Posted by: infideltaskforce | January 21, 2015

Malaysian Catholic Church loses legal tussle to use the word “Allah”

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia’s Catholic Church on Wednesday (Jan 21) lost all legal recourse to lift a ban that has prevented it from using the word “Allah” in the Malay-language publication of the its weekly journal, the Herald.

The five-member Federal Court bench unanimously dismissed an application for a review of its earlier decision not to grant leave for an appeal.

The decision will mark the end of a six-year legal battle by the Catholic Church on usage of the word “Allah”, which authorities have said is for the exclusive use of Muslims.

The Federal Court panel judged that there was no procedural unfairness.

But that is not the end of the road, said editor of the Herald Father Lawrence Andrew, even though it means he will never be able to print the word “Allah” in its Malay-language publications.

“What can we do? Our hands are tied right now. We live in this situation and we pray and hope that there will be an opening later. We hope and pray that the rights of minorities will not be trampled,” he said.

Malay-speaking Christians, who are a minority in Malaysia, have long been using the word “Allah” to describe God. But authorities felt that allowing its use would confuse Muslims into leaving their religion and disrupt peace in the country.

“The Muslims are not happy if non-Muslims are allowed to use Allah to refer to their god. It is not a blanket ban that non-Muslims cannot use the word ‘Allah’ at all,” said Zainol Rijal Abu Bakar, president of the Malaysia Muslim Lawyers Association.

The decision has been described as another missed opportunity by the federal court to uphold the federal constitution.

“Apex Court, Federal Court are reluctant to address political issues but this is more than a political issue,” said Gan Peng Sieu from the Malaysian Chinese Association, “Apex Court has a duty to defend the federal constitution. This issue has been prolonged, and it will be revisited and I’m sure the Federal Court will be haunted again.”

While its officially over for the Herald’s case, the impact of this decision will echo in the hearings of other pending cases, such as the seizure of Christian materials.

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