Hornbill Unleashed

July 11, 2013

“Allah” appeal irrational, illogical, says Catholic church

Filed under: religion — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

EnlightenmentV. ANBALAGAN

The Catholic Church will argue that the Najib administration’s appeal against a High Court decision allowing a church newspaper to use the word “Allah” should be struck out because it is irrational and illogical.

A source familiar with the case told The Malaysian Insider that the appeal was an academic and futile exercise by the government.

The reason: a list of promises given by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in April 2011 just before the Sarawak state elections explicitly allowed Catholics to use the word “Allah”.

With one eye on the Christian vote in the East Malaysian state, Najib offered a 10-point solution to the problems faced by Christians in practising their religion freely as provided under the Federal Constitution.

Among other things, the prime minister said Christians were free to bring in and use Malay-language Bibles.

These Bibles contained the word “Allah” and had previously been seized by the authorities, sparking outrage by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak who worship in Bahasa Malaysia and had used the word “Allah” for centuries.

The position taken by the Catholic Church is that given that the 10-point solution allows the importation of books where the word “Allah” is used, it is illogical for the government to challenge its use in the Catholic Herald, a weekly publication for the flock.

The church filed an application on Monday to strike out the government’s appeal- the latest saga in the long-drawn battle between the church and the state over the right to use the word “Allah”.

The controversy began when the then Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar signed an order prohibiting the Herald from using the word “Allah” in its publication.

This led to a suit by Archbishop Murphy Pakiam in March 2009 in which he named the home ministry and the government as respondents.

Among other things, the church sought a declaration that Syed Hamid’s decision was illegal and that the word “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.

On Dec 31, 2009, judge Lau Bee Lan allowed the church’s judicial  review application and lifted the home minister’s ban, declaring that the minister’s ban was illegal.

The weekly, published in four languages, has been using the word “Allah” as a translation for God in its Malay-language section, but the government argued that “Allah” should be used exclusively by Muslims.

Meanwhile, lawyer S. Selvaraja, a counsel for the church, said today that the Court of Appeal would notify all parties soon on the date to hear the striking out application.

Earlier, he had attended case management before the court registrar.

Though the Catholic Church brought the suit against the government, other Christians and even the Sikh community have made it clear that the word “Allah” should not be exclusively for Muslims, pointing out its long usage in Malaysia and other countries.


  1. Right thinking and rational Muslims will not support the Allah ban as it is just a word used by all faiths for many centuries to refer to God It was never exclusively for the Muslims and for the Malays. The issue in hand has nothing to do with Islam but with certain powerful Muslim politicians and their stooges who were bent in manipulating the issue for their own political expediency.

    Comment by Ahmad Madon — July 11, 2013 @ 12:59 PM | Reply

  2. The promise was from Najib and not from UMNO !!

    Comment by gagojackman — July 11, 2013 @ 11:53 AM | Reply

    • Isn’t he the President of UMNO and our PM as well? His promise is the promise of UMNO and the BN Gov’t to the Rakyat and there’s no flip side to that unless he specifically say it is his own promise and non other!

      Comment by brian — July 11, 2013 @ 1:20 PM | Reply


    The Taib PBB UMNO BN regime has built many dams to help his family companies and foreign partners (including Malaya) to exploit Sarawak resources. This report is on how people can construct their own hydro-electricity schemes when Taib’s grand projects seem to have by-passed all the needy people…. The ruling elite get rich at the expense of all the poor.

    The other scheme to use gotong royong to create gas plants from human and vegetation waste, pool their land together create food bank projects by growing food together to improve their health and diet. All “doable” projects

    Comment by anon — July 11, 2013 @ 11:26 AM | Reply

  4. Dear Sarawakians,

    It may appear to be a waste of time to criticise SESCO and that abominable Norwegian CEO but here’s something you can also do to preserve some of your precious food as the light will go out again! You can bet your bottom, it will.

    Try this …

    Comment by dont forget Mother Nature — July 11, 2013 @ 10:50 AM | Reply

  5. UMNO politicians and some from PAS had been trying to use religion as their platform to win votes. They would not care if their actions would lead to religious disharmony and mistrust.

    Comment by Ahmad Madon — July 11, 2013 @ 10:00 AM | Reply

    • True. Blind Faith indeed.

      Comment by awas — July 11, 2013 @ 10:30 AM | Reply

  6. By logic, only a Muslim, an a very knowledgeable learned authoritative one or group should. This shud apply to other beliefs whose adherents faith are honest.

    In Malaysia a politician and an ex-army one jets around on his prayer mat and tell people what to believe. Which of course is a lot of bull.

    We shudnt blame Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc for the sins the politicians commit. Its gotten very bad in Burma and all know it.

    There’s nothing wrong with any Malaysian’s religious/cultural beliefs.

    There are plenty of wrongs with the government of Malaysia where the rudiments of decency and truth are blatantly disparaged and where justice is skewed by judges to serve their political masters.

    And in this solemn month of Ramadhan, look around you, and see the hypocrites and how the corporatist capitalists are screwing everybody away!

    Comment by creation — July 11, 2013 @ 9:59 AM | Reply

    • I wish all Muslims a blessed and holy Ramadhan. I am a Christian working in a near 100% Muslim organization. I do not listen much to what they say but I judge them with what they do. The quieter ones work harder and visit the surau more often. This one guy is close to me , hardworking, reserved and visits the surau religiously. Close to me but he never invited me to follow him …… this is the real Muslim who preaches more on deeds than rhetoric. Christians, muslims, Hindus or Buddhists will garner more followers through amalan than amaran tq

      Comment by robinhood — July 11, 2013 @ 8:12 PM | Reply

  7. Agreed. Both sides should respect each other faith and it is totally illogical to impose one’s belief on others.

    Comment by batonserin — July 11, 2013 @ 8:44 AM | Reply

  8. Christianity and Islam are two different religions although both are monotheistic and rooted from the same reservoir. Why not just leave the bible to Christians who have the premise and locus standi to interpret it (because according to Malaysian authorities only a muslim has the locus standi to interpret the Quran). A Christian bible will only go on print after an imprimatur (approval) by the bishop , meaning it is free of dogmatic and ideological error. Could a person outside Christianity contradict the imprimatur ( based on the aforesaid premise that only a muslim may interpret the quran).

    Comment by i knowit all — July 11, 2013 @ 8:16 AM | Reply

    • The problem is, Malaysian Muslims do not see eye to eye with the rest of the world on this issue. Perhaps they also do not agree with the interpretation of the Quran by the rest of the Muslim world?

      Comment by brian — July 11, 2013 @ 1:16 PM | Reply

      • Islam in this nation has all the resource and manpower to be supreme. I don’t think using a word which is common to all and sundry will erode the supremacy of islam in Malaysia. A full minister is in charge of islam in this country so no worry for Christians to utter the blessed name of god in a word they are most comfortable with ……

        Comment by robinhood — July 13, 2013 @ 9:20 PM | Reply

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