The Catholic Church has urged all parties to cease commenting on the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims while a court decision is pending, for fear of sparking unrest.Reverend Father Jestus Pereira, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, said such statements “are stoking racial sentiments and creating religious tension” in Malaysia.
“We humbly request all parties to respectfully allow the judicial process to take its course and urge the relevant authorities to take the necessary steps to prevent any untoward incident,” Father Pereira said in a statement.
He said the church was also “gravely concerned” about recent statements.
“We exhort all to pray that peace and good sense will prevail,” he added.
The statement comes a day before an application to strike out the government’s appeal against the use of ‘Allah’ is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal.
On Dec 31, 2009, the Kuala Lumpur High Court in a landmark decision declared that the Home Ministry’s blanket ban on the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims is illegal.
Firebombs, paint and rocks were thrown at several churches following the decision, prompting security patrols to protect Christian places of worship.
Earlier this month, Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam questionedwhy the government was proceeding with its appeal, in spite of the 10-point solution signed by the prime minister on April 11, 2011.
According to this solution, the government will allow, without any restriction, the importation and publication of the Bible in all languages, including Bahasa Malaysia/Bahasa Indonesia, with the word ‘Allah’ in it.