Hornbill Unleashed

October 29, 2013

Sabah lawyers offer to stand with Catholic Church in appeal against Allah ruling

Christians attend a church mass in Petaling Jaya. Lawyers have argued that the October 14 Court of Appeal ruling on the word Allah applies to Christians nationwide. - The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 28, 2013.V. ANBALAGAN

Christians attend a church mass in Petaling Jaya. Lawyers have argued that the October 14 Court of Appeal ruling on the word Allah applies to Christians nationwide. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 28, 2013.The Sabah Law Association (SLA) wants to stand side by side with the Catholic Church when the Allah case goes before the Federal Court, a sure sign of the widening impact of restricting the word to Muslims only.

The SLA met on Saturday and made the decision after concluding that the Court of Appeal ruling on October 14 had violated the constitutional rights of Christians in Sabah.

“The SLA will apply to be part of the proceedings in the Federal Court,” a member of the association told The Malaysian Insider. (more…)

Home Ministry says it wanted to make sure no “Allah” in seized Herald copies

The Herald is currently appealing against the Court of Appeal ruling prohibiting it from using the word Allah in its Bahasa Malaysia edition. - The Malaysian Insider pic, October 28, 2013.RITA JONG

The Herald is currently appealing against the Court of Appeal ruling prohibiting it from using the word Allah in its Bahasa Malaysia edition. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 28, 2013.The Home Ministry today said that the seizure of the Catholic weekly Herald in Sabah last week was only for inspection.

Defending its move to stop the distribution of 2,000 copies of the newsletter to churches in Sabah, the ministry said it was to ensure that the latest issue did not contain the word Allah, in line with the Court of Appeal ruling on October 14.

“However the copies were released for circulation today after the inspection found that the word Allah was not used in this issue,” the ministry said on its official Facebook page this morning. (more…)

UMNO-BN IS NOW DANGEROUS! For their own safety, Christians,non-Malays must ALERT the world

UMNO-BN IS NOW DANGEROUS! For their own safety, Christians,non-Malays must ALERT the worldJ. D. Lovrenciear

It is just unthinkable what’s next, given the “Endless Possibilities” of the PM’s minted slogan, in so far as the assault on the Catholics continues.

The latest freezing of 2,000 copies of the Herald newspapers by authorities is more than injustice.

Denying thousands of Catholic families in East Malaysia their weekly news bulletin on faith matters, as they travel from far and near to observe their obligatory Sunday service, is definitely totally unacceptable to any fair, just and right-minded citizen. (more…)

October 28, 2013

Sarawak BN leader wants home ministry officers to stop acting on their own accord


Sarawak Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing (pic)  has put the stop order on the distribution of Catholic weekly Herald in Sabah to Home Ministry officials making decisions in haste without consulting their political leaders.

“They have obviously taken matters into their own hands. I suggest that political leaders must be consulted first before taking action on matters which has negative socio-political impact.

“It is us, the politicians, who will bear the brunt of criticisms, not these government officers,” Masing, a senior Christian minister in the Sarawak cabinet and also president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), pointed out. (more…)

October 27, 2013

Putrajaya stops the distribution of latest Herald in Sabah


Putrajaya has stopped the distribution of some 2,000 copies of this week’s edition of the Catholic weekly Herald in Sabah, raising tension between the Catholic Church and the Barisan Nasional government.

Herald editor Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew told The Malaysian Insider that the forwarding company was informed by the Home Ministry that the copies were not to be distributed.

“As always, the Home Ministry will pick up a copy for vetting purposes when it arrives in Kota Kinabalu.

“But this time, after picking up the copy, the authorities informed the forwarding company on Friday morning that the consignment cannot be distributed,” he said. (more…)

October 23, 2013

Playing God, the Umno way?

Charles Santiago

The only person who does not seem to be observing what’s happening in the country is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Malaysia seems to have developed a mania for negative publicity. The latest is of course the recent court ruling, banning non-Muslims from using the word Allah.

Or that’s what I understood until some cabinet ministers mouthed confusing statements, saying the ban is only binding on non-Muslims in West Malaysia. Then others joined the chorus by adding it was only meant for the Catholic publication, The Herald. (more…)

October 20, 2013

‘Allah’ verdict flawed in law and in fact

Kim Quek

The Court of Appeal’s unanimous decision to ban the use of ‘Allah’ by Catholic weekly The Herald is constitutionally flawed and factually unsustainable.

In overturning the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision, Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali has imputed extra meaning without basis to distort the interpretation of Article 3 of the federal constitution that grants freedom of religious practice.

There is also not an iota of evidence that could have supported the home minister’s order to prohibitThe Herald from using ‘Allah’ in its Malay edition. (more…)

One God, one name

Phlip Rodrigues

The Christians have lost the fight to use the word Allah not because the Divine Power banned its use but because Man said so. A three-man bench of the Court of Appeal ruled that the Catholic Church cannot use Allah in the Malay section of its weekly newspaper, the Herald. It struck down an earlier ruling of the High Court four years ago that the church had the “constitutional right” to use it on grounds that other religions can practise their faith in “peace and harmony”.

But the federal government appealed the ruling and it was a foregone conclusion that the church would lose in a higher court. There is only one avenue left and that is for the Catholic Church to appeal the judgment in the Federal Court, the highest court in the land. It would be a tougher battle for the church to do so because it will again be up against the same government bent on protecting the interests of the majority race and its religion. (more…)

“we have become a nation we were not”.

With ‘Allah’ ruling, ex-minister sees bleak future for MalaysiaZaid Ibrahim

An appellate court’s decision that “Allah” was exclusive to Muslims suggests that Malaysians’ only recourse for civil liberties and freedom was to seek these elsewhere, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said today.

The former de facto law minister said the Court of Appeal’s ruling that barred the Catholic Church from describing its god with the Arabic word “Allah” in its Herald weekly paper revealed a “hopeless” situation and showed that “we have become a nation we were not”.

“For those who are not happy with the decision; who want to live in a free country and who value freedom, we should make plans to migrate,” Zaid told The Malay Mail Online. (more…)

Why Mill and Orwell matter: Reflections on the Allah judgment and the political health of the nation

Herald Allah

Chris Chong

The Court of Appeal decision to uphold the ban by the government on the use of the word Allah in the Herald publication is a sad day in the history of the nation.

No, I am not going to touch on the merits of the judgment or why it is an injustice to Christians who use Bahasa Malaysia in their worship. There are many who have written (or writing) on both these issues right now.

What I want to do here is to look at the larger picture of this decision on the political health of our nation with the help of the J.S. Mill (the 19th century English philosopher) and George Orwell (the English writer). (more…)

The Malaysian “Allah” ban is about putting minorities in their place

Nesrine MalikHerald Allah

“Allah” means God, unless you are a non-Muslim Malaysian, in which case you have to find another word.

After a recent court ruling in the country, Allah can now be used only to refer to the Muslim God, and non-Muslims (mainly the Malaysian Christian Catholic community and press) have been banned from using it.

It is a decision that has inflamed opinion among minority religions and disheartened Muslims.

Apart from all the practical implications of this (re-printing Bibles and so on), there are other intangible but more heartfelt grievances. (more…)

October 19, 2013

Allah, the Malay God

allahMohd Izzudin Saedon

It is believed in Malaysia that ‘Tuhan’ is the general Malay word for the deity of any religion.

The recent Malaysian court ruling banning the word “Allah” from a Catholic newspaper denies religious freedom of the minority Christian community in Malaysia. How true is this?

Christians make up less than 10% of the Malaysian population. Although the percentage is higher than Hindus, the religion is a little uncommon among the native Malay Muslims, especially to those living in the peninsula. As the more familiar religions of Buddhism and Hinduism refer their deity in words alien to the native Malay Muslims, it is unofficially known that the word Allah denotes only the Muslim “Tuhan” or God in Malay. (more…)

‘Allah’ Means ‘God,’ Unless You’re a Christian in Malaysia

Herald AllahCharlie Campbell

Court decides only Muslims can use the term “Allah” in what critics say is an attempt to appease right-wing extremist supporters of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak

“Allah” can no long be used by a Christian newspaper in Malaysia to refer to “god” after a landmark court ruling on Monday, reversing a decision made four years previously that maintained the term transcended different faiths.

“It is my judgment that the most possible and probable threat to Islam, in the context of this country, is the propagation of other religions to the followers of Islam,” said Chief Judge Mohamed Apandi Ali, announcing the change. (more…)

Barisan Nasional lawmakers in Borneo assessing damage done by Allah decision

The state government is concerned over the impact of the Allah ruling on the locals in Sarawak, such as those seen here participating in a service at a Kuching church. The Malaysian Insider pic, October 14,  2013.JENNIFER GOMEZ AND DESMOND DAVIDSON

The state government is concerned over the impact of the Allah ruling on the locals in Sarawak, such as those seen here participating in a service at a Kuching church. The Malaysian Insider pic, October 14, 2013.Hours after the Court of Appeal banned the word Allah in Herald, Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers in Sabah and Sarawak began scrambling to assess the political impact of the court decision in the two Borneo states.

In Sarawak, attention is now on the Christian Dayak rural seats that shored up the ruling coalition in the May general election. (more…)

Realizing his blunder, Najib runs to EXEMPT Sabah S’wak from Allan ban:Critics UNCONVINCED

Realizing his blunder, Najib runs to EXEMPT Sabah S'wak from Allan ban:Critics UNCONVINCEDMaria Begum

In what appears to be an urgent response to allay growing unrest among Christians in Malaysia, Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi has clarified that a ban on the use of the Arabic word Allah only applied to Catholic magazine, the Herald. Other Christian publications including the Malay-language Al-Kitab, which is widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, would not be affected.

To effect this, Junaidi said Prime Minister Najib Razak could introduce a Bill in Parliament to exempt Sabah and Sarawak from the Allah ban. This way, the government would not be seen to be usurping the powers of the court and the legal system – (more…)

Jakim, simply being stunningly stupid

CT Ali

If there is any threat to Allah, it comes from Umno because of the manner it does its politics, which is totally against what Islam professes.

Islam, according to Department of Islamic Development (Jakim), is under threat and Muslims are being denied of their rights as Muslims.

And if Islam and Muslims are under threat, then Allah too is under threat! So says Jakim, but which Allah and which Islam is Jakim talking about?

Is it the Islam that began when Prophet Muhammad started to preach the revelation from Allah in the year 610 AD? The Islam that had it’s tentative beginning from Medina in 622 AD where Muhammad first established his political and religious authority in accordance with Islamic jurisprudence? (more…)

October 18, 2013

‘Allah’ ruling – what are we going to do about it?

Nathaniel Tan

I like the saying “Don’t get mad, get organised”.

I find repetition and predictability extremely boring, but I cannot help but belabour this point (this will unlikely be my last article to do so) because its relevance to an extremely influential part of Malaysian society screams at me daily.

One of the main reasons I like the saying is because it replaces the better known “Don’t get mad, get even.” Such a sentiment is certainly understandable among people who feel like they have been wronged. Nonetheless, it is a sentiment that if practised universally, can only lead to the Gandhi-esque conclusion of leaving the whole world blind. (more…)

Sarawak Christian BN leaders rebel

FMT Staff

Administration remains cautious, refusing to comment on the banning of Christians from using ‘Allah’ in their prayers until it sees the written judgment

KUCHING: Christian BN leaders here have rebelled and declared that they will continue to mouth the term “Allah” in their worship irrespective of the latest ruling by the Court of Appeal barring its use.

Whilst BN leaders in Sabah have kept mum, in Sarawak the affront has been widely reported.

The majority of Sarawak’s population are Christians while in Sabah although on record Christians are a minority, in reality many of the outwardly Muslims are closet practitioners. (more…)

Court of Appeal’s findings on Allah issue “unnatural”, says Malaysian Bar


The Malaysian Bar expressed deep concern over the Court of Appeal’s ban on the word Allah in the Catholic weekly, Herald, notably in the way the court interpreted the provisions on the status of Islam and other religions in the Federal Constitution.

The Bar also questioned the court’s quick research on the Internet in coming to the conclusion that the word was not integral to the Christian faith.

In a strongly-worded statement, Bar president Christopher Leong (pic) highlighted among others the “unnatural” way in which the three-man bench interpreted Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution on the status of Islam and other religions. (more…)

Word “Allah” is not exclusive to Islam

allahThe National

Like the history of most religions, the history of Islam is complex and much debated. But there are a few elements that are not in dispute, chief among them that the God of the Quran is the same as the God of the Bible and of the Torah before it.

The mission of Islam, as expressed in the Quran, is not to bring a new faith, but to update the messages of the monotheistic faiths before it.

It is therefore surprising to see, as The National reports , that a Malaysian court has ruled that a Christian newspaper may not use the word “Allah” to refer to God. (more…)

After the Allah decision, Putrajaya in futile bid to salvage Malaysia

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with Christian leaders during Christmas last year. - The Malaysian Insider pic, October 17, 2013.


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with Christian leaders during Christmas last year. 

There is irrationality and irony in the Cabinet’s decision that the word Allah can be used in worship and in the Bahasa Malaysia bibles in Sabah and Sarawak – because one cannot compartmentalise religion by regions.

Nor can the Cabinet override the court’s decision.

Or the fact that the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald, is actually meant for East Malaysians where most of the Catholics speak and read the national language more than anywhere else in the country. (more…)

Malaysia and monotheism

Herald AllahThe Economist

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? It is never hard to find to devout followers of either faith who answer that question with a resounding negative.

Evangelical Christians were dismayed when former United States president George W. Bush welcomed a group of Muslims to the White House with the words: “We see in Islam a religion that traces its origins back to God’s call on Abraham. We share your belief in God’s justice…”

Actually, the “same God” question is not one that a monotheist can meaningfully ask.

The question does make perfect sense for an atheist (who thinks that all gods are human constructs), for a polytheist, and indeed for a henotheist—a member of a tribe that worships one deity but accepts there may be others. (more…)

October 17, 2013

Court wrong in Allah decision, says law expert


The Court of Appeal was wrong in its decision banning Christian weekly Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in Bahasa Malaysia, said a constitutional law expert.

“By linking religious rights under the chapter on fundamental liberties with Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution which effectively makes Islam the benchmark for everybody, this runs counter to the general meaning of Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution itself,” Dr Abdul Aziz Bari told Malaysiakini today.

“The plain meaning of Article 3(1) is simply this: that despite the fact that Islam has been made official religion, non-Muslims may go on practising their religions freely without restriction,” said the former Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) law lecturer. (more…)

Christians not surprised at Allah ban, it was Umno trying to gain favour, says BBC


The ban on the word Allah is seen as ruling party Umno’s efforts to boost its Islamic credentials and win back votes, said BBC News in a commentary yesterday.

Its Malaysian correspondent Jennifer Pak observed that yesterday’s Court of Appeal ruling which banned the use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald, had not surprised Christians in the country who make up about 9% of the population.

“Many of them believe that the case stems from a tight race between the governing Malay-Muslim party, UMNO, and the opposition Islamic party, PAS,” she offered.

“It’s an issue that crops up in the government-linked media ahead of an election and promptly dwindles after the vote.” (more…)

Court of Appeal judges influenced by right-wing forces in Allah issue, says PAS lawmaker


An opposition lawmaker believes that the three Court of Appeal judges were influenced by right-wing Muslim groups when they unanimously banned the word Allah from being used in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald.

PAS’s Parit Buntar MP, Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic), an advocate of interfaith dialogue, said the decision was a setback to interfaith relations and that right-wing forces were responsible for the current predicament.

Malay rights groups Perkasa, Jalur Tiga and Pertubuhan Pembela Islam have been at the forefront of protests against the use of the word Allah in this issue. (more…)

October 16, 2013

‘Allah ruling betrayed Malaysia Agreement’

Winston Way

A senior lawyer and Sarawak PKR chairman claims the Court of Appeal had ignored historical facts which pre-date Malaysia and religious freedom enshrined in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.

The Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn a High Court ruling allowing Christians to use the term ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of The Herald publication has left a “bitter taste” among the Christians in Sarawak.

Describing the decision as a “betrayal” against the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the spirit of their forefathers, Baru Bian, a senior lawyer here, said the verdict was “an illogical and preposterous decision”. (more…)

Appeal Court inept judgment based on internet research

Herald AllahNg Kam Weng

The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on yesterday over-ruled the earlier decision by Justice Lau Bee Lan in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to allow Christians (Herald) to use the word Allah.

The wide ramifications of the Appeal Court decision calls for careful analysis to ascertain whether it is based on accurate facts which are foundational for a coherently argued and impartial judgment.

I shall focus on the judgment delivered by one of the three judges, Justice Mohd Nawawi bin Salleh, since it ostensibly examines the facts pertaining to the legitimacy of Christians (the Herald) using the word Allah.


Allah is not exclusive to Islam, says Emirati editorial

Emirati editorial

An United Arab Emirates (UAE) newspaper has expressed its astonishment with the Court of Appeal’s decision yesterday to ban the Catholic weekly Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God, emphasising that the word was “not exclusive to Islam”.

The National, an government-owned UAE newspaper which is based in Abu Dhabi, said that yesterday’s court decision appears to be “wrong”.

“In a fellow Muslim country with substantial Christian and Hindu populations, this feels like the wrong decision,” said the editorial. (more…)

Allah ruling could cut BN’s support in Sabah, Sarawak

 UPKO party president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok. - The Malaysian Insider pic, October 15, 2013.V. ANBALAGAN

UPKO party president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 15, 2013.The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) could lose its solid vote bank in both Sabah and Sarawak with yesterday’s Court of Appeal ruling which  banned the use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald.

Sabahans and Sarawakians, who form most of Malaysia’s 2.8 million Christians, have continued to support BN despite the coalition continuing to lose ground heavily in the past two general elections. But they are spooked with the interpretation of the ruling which suggested there is a blanket ban on the use of the word Allah in Bahasa Malaysia or native language Christian publications. Other minorities such as the Sikhs have also expressed concern about the decision. (more…)

Allah decision turns back clock on interfaith ties

Hafiz Yatim

For Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa, yesterday’s Court of Appeal decision indicated that interfaith relations are moving backwards and he blamed right-wing forces for the woeful situation.

Mujahid, who is also PAS central committee member, said while he respects the appellate court’s decision which banned Catholic weekly The Herald from using ‘Allah’, he disagreed with the way the issue was handled by the government.

“There has been a lot of media coverage by the government media, representing the extreme right-wing views. These are people who are not able to understand the need for interfaith relationships. They were given attention as if they represent the whole (Muslim) society, which is not the case,” he told Malaysiakini. (more…)

Perhaps it’s time for church to desist

Terence Netto

In deference to the maxim that discretion is the better part of valour, the titular head of the Catholic Church in the archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur should not appeal the appellate court’s decision to restrict the use of the term ‘Allah’ to Muslims.

To appeal would likely invite another panel (coram) of Muslim judges, this time from the Federal Court, to engage in the legal and literary gymnastics that masqueraded as reasoned judgment of the three Court of Appeal judges who handed down their rulings yesterday.

The Archbishop of KL, the respondent in this case, might want to spare a hypothetical panel of the apex court the indignity of another display of contorted semantics. (more…)

October 15, 2013

Allah ban affects all Bahasa Malaysia Christian publications, says religious group

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Today’s court ruling which banned the use of the word Allah in the Catholic weekly, Herald, has a far-reaching implication as it affects all Christian publications printed in Bahasa Malaysia, said the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM).

The CFM said in a statement that the Court of Appeal, by stating “that the name Allah was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice”, had totally ignored the position of Bumiputera and Orang Asli Christians who constitute 60% of the Christian population in Malaysia. And they are all Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Malaysians. (more…)

August 22, 2013

Church’s move to strike out government’s appeal lacks merit, says Hishammuddin

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 5:35 AM
Tags: , , , ,


Putrajaya has taken the position that the Government’s 10-point solution in 2011 has nothing to do with its appeal to reverse a High Court ruling which allowed Christians to use the word “Allah” in the church newspaper, the Herald.

It said the Cabinet decision on April 11, 2011 was only to find ways to overcome problems relating to the import, printing, distribution and the use of the Bahasa Malaysia bible in the country.

“The 10-point solution in no way affects the appeal by the government on the usage of the word “Allah,” said former Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in an affidavit in reply to an application by the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to set aside the government’s appeal. (more…)

January 31, 2013

Have you forsaken your flock, Archbishop?

Jared Pereira

Catholics stumped by Murphy Pakiam’s conspicuous silence and his failure to come out and defend the faithful over the burn-the-Bible issue

The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Murphy Pakiam, has received a barrage of criticisms from Catholics for keeping mum on Perkasa’s call to Muslims to seize and burn Bibles.

Pakiam has yet to make a statement regarding Ibrahim Ali’s call to burn Bibles which contained the term “Allah” and other religious Arabic terms, leading some from his flock to label him as a weak leader. (more…)

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