Conflict

Sunday, 1 March 2009

another U turn by the government

another U turn by the government! don't these guys think first beforehand? don't they seriously consider the matter and seriosuly study it from every angle before saying something? note that the date of the gazette was in january although the announcement is in february. or are they u-turning just because the dakwah movement is objecting? seriously, these 'lapses' only show how short-sighted the government is. if i may use a word to describe them, it is 'flip-flop'. and no guesses who is involved - syed hamid albar from the home ministry and ex-law minister!


Home Ministry rescinds gazette on word “Allah”

KOTA KINABALU: The Home Ministry has rescinded a government gazette that allowed conditional use of the word "Allah" in Christian publications with immediate effect.

Admitting that there was a mistake in enacting the gazette that had resulted in confusion over the word in question, Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the government's decision to ban the use of the word 'Allah' in Herald - The Catholic Weekly remained in force until the court decided otherwise.

The government had recently ordered a ban on the Herald's Malay edition until the court makes its decision, as part of conditions for it to be allowed to continue publishing in English, Chinese and Tamil.

"There is a judicial review on the matter and we leave it to the court to decide. I think there was a mistake in enacting the gazette. When we make a mistake, I must admit that there is a need look at it thoroughly.

"As there was a it is better we make a correction," he told reporters, here on Saturday. Syed Hamid was commenting on the call by the Malaysian Islamic Da'wah Foundation (Yadim) earlier Saturday, urging the government to withdraw permission for the conditional use of the word "Allah" in Christian publications.

Its chairman Datuk Mohd Nakhaie Ahmad said the government had not acted wisely in allowing the use of the word in Christian publications which he said could anger Muslims not only in the country but also throughout the world.

A government gazette dated Feb 16 has stated that documents and publications relating to Christianity containing the world "Allah" are prohibited unless the words "FOR CHRISTIANITY" was written on their front covers.

The condition was contained in an order entitled 'Internal Security (Prohibition on Use of Specific Words on Document and Publication) Order 2009'.

Paragraph 2(1) of the order reads: The printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation and possession of any document and publication relating to Christianity containing the words Allah, Kaabah, Baitullah and solat are prohibited unless on the front cover of the document and publication are written with the words "FOR CHRISTIANITY". - Bernama