Malaysia

Allah ban only for Herald, nothing more, say Muslim lawyers

BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
October 17, 2013

Muslim lawyers have weighed in on the Allah decision to point out that the Court of Appeal ruling only prohibited the word from being used in the Catholic weekly, Herald, and nothing beyond that.

The Muslim Lawyers' Association of Malaysia responded to concerned Christians in Sabah and Sarawak who were worried that the ban also applied to the Bahasa Malaysia bible, the Al-Kitab.

The association stressed that Christians in East Malaysia are not affected by the ruling.

"It would be a misconception on the part of the public to deem that the court’s decision has placed a blanket prohibition on any section of the non-Muslim community from using the word Allah," its president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said in a statement today.

The court, he pointed out, decided that the minister who had issued the ban in 2009 had not "acted in any manner or way that merit judicial interference in his impugned decision".

"This simply means that the Archbishop was prohibited from using Allah in Herald, the Catholic weekly publication.

"However, a careful reading of the said judgment will also show that the Malaysian community is allowed to use the word Allah in the Qur’anic or Islamic reference to God, which is as pronounced in Surah Al Ikhlas,” Zainul said, referring to the 112th chapter of chapter of the Quran.

He urged the public to "read and understand" the judgment before drawing their own conclusions and making "unwarranted remarks" that could lead to more problems and confusion.

On Monday, the three-man Court of Appeal reversed a High Court ruling which had allowed the Herald to use the word Allah, saying that the word was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice.

The Herald has indicated that it will appeal the decision through the Federal Court. – October 17, 2013.