October 18, 2013

MALAYSIA: Muslim Leaders Hail Court Ruling On 'Allah' Word Usage By Non-Muslims (Infidels)

The Star, Malaysia
written by Rahmah Ghazali and Dina Murad
Monday October 14, 2013

PETALING JAYA - Muslim religious leaders lauded the Court of Appeal decision Monday not to allow Catholic weekly The Herald to use the word "Allah" in its Malay edition.

National Fatwa Council chairman Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor said the council supported the court's decision.

He said this was in line with a fatwa issued in 2008 stating that"Allah" was a sacred word specific to Islam and the Muslim community, and it should not be used by non-Muslims.

"We have always said that the word 'Allah' is exclusive to Muslims, so we accept the court decision as it is," he said when contacted.

PAS Dewan Ulama chief Datuk Harun Taib the decision was "accurate", although the party president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang had recently said it was not wrong for non-Muslims to use the term, provided it was not misused and misinterpreted.

"If we do not want it to be misused, why are they allowing them (the Christians) to use it?" Harun said.

He added that the Court of Appeal's decision made in accordance with Islam.

Commending the court decision, Ulama Muda Umno Fathul Bari Mat Jayaha said Muslims should now should focus on educating their children to strengthen their religious beliefs.

"Not only should we defend the term Allah, we should also go beyond this by educating our children about our faith so they won't be easily influenced," he said when contacted.

He said such efforts should be made in order to curb "pluralism" from spreading in the country.

"We should always fight against such attempts because we wouldn't want any calls saying that all religions are equal, in 50 years or 100 years to come," he said, adding that the Muslims should continue fighting for Islam.

Earlier Monday, the appellate court banned the Catholic Church from using the word "Allah" to refer to God in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its weekly newspaper, The Herald.

However, former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin played down the decision, saying that it was "not a big issue" because of the specific ruling.

"Maybe the ruling was made to avoid any sort of provocation and it is not based on Islam because Islam has no restrictions on Christians using the word Allah," he said.

He also said that both Muslim and Christian groups should not exaggerate the matter as the ruling was only confined to the Malay version of The Herald.

"The court did not say that they (non-Muslims) can't use it at all (in other forms)," he said.

Perkasa vice-president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin expressed his thankfulness over the court ruling, but added that the fight wasn't over yet.

"Alhamdulillah, there is one last leg to go, which is the Federal Court. The fight is not done yet.

"I think there will be an appeal but am optimistic about a decision in the Federal Court."

Zulkifli also encouraged the Church and Muslims in the peninsular to educate communities in Borneo about the ruling.

The 'Allah' row emerged in early 2009 when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke The Herald's permit for using the term, prompting the Church to sue the Government for violating its constitutional rights.

On Dec 31, 2009, the High Court, in a landmark decision, allowed the Church's application for a judicial review and lifted the Home Ministry's ban on the use of word.

This, however, triggered nationwide protests by various Muslim groups, including attacks against places of worship.

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