Hornbill Unleashed

October 15, 2013

Church to fight on after “Allah” decision, says court ignored evidence


The Court of Appeal’s decision today prohibiting The Herald from using the word “Allah” goes against all evidence on the issue from around the world, argued the Catholic weekly’s editor, Father Lawrence Andrew (pic).

Andrew said that the church could not reconcile with the basis of the ruling today. He pointed out that in 2011, Putrajaya in its 10-point solution to the issue had allowed the printing and distribution of the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia translation of the Bible.

“The government allowed the printing and distribution of the Malay Bible but in the same breath is challenging the word used in Herald. This is a serious contradiction,” he said.

He described as unfounded the argument that allowing the word to be used in The Herald would disrupt public order.

“This is baseless as we have been using the word for the last 18 years and it has not caused any inconvenience,” said Andrew.

He said that today’s verdict was not based on law or the Constitution, and stressed that the church will soldier on.

“We are not discouraged, we will appeal to the Federal Court,” he said.

Reverend Dr Herman Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM), who was also present in court, expressed disappointment with the ruling, saying that he did not agree with the argument that the word “Allah” was not integral to Christianity.

“The learned judges obviously did not take into consideration that the Christians in Sabah and Sarawak and Malay-speaking Christians in Peninsular Malaysia have been using the word even before Independence,” he argued.

He explained that Christians in the Middle East and Indonesia have been using the word “Allah”, adding that the word predates Islam.

“Even in the Quran it is mentioned that the Christians and Jews believe in Allah, which explains why PAS had also said that Christians can use the word.

“But here, the judges made a ruling without calling expert evidence. This is very disappointing,” added Shastri.

He said the CCM could not understand the “public order” argument accepted by the court.

“The people in East Malaysia have been using the word and they have been living in peace, so what public order are they talking about?

“Just because a few extremists are making a big issue of this does not make it a national security issue,” he said.

Shastri noted that Putrajaya’s 10-point solution to Christians in Sabah and Sarawak had not affected public order.

“If there was no fear of threat to public order then, how can the judges accept that argument now?” Shastri questioned, adding that his organisation would support the Catholic church’s move to appeal today’s decision.


  1. The half past six Appeal Court judges had not only ignored evidence but had also ignored the federal constitution and acted unlawfully in banning the use of the word Allah by Bumiputra Christians.

    Comment by Edwin Bosin. — October 15, 2013 @ 12:24 PM | Reply

    • With the unlawful decision these three stupid judges can now retire with a higher salary scale. By the time the Highest Court of Appeal allows the Catholic Church to appeal, these stupid judges could be six foot underground.

      Comment by Special Branch — October 15, 2013 @ 10:43 PM | Reply

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