Hornbill Unleashed

October 15, 2013

‘We will worship this ‘Allah’ till kingdom come’

Lawrence Yong & Ram Anand

The Court of Appeal’s decision to prevent The Herald from using ‘Allah’ in its Malay publication as a reference to God has ruffled Christians – especially in Sabah and Sarawak – and non-Muslim groups.

In the aftermath of the decision, an East Malaysian archbishop has said that Christians in Sabah and Sarawak will worship ‘Allah’ and even challengingly asked the authorities, “What are you going to do about it?”

Gerakan became the first BN component party to come out with a statement on this matter – insisting that the opinions of all BN component parties should have been sought before the government took a stand on such matters.

Here is what various religious leaders and also politicians had had to say about the decision today:

Archbishop Bolly Lapok, chairperson of the Association of Churches, Sarawak:

NONEFor an outsider (the judge) to say the use of word ‘Allah’ is not integral is utterly irresponsible and grossly demeaning.

The church does not need an apologist from outside to decide what is integral or not integral to our faith.

It (the decision) is repugnant to the universal common sense.

In the meantime, Christians in Sabah and Sarawak will continue to reverently worship this ‘Allah’ till kingdom come, and we are asking the government, “What are you going to do about it?”

Sarawak Ministers’ Fellowship:

The Christian community at large in Sarawak is suddenly returned to a situation where every bumiputera Christian is under the potential threat of being deemed a lawbreaker or facing arrest.

Their offence would be committed by merely addressing god in their own language, a practice they have adhered to for hundreds of years.

The court decision also breached universally subscribed jurisprudential principles.

(We) appeal to all Christians to remain calm and not to resort to rash statements or acts in reaction to the court decision.

A Vaithilingam, former president, Malaysia Hindu Sangam:

The Muslims shouldn’t fear the non-Muslims. If Christians use the word ‘Allah’, will that impress Muslims to convert to Christianity?

mccbchst religious society conversion pc 220409 vaithilingamIslam is well protected by the constitution. Non-Muslims are not allowed to preach to Muslims, but Muslims can.

Who is going to read The Herald? Only Christians. Who is going to go to the churches? Only Christians. Are the Muslims going to come to the church?

I am very disappointed with the decision which did not consider that non-Muslim bumiputeras have used this word for generations and there is a reasonable population of them.

I hope the Federal Court will give due consideration to the fact that non-Muslims have used this word (Allah) for generations.

Tan Keng Liang, Kedah Gerakan Youth chief:

It’s a fact that Christians, in particular those in Sabah and Sarawak, have been using the word ‘Allah’ for a very long time.

Any decision by the government should take this into consideration.

If this issue continues without an amicable solution, it may create friction between the Christian and Muslim community in our country.


The government should always consult with all BN’s 13 components before making any material decisions.

The views of all communities in Malaysia must be taken into account before being endorsed as a national policy.

Malaysia Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST):

The MCCBCHST is shocked and dismayed by the Court of Appeal ruling today that the Christian weekly The Herald cannot use the word ‘Allah’ in their publications to refer to God.

What is more appalling is the reason given is that it comes within the scope of being prejudicial to public order. How could this be, asThe Herald is only meant for circulation among Christians?

What is prohibited by Article 11(4) (of the Federal Constitution) is that no religious doctrine or belief can be propagated among persons professing the religion of Islam.

The usage of the word ‘Allah’ all over the world and in West Malaysia over the past 200 years has not caused any confusion- why only now it may cause (confusion) in Malaysia?

The court’s finding that the usage of the world ‘Allah’ not being an integral part of the Christian faith is astounding.

NONEOne of the disturbing part of the decision appears when judge, Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali (left), interpreted Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution to mean that the word “peace and harmony” in the act is to protect the sanctity of Islam and to insulate against any threat faced or any possible and probable threat to the religion of Islam.

The Herald case, the publication is only meant for Christians. There is no threat or suggestion of propagation of it to Muslims.

Hiherto the words peace and harmony have been interpreted to mean that other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony.

Article 3(4) states that nothing in Article 3 derogates from any other provision of this constitution. This means Section 3 cannot be employed to curtail any other provision in the constitution, including Article 11 relating to freedom of religion.

The Supreme Court in Che Omar Bin Che Soliv P.P (1988) had held that Article 3 does not affect other provisions of the constitution and if it was intended, then the constitution would have stated that any law contrary to the injunction of Islam will be void.

Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM):

In a wide-ranging decision, all Christian publications in Bahasa Malaysia would appear to be affected by this ruling. By stating the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity, the court has totally ignored the position of our East Malaysian Bumiputra and Orang Asli Christians, who constitute 60 percent of the churches in Malaysia who are Bahasa Malaysia-speaking.

This decision is yet another erosion and infringement of the constitutional protection to the freedom of religious communities to profess and practice their faith and to manage their own affairs.

In what would appear to be a re-interpretation of Article 3(1) of the federal constitution, it would now appear that a minority religion can only be professed and practised in Malaysia to an extent where it does not upset the “peace and harmony” of adherents of the majority religion.

This (decision) will only undermine further the unity of Malaysians.

We expect the prime minister and the cabinet to continue to honour the 10-point solution with respect to the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Al-Kitab. We shall, therefore, continue to use the word Allah in our worship, liturgy, prayers and educational materials in the Church.

Bishop Dr Thomas Tsen, president of the Sabah Council of Churches:

It is not fair to say that using ‘Allah’ would confuse Muslim practitioners.

No, we have always called our father in heaven ‘Allah Bapak’ or the Lord God ‘Tuhan Allah’… this is something that is very dear and deep in our hearts and cannot be changed. It is our right to choose how we want to worship our God.

We are sad and disappointed when we heard this current ruling. Although we have prepared for it in our hearts and mind, we feel that this is something which is confusing to the people… it challenges the government’s sincerity to see our people united.

It is not consistent with the 10 points agreement.

We just pray for justice to be done.


  1. The bigots in Umno Baru even wanted the Christians to ship out or migrate to other countries if we were unhappy with the stupid ruling of the Court of Appeal judges? Umno Baru dominated BN should ship out of Sarawak and Sabah and the Christians in Malaysia shall defy the ban. What are you waiting for?

    Comment by Moses — October 15, 2013 @ 6:31 PM | Reply

    • My family, myself and many of our fellow Muslims brethren certainly did not feel proud or elated with the Court of Appeal’s ruling banning the use of Allah to refer to God by Christians and non Muslims. We agreed with the fact and with our Arab brethren that the word Allah predated Islam. Apart from a hidden or political agenda, we do not know what Umno Baru was thinking or up to. It is a sad day for the nation.

      Comment by Roman — October 17, 2013 @ 11:25 AM | Reply

  2. The Home Minister must show proof that Malays and Muslims were confused or had been systematically converted to Christians just because the Catholics and Christians had been using the word Allah to refer to God in their Bahasa Malaysia bibles and literature or articles. I think it is a waste of time to argue with stupid people in Umno or Home ministry. Why don’t we just pull out from Malaysia and let them do whatever they want. Are the Dayaks and Christians slaves of Umno?

    Comment by Irene Kana — October 15, 2013 @ 5:42 PM | Reply

  3. United we stand. Our God reigns and shall reign for eternity.Yes, we’ll pray to our God Almighty in our usual and exact ways as we’ve been praying since the times of our forefathers, for generations, till His Kingdom comes. Yes! exactly till His Kingdom comes. No one should dictate to us how we should address Him. Halleuia and Amen.
    “You may think everything, you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives”
    (Proverbs 16.2)

    Comment by streetwalker — October 15, 2013 @ 12:59 PM | Reply

  4. Let us remind the BIGOTs in Perkasa and UMNO Baru that ALLAH and Islam need no protection at all from the judges who were running dogs of the highly arrogant, racist, corrupted, abusive, repressive and oppressive UMNO Baru controlled BN government.

    ” Shape up or ship out, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia tells the Christian community, saying they must must accept the supremacy of Islam in Malaysia. UMNO Baru which is only make up of Malays and whose religion is only Islam is indisputably the most CORRUPTED political party in the world. Does that make the Malays and Muslims in Malaysia the most corrupted in the world just because of the corrupted in UMNO Baru? How would a group of most corrupted Muslims in Malaysia want to defend ALLAH and make Islam the supreme religion in our multiracial country?

    All right thinking and God fearing Muslims must be united with Christians and all faiths in spirituality to protest against the Appellate judges. UMNO Baru leaders cannot be charged for corruption because of their stupidity or carelessness and also because they are the self appointed defender of Allah, Islam and the nation?

    Sarawakians , especially the Christian community must now get rid of UMNO Baru controlled BN in the coming election and together with Sabah, we must hold a referendum to decide if we should remain in Malaysia. Our past and present leaders had compromised the 18 points agreement we had with the federation of Malaya and inadvertently allowed the elites in UMNO Baru to colonise us and even dictate over our religious belief and practices.

    The Appellate judges had set a very bad precedent when they overruled the High Court’s decision on the use of Allah. The highly arrogant, racist, corrupted, abusive, repressive and oppressive UMNO Baru controlled BN can only rely on the “discretion” of the Home Ministry to decide what constitute a threat to peace and harmony and poses a threat to national security. In future, any society or individuals can be ruled unlawful in the name of protecting Islam, peace and harmony.

    The Appellate judges had became experts in Christianity and decided that the use of Allah by Christians and other faiths to refer to God had confused Muslim in Malaysia and would jeopardise existing peace and harmony in the country without having the same concern if Christians in Sabah and Sarawak will now be confused because of the ban in the use of the word in their daily worship of God in bahasa language.

    Let us also remind the BIGOTs in Perkasa and UMNO Baru that the Bumiputra community in Sabah and Sabah had been using the word Allah long before Malaysia exist and that all Christian mission schools had opened its door to all faiths and races and many of the past and present Muslims leaders had benefited from education provided by Christian mission schools. They had never been confused or converted to Christianity.

    1Malaysia is dead . Sabah and Sarawak must move on by declaring to be independent otherwise 1.6 million Christians in East Malaysia will be declared to be outlaws if they defy the stupid ruling of the Appeal Court. In Malaysia people who acted stupidly cannot be faulted at all especially they are bidding for UMNO Baru.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — October 15, 2013 @ 12:10 PM | Reply

    • Does Malaysia and Sarawak and Sabah belong to a small group of bigots and Umno Baru? Where do Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia and Perkasa want Christians in Sabah and Sarawak migrate to when Sabah and Sarawak were never one of the 14 states in Malaysia? We are equal partners in Malaysia and we shall decide if we want in or out of Malaysia at any time. Umno Baru had colonised Sabah and also Sarawak through Taib Mahmud and PBB dominated BN. It is time Sarawakians get rid of PBB and Taib Mahmud led BN in the coming election and vote for an independent Sarawak led by Pakatan Rakyat and or a new coalition of parties.

      Comment by Bidayuh Headmaster — October 15, 2013 @ 1:11 PM | Reply

  5. This is what we have come to for joining Malaysia. Umno has taken over the country and if we think this is extreme, we ain’t seen nothing yet. Next they will be taken the road to ethic cleansing. We have seen it before in other countries like Bosnia. For those who voted the BN to power, may Allah forgive you. Its time we think of going independent.

    Comment by Lakia — October 15, 2013 @ 11:31 AM | Reply

  6. It is clear that the decision was seen in administrative light, not a theological prism. Christians will continue to worship their god whatever it’s name. We willingly await a federal court decision.

    Comment by robinhood — October 15, 2013 @ 10:50 AM | Reply

  7. It is unfair to the people of Sarawak.
    Timr to use English as medium of instruction in Sarawak so that the Christians there could use English Bible.

    Comment by alvis — October 15, 2013 @ 10:35 AM | Reply

  8. So, the Court of Appeal has just made its decision to prevent The Herald from using the word ‘ALLAH’ in its Malay Publication. Thus, the first time in world history that the UMNO BARU/BN government has given the Authority to decide as to how christians should worship their God and practice the christian faith.

    Christians may be shocked at the ruling but it’s okay as whatever has happened, it has a specific reason as the Almighty God has his own plan too.


    ( Two good friends from childhood boarded early flight today from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur. One is Muslim and another is Christian and both are working in KL after having short leave)

    Air hostesses: Addressing the passengers, ” Please fasten your seat belts and sit upright. Oh, btw christian passengers, please leave your ‘ALLAH’ behind.

    The christian friend: “what does she mean by that?”
    The muslim friend: ” Oh, it probably means you may use ‘Allah’ in Sarawak and Sabah and but not in
    West Malaysia. BTW, if you still insist you can use the word in Kelantan as Nik Aziz
    Christian friend: ” Oh I see!

    Muslim friend: “Be patient, bro and you can still worship your God'”Allah” in your heart, to play safe of
    Christian friend: “You’re right. Ayway, christians will pursue the case to Federal Court.”
    Muslim friend: Agreed.

    Comment by Justice Lover — October 15, 2013 @ 9:53 AM | Reply

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