ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
M'sian court rules against 'Allah' usage by the Catholic church
Publication Date : 14-10-2013
The Appeals Court in Malaysia has disallowed the Malaysian Catholic church from using the term “Allah” in its weekly publication, on grounds that it will cause confusion in the majority-Muslim community.
In the judgment on Monday, a bench of three judges, headed by Mohamed Apandi Ali, unanimously decided that the government is right to ban the word from being used in The Herald, a weekly publication by the catholic church, reversing a high court judgment in 2009.
He said the judges found that the word “Allah” is not an intergral part of faith in Christianity.
“Such usage, if allowed, will inevitably cause confusion within the community,” Mohamed read in a summary of judgment.
The Malaysian government and churches have been embroiled in a legal tussle over the use of the term “Allah” since 2008.
The Church argued that the word has been used in Malay-language Christian publications all this while without problems and banning the word would affect the worship of 1.6 million Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, who read the bible in Malay.
On the other hand, the government insisted that the word is exclusive to Islam.
Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Herald, said the church will appeal against the appellate court’s ruling at the apex court.
“We are greatly disappointed and dismayed,” he said to reporters after the ruling. “That the word is exclusive to Islam is against the way of evidence not only here, but throughout the world.”