The 'Allah' Ban In Malaysia: Latest Updates And Timeline Of Events

After the 2009 ruling that allowed churches to use the word "Allah", Catholic churches and Putrajaya enter another long battle over the case as the government appeal to overturn the 2009 High Court decision.

Cover image via
21 Jan — 07:16 PM

Federal Court Bans The Use Of 'Allah' In Catholic Weekly Publication, Herald

The Malaysian federal court has rejected an application by the Catholic Church to reverse an earlier decision which denies it from using the word "Allah" in its publication. A five-member panel unanimously decided against granting the review application on Wednesday, putting an end to a long battle over the use of the word in Catholic weekly The Herald.

Today’s Federal Court ruling on “Allah” does not mean all non-Muslims are now banned from using the Arabic word, a Muslim lawyers group said today, noting that the decision only applies to Herald’s Bahasa Malaysia edition.

However, Muslim Lawyers Association president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said he believes most Muslims would not appreciate it if non-Muslims insisted on using the word. “Muslims are not happy if non-Muslims can use the word “Allah” to refer to their God,” he said when met outside the courtroom today.

The defence team for Catholic weekly Herald will submit its arguments Wednesday in its final bid to convince the Federal Court to review its own decision in refusing leave to challenge the Home Ministry over the ban on the use of the word “Allah”.
21 Jan — 07:16 PM

23 JUNE: Four Out Of Seven Federal Court Judges Deny 'Allah' Appeal By The Herald

Four of the seven-member bench dismissed the church's application for appeal, citing that the Court of Appeal was right in its decision to ban the word in the Catholic weekly, Herald. Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, who led the seven-man bench, said the President of Court of Appeal Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin and Federal court judge Suriyadi Halim Omar agreed that the leave should not be granted.

In a dissenting judgment, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum said leave should be given in consideration of the degree of public importance of the case and the necessity of the Federal Court to resolve questions of law.

The church seeked to obtain leave from the Federal Court to proceed with its appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision, made on Oct 15, 2013, to ban the use of the word 'Allah' in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its publication. The church filed an application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court on Nov 11, by submitting 26 questions on the Federal Constitution, administrative law as well as the power of the court to allow the Home Minister to ban the use of a theological word.

Supporters of Perkasa and Islamic NGOs gathering outside the court as a seven-man bench decides on the Catholic Church’s application for leave to appeal to use the word Allah in its weekly publication, Herald

Image via

With shouts of "Allahuakbar" and "Takbir, Allah", the group of 60 (Perkasa supporters) protested against the use of the word by the Catholics‎, as a seven-man bench sits to decide on the leave application by the church on the issue.
23 Jun — 12:23 PM

[VIDEO] What Father Lawrence Andrew, Editor Of The Herald Has To Say About Federal Court's Decision

23 Jun — 12:22 PM

[PICS] Hundreds Of Muslims Protest Against Church's 'Allah' Appeal At High Court

Malaysian Muslim activists gather outside the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur as the Federal Court took up the Catholic Church's bid to be allowed to refer to God as "Allah".

Image via AFP

The "Kalimah Allah" appeal hearing brought by Catholic weekly The Herald at the Federal Court here today has brought about 1,000 supporters of various Muslim non-governmental organisations defending the word stating that it cannot be used by any other religion apart from Islam.

The church is seeking to challenge a lower court's ruling last October that sides with the Muslim-majority country's government forbidding non-Muslims from using the Arabic word "Allah" in the local Malay language.

A seven-judge bench in Malaysia's Federal Court is expected to decide on Wednesday whether it will allow a full hearing of the case or whether the lower court's verdict stands.

Some 500 Muslims gathered outside the court complex in the administrative capital of Putrajaya as the case began, chanting "Allahu Akbar" or "God is great" and holding banners that read: "Want to use 'Allah', join Islam. Don't be ill-mannered". "Allah cannot be used by outsiders or Christians. People now may know the difference but our children will not know," Rosli Ani, a representative of a Muslim NGO known as Per3, said.

The Catholic Church is gearing up for an expected tough fight Wednesday at Malaysia’s highest court when it argues for the right to appeal a lower court decision banning it from using the word “Allah” in its newspaper

The decision – which could come on the same day or within weeks — will have far-reaching implications for religious minorities and the news media in the generally moderate Malaysia, where conservative Muslims have been asserting themselves. Christians argue that, while Islam is the country’s official religion, the federal constitution extends significant protections and rights to religious minorities.

“The current court cases can be seen as a litmus test of the level of acceptance and tolerance of a pluralistic society governed by the tenets of the federal constitution,” said the Rev. Hermen Shastri, the general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, which supports the Christian side in the cases. “In this sense, Malaysia stands at the threshold of a new venture into the future.”

Malaysian Muslims gather outside court to protest the Catholic Church's appeal to refer to God as "Allah."

Image via Channel News Asia

Datuk Ibrahim Ali (brown jacket) and members of Perkasa gather at the Federal Court in Putrajaya March 5, 2014 ahead of a decision on an appeal by the Catholic Church on the ‘Allah’ issue

Image via The Malay Mail

Muslim NGOs gather outside the High Court to show support for the Lower Court's decision

Image via Malaysiakini

Muslims gather outside court to protest the Catholic Church's appeal to refer to God as "Allah"

Image via Malaysiakini

Muslim NGOs gather outside the High Court to show support for the lower court's decision

Image via Malaysiakini

Muslim NGOs gather outside the High Court to show support for the lower court's decision

Image via Malaysiakini

Perkasa's Ibrahim Ali giving a speech at the protest outside the High Court

Image via Malaysiakini
Image via Malaysiakini
Image via Malaysiakini
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

INFOGRAPHIC: Timeline Of The Allah Case Starting From 2009

Timeline of key events in the 'Allah' case

Image via The Malay Mail
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

19 Jan: Agong Says 'Allah' Exclusive To Muslims According To Fatwa. What Does This Mean For Non-Muslims?

Agong Says 'Allah' Exclusive To Muslims According To Fatwa, But Lawyers Say Non-Muslims Not Bound By Royal Decrees Or Fatwa

Image via

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong on 19 January 2014 said several words including "Allah" were the exclusive rights of Muslims, citing a 1986 decree by the National Fatwa Council on their use.

Sultan of Kedah Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, who is presently the head of Islam in Malaysia, said the public should respect religious and social sensitivities, including on the "Allah" issue, to preserve peace and stability in Malaysia.
"Confusion and controversy can be avoided if all parties abide by the law and judicial decisions," he was quoted by the New Straits Times.

"Whatever edict is issued, be it from the Sultan or Yang di-Pertuan Agong, it is certainly not applicable to non-Muslims and it is non-binding," Paulsen said.

"Even if the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) or the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) issues an edict, it does not affect non-Muslims."

Decrees by the nation’s rulers must be in line with the Federal Constitution if the authorities intend to act on them, several lawyers said after Kedah Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzan Shah openly declared his stand in support of giving Muslims exclusive rights over the word “Allah”.

“We are no longer an absolute monarchy. We now practice a constitutional monarchy, so whatever they (rulers) say or do must take into account the constitution,” Bar Council human rights committee co-chair Andrew Khoo said when met by the The Malay Mail Online.

Malaysia is a secular state and non-Muslims in the country are not bound by any edicts issued by state rulers or the National Fatwa Council on issues concerning Islam, said constitutional experts. "Edicts and fatwa cannot be applied on non-Muslims as it will violate their legal and religious rights," constitutional lawyer Edmund Bon told The Malaysian Insider, citing a 2009 case.

"Non-Muslims cannot be charged in a syariah court so any decree by the National Fatwa Council does not apply to non-Muslims," he said, pointing out fatwa rulings or edicts were only applicable to Muslims as decided by a three-man Federal Court bench in 2009 in the case of Sulaiman Takrib v Kerajaan Negeri Terengganu; Kerajaan Malaysia (intervener) & Other Cases.
16 Jul — 11:11 PM

It's Not Only 'Allah', Malaysiakini Reveals 33 Other Words And Phrases That Non-Muslims Are Prohibited From Using

Non-Muslims are prohibited from using 34 words and phrases in Selangor, according to a state enactment.

Image via

Although the 10-point solution allows Christians to use, import and print the Bahasa Malaysia Bible in Peninsular Malaysia, it is trumped by enactments in 10 states which prohibit the use of 34 words and phrases by non-Muslims.

The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), which has a Bahasa Malaysia commission, has declined to provide figures for just how many Christians in the peninsula worship in Bahasa and indigenous languages for fear of backlash.

Church leaders who spoke to Malaysiakini under condition of anonymity, said there are also Indians, Chinese and Orang Asli in the peninsula who opt to worship in Bahasa as they cannot read in other languages and are less confident in English.

“The Indians and Chinese, especially, are those who went to government schools and cannot read and write Tamil or Chinese. They prefer Bahasa and there are now two generations like this.

“To cater to them, churches in the peninsula have been providing Bahasa services since the 1970s, some as early as 1960s,” one source said.

10-Point Solution

Image via

Malaysia prides itself to be a multicultural and multi-faith country

Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Did Jais Make A Mistake When They Raided The Bible Society And Confiscated Over 300 Malay Bibles?

Selangor's religious authorities were wrong to seize Malay and Iban language Bibles and must return them as the ban on using the word Allah is only for the Catholic weekly Herald, say lawyers and politicians.

They said the Bible, be it in any language, was never banned in Malaysia and as such, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had no right to seize the holy books from The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) last Thursday as the Allah issue only centred on the Herald case.

"So Jais's raid and seizure has no basis at all because the 10-point solution covers the holy book," Khoo told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the agreement that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government had made with the Christian community ahead of the Sarawak state election.

"The court dismissed the church's application but in the process, the court declared the 10-point solution covered only Bibles, not newspapers," he said.

He and other critics say the raid at the BSM went against the right to profess and practice one's religion as stated in the Federal Constitution.

Lawyer Edmund Bon said BSM should take legal action against Jais for illegal entry into its premises. He said the constitution allowed for non-Muslim individuals and groups to profess and practice their religion unhindered.

"How does keeping the Bibles in a premises violate the enactment?" he asked.

Did Jais Made A Mistake When They Raided The Bible Society And Confiscated Over 300 Malay Bibles?

Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Father Lawrence Reveals Proof That Christians Have Been Praying In Malay Long Before The British Occupation

Father Lawrence Reveals Proof That Christians Have Been Using 'Allah' Before Merdeka

Image via

Father Lawrence Reveals Proof That Christians Have Been Using 'Allah' Before Merdeka

Image via

A century-old Catholic prayer book is the latest proof that Christians in the Malay peninsula not only prayed in Malay more than 100 years ago, but also communicated with each other and the church in the language, says a priest at the centre of a new “Allah” row in Malaysia.

Catholic weekly Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said the 1905 publication was a Malay language prayer book and not Indonesian.

"From the spelling of the words, you would see it is old Malay. And you can find the modern translation of the old Malay used in the scripture in the Alkitab," he told The Malaysian Insider.

Andrew said the prayer book quoted the First Letter of Peter, one of the verses in old Malay read:

“Rendahkanlah diri mu dibawah tangan berkuasa Allah itu, sopaia dia angkatkanlah kamu di waktu katemuannha."

In the Akitab, the verse read: “Oleh itu, rendahkanlah diri kamu ke bawah tangan Allah yang berkuasa, supaya Dia meninggikan kamu pada masa yang ditetapkan-Nya.”

"There seems to be a general misconception that the use of the word is a new trend in the Christian faith, but that is not true. It has been used for hundreds of years.

"And this prayer book is just one example that Catholics in Malaya were praying in Malay before the British came and English was widely used, alongside Malay by the East Malaysians," Andrew said.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

3 Jan 2014: Religious Authorities Raids Bible Society, Seizes Over 300 Copies Of Malay Language Bibles, And Detains 2 Officers

Religious Authorities Raid And Seize Over 300 Copies Of Malay Language Bible From The Bible Society of Malaysia

Image via

President of the Bible Society of Malaysia, Lee Min Choon talking to reporters.

Image via

In a move that is bound create another major split in the country, the Selangor Islamic Religious department (JAIS) raided the Bible Society of Malaysia on Thursday, seizing 300-over copies of the Alkitab or Malay-language Bible and even detaining its chairman and office manager.

The member said, as BSM was conducting a stock take today, they were told not to open the office when some 20 Jais officers accompanied by two policemen arrived about 1pm.
When office workers refused to open the door, the Jais officers told the office staff to contact someone in authority for permission to let them in.

Ng said staff initially did not allow the officers to enter the premises because they did not have a warrant.

"My staff called me and I also told them that Jais had no jurisdiction over us," he said.

He said there was short standoff until the arrival of Lee who relented because they did not want the officers to force their way into the premises.

"At the door, they said they wanted to come in as there were Bibles containing the word 'Allah'. But that is nothing new and should not come as a surprise, this is what we do, import Bibles containing the word as allowed in the 10-point solution made by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala," the council member said.

"After seizing some 321 holy books in 16 boxes, Lee and Wong were told to follow the religious officers to the Damansara Utama police station," he added.
The seized items included 300 Alkitab and 10 copies of the Bup Kudus in the Iban language and other works on Christianity.

At the police station, Lee said that he, Simon and BSM office manager Sinclair Wong were arrested under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 that prohibits non-Muslims in Selangor from using 35 Arabic words and phrases, including the word for God, “Allah”.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) May Have Overstepped Its Boundaries By Raiding A Non-Muslim Premise

The Selangor Islamic authorities do not have the authority to raid the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), said the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM). CCM general-secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri said that the Federal Constitution guaranteed the right of religious communities in the country to freely profess and administer their affairs.

Lawyers and a non-Muslim religious group agreed with Christian churches that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) has no legal authority to seize any Bible containing the word “Allah” as was done yesterday.

They said that Jais had acted beyond its authority and infringed the religious rights of non-Muslims, a guarantee provided under the Federal Constitution, and could lead to legal suits for committing several civil wrongs like trespass and unlawful detention.

PAS politician Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa questioned the grounds for the Jais raid and confiscation of the Bibles.
"The last time, they accused the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) of propagating their religion to Muslims and in the end, there was no proof of any of that.
"Now what are they accusing the Christians of? Shame on Jais," said Mujahid, who has been actively promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue in the country.

He said the CCM believes that Islamic authorities do not have the authority in law to enter the premises of non-Muslim religious establishments for inspection, search or raid.
He also called on the churches to stay calm and pray that the rightful authorities would act with wisdom and sensitivity to protect the religious rights of all.

The Bible Society of Malaysia

Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Jais Exco Sallehin Mukhyi Says He Was Unaware Of Jais' Raid Of The Bible Society Of Malaysia

Jais Exco Sallehin Mukhyi Says He Was Unaware Of Jais' Bible Society Raid

Image via

The Selangor Executive Councillor for Islamic Affairs, Sallehin Mukhyi said Thursday he was unaware of the raid conducted by the Selangor Islamic Religious department (Jais) on the offices of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) here earlier in the day.

"I was not informed, and I do not have any information on this raid at this point. I will try to obtain information as soon as possible. I cannot comment until I get an explanation from Jais," said Sallehin.

Youth chief Tan Keng Liang said said the ignorance displayed by the state exco in charge of Islamic Affairs, Sallehen Muklhyi, over the raid is unacceptable, noting that it looked as though something had gone wrong with the chain of command.
“One of the roles and functions of the exco is to look after Jais. He does not even know about this. It looks like he makan gaji buta”.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Bible Society of Malaysia Says Jais Went Against The Najib Administration's 10-Point Solution That Promised Christians The Freedom To Use The Al-Kitab

Bible Society of Malaysia Says Najib Administration's 10-Point Solution Issued In 2011 Promised That Christians Will Be Allowed To Use The Al-Kitab

Image via

Meanwhile, BSM said in a statement later Thursday that Jais's actions went against the 10-Point Solution mutually agreed to by the federal government and the Christian community of Malaysia in 2011.

“The agreement was that Christians will be allowed to use the Al-Kitab in East Malaysia without any conditions, while in West Malaysia, it must be stamped with an image of the cross and the words ‘Penerbitan Kristian’ (Christian Publication),” he added.

The bible distributor pointed out that all of BSM’s Malay bibles are imprinted with a picture of the cross and the words “Penerbitan Kristian” on the cover and noted that the Home Ministry regularly inspects its bible shipment imports.
“The authorities know what we’re doing. They’re aware of the existence of our bibles,” said Lee.

Malay language bibles with the Home Ministry's seal

Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Churches And Politicians Call For Government Intervention To Prevent A Repeat Of Muslim Authorities Enforcing Law Upon Non-Muslims

"This is outrageous and a highly provocative act. As a Christian and a Malaysian guaranteed rights to religious freedom under the Federal Constitution, I demand an immediate explanation from Prime Minister Najib Razak," MP for Wangsa Maju Tan Kee Kwong told Malaysia Chronicle.

There has been an urgent plea by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup for all parties to remain calm over increasing tensions over the usage of the word Allah by Christians. Kurup, who is a christian, said he had asked for the help of minister in charge of Islamic Affairs, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, to assist in calming down tensions.

“The CCM also calls on the Honourable Prime Minister, the Honourable Menteri Besar of Selangor, and all other Christian lawmakers to act immediately to stop such actions and future raids,” CCM said in the brief statement signed off by its secretary-general Rev Dr Hermen Shastri.

PAS politician Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa said Putrajaya should immediately step in and stop Muslim religious bodies like Jais from conducting raids and attempting to enforce state laws on non-Muslim establishments as this only serves to further damage the already fractured interfaith relations in the country.

Gerakan Youth Chief Tan Keng Liang says “the Menteri Besar of Selangor must provide his explanation without any further delay. Such a move is against what has been preached by Pakatan Rakyat leaders. The opposition were against the seizure. Now, they allowed this to happen”.

“Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom will help look into the matter and help calm the situation,” Joseph Kurup.

Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Meanwhile, Muslim Groups Protest At Klang Church Against The Christians' Insistence On Using The Word 'Allah'

Muslim Groups Protest At Klang Church Against The Christian's Insistence On Using The Word 'Allah'

Image via

A coalition of Malay-Muslim groups is set to march to the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Klang on Sunday morning to protest Christians' insistence on using Allah and deliver a memorandum to express their dissatisfaction.

The coalition calling themselves the Klang Muslims Solidarity Secretariat blamed church leaders for sparking the current row over the Arabic word and threatened an “uprising” if their demand to stop non-Muslims from using it is ignored.

The plan comes following Umno Selangor’s threat to protest outside all churches in Selangor this Sunday unless a senior Catholic priest apologises over his remark insisting on the religion’s use of “Allah”. “We will not conspire and give permission to any churches to use the word ‘Allah’, and this includes other non-Muslims as well,” the secretariat’s president, Mohd Khairi Hussin told reporters here.

Secretariat president Mohd Khairi Hussin said "ties between Muslims and Christians had been cordial before the Church insisted on using the Arabic word Allah in their worship".
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

25 Dec 2013: While Authorities Hunt For Churches That Used 'Allah' During Worship, Najib Urges End Over 'Allah' Fight

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today urged Muslims and Christians to stop the increasingly acrimonious fight over “Allah”, warning that continued conflict over the Arabic word for God may irreparably harm ties between the faiths.

In his address at the National Christmas Open House celebration here, he said both Christianity and Islam have common roots and are Abrahamic religions.
“However, there are differences in the faiths of the two biggest religions in the world so the concept of God in Islam and in Christianity are quite different,”
“But, if we continue to fight over this, it will only serve to damage the relationship between Muslims and Christians,” he said.

“So, rather than choosing this path of fighting over these differences, it is better that we find a common ground to preserve the peace, harmony and stability of the country,” he said in his speech at the Esplanade here.

It might be Christmas Day cheer across the world but Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) officials are not feeling the festive occasion as they look for a Christian group that used the word “Allah” in their worship illegally last weekend.

Malay newspapers had reported that the Christian group had allegedly used “Allah” at their Sunday function at a hotel in Klang, reigniting the battle for the word which is now before the country's apex court.

In the latest case, Utusan Malaysia's reported on Monday the International Full Gospel Fellowship's event that carried the words, “International Full Gospel Fellowship: Keluarga Allah satelit Nilai dan satelit Puchong, 'Dari dalam gelap akan terbit terang’,” on a backdrop.

At Christmas celebration, PM urges end to fight over ‘Allah’

Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Putrajaya And Eight Muslim Bodies Will Try To Block The Church's 'Allah' Appeal

The Federal Court has fixed Feb 24 next year to hear the Catholic Church’s leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision on the Allah issue. This was confirmed this evening by one of the lawyers for the Catholic Church, Annou Xavier.

Putrajaya and seven Muslim organisations are opposing the Catholic Church's leave application to appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling on the use of the word Allah.

S. Selvarajah, the Catholic Church’s lawyer, confirmed this while saying that the Federal Court will hear arguments from both sides on February 24 before deciding if the appeal can proceed.

Federal Court registrar Noraziati Jaafar fixed the date following the Church's request that the leave application hearing be expedited on the grounds of public interest and to bring closure to the issue.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Selangor Sultan's Decree in Banning The Use of 'Allah' By Non-Muslims Not Binding, Says Lawyer

Selangor residents are not legally bound by the Sultan’s latest decree banning non-Muslims from using “Allah” in the state as the ruler’s powers in Islamic matters were ceremonial.

“The Sultan is speaking in his capacity as the head of the religion of Islam in Selangor. But the law he is referring to is a state enactment which is enforceable in the state of Selangor regardless of one’s religion, or lack of one,” added the lawyer.

Zaid Ibrahim questioned if a royal decree is considered a law and argued that even if this was the case, the order contravenes the Federal Constitution, which states that non-Muslims cannot be bound by any Islamic laws.
Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Selangor Sultan decrees that non-Muslims cannot use the word 'Allah' and 35 other words

The decree by the Selangor Sultan, who is head of Islam, has complicated Putrajaya’s attempt to reassure East Malaysian Christians on their right to refer to God as “Allah”.

The decision is made based on Section 9 of the Non Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation against Muslims) Enactment 1988, which classifies use of certain words and expressions of Islamic origin without the state’s authority as a religious offence in the state.

The 1988 state law, which was passed by the then Barisan Nasional government, prohibits non-Muslims from using 35 Arabic words and phrases in their faiths, including “Allah”, “Nabi” (prophet), “Injil” (gospel) and “Insya’Allah” (God willing).
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

28 Oct: Zahid Hamidi Contradicts Najib On 'Allah' Ruling For Sabah And Sarawak

Zahid: Herald’s ‘Allah’ ban extends to East Malaysia too

Image via

The Catholic Church weekly, the Herald, cannot refer to God as “Allah” even in Sabah and Sarawak, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today, despite the prime minister’s assurance that East Malaysians were free to use the Arabic word.

“It can be used in the Al-Kitab, but not in the Herald,” Zahid told reporters at his office here today, after meeting a Cambodian government minister. “The Al-Kitab is not a publication; it’s a bible,” he added.

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.
It said that only 53 copies were taken on Friday by the Home Ministry's Al-Quran Text and Publication Control Department
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Putrajaya Issued Stop-Order On 'The Herald' In Sabah On Thursday But Lifts Ban On Sunday

Putrajaya Issued Stop-Order On The Herald In Sabah On Thursday But Lifts Ban On Sunday

Image via

Putrajaya this morning lifted the stop-order issued on Thursday that prevented the distribution of about 2,000 copies of the Catholic weekly, Herald, in Sabah but it was too late to send them in time for Sunday services at churches.

The Government lifted its ban on the Catholic weekly Herald in Sabah today, which happens to be a Sunday when offices are closed.

Because of that, the Herald cannot be sent to the churches in Sabah and this week’s issue will be distributed with next week’s issue.

But the nature of the last-minute order, according to the weekly’s editor Fr Lawrence Andrew, meant that Christians who went to church today could not receive their usual copy of The Herald during Sunday mass. “Now the copies are already released but it cannot be distributed and Church is also done for the day. It will be distributed with next week’s edition,”.

Putrajaya Issued Stop-Order On The Herald In Sabah On Thursday But Lifts Ban On Sunday

Image via

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said the ministry needed to explain why the copies were held at the Kota Kinabalu airport. He is upset that the authorities prevented the weekly from being distributed as Sabahans and Sarawakians were given to understand that they could use the word both in their prayers and publications.

"The Home Ministry has a lot of explanation to do regarding the seizure,"
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Allah Row Enters A Whole New Level Of Confusion

PM NAJIB TUN RAZAK said the Appeals Court’s decision on the use of the word Allah does not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak. “…recently when the Appeals Court made its decision on the use of the word Allah, it did not at all touch on the practices of Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, in fact the 10-Point Agreement is still being maintained,” he said.

TOURISM MINISTER DATUK SERI NAZRI AZIZ has added more confusion to the Allah ruling when he said today that East Malaysians cannot use the word in Peninsular Malaysia. "East Malaysia has no state laws to disallow the use of Allah, but here (Peninsular Malaysia), we have".

MINISTER TAN SRI JOSEPH KURUP said that while the Court of Appeal ban of the word Allah was exclusive to Catholic weekly Herald, Christians in Peninsular Malaysia were free to use the word in the weekly masses.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYERS have told The Malaysian Insider that the Court of Appeal ruling last week was a blanket ban of the word, which affects all Christians in Malaysia.

Counsel Edmund Bon pointed out the court had ruled that Allah was banned in the Herald because the word was not an integral part of Christians in their worship.

"That simply means that the ruling covers all Christians," said Bon.

Allah Row Enters A Whole New Level Of Confusion

Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

16 Oct: Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi says "Allah" ban only applies to The Herald, not all Churches

16 Oct: Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi says "Allah" ban only applies to The Herald, not all Churches

Image via

The ban on the use of the word Allah only applies to the Catholic weekly, Herald, and not other Christian publications or the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia bible which is widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic).

He said the Cabinet decision to allow the use of Allah in Bahasa Malaysia or native language bibles in Sabah and Sarawak and the assurance given by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in 2011 still stand, thereby suggesting that the government does not believe that the word is exclusive to Muslims.

But the issue (the ban on the word Allah in the Herald) is not over yet, he added, and believed there would be an appeal to the Federal Court.
He added that the decision made by the Federal Court later could change all that

“Decisions made by the courts are case laws. Even though they become part of the law of the country, they are normally not enforceable. That means you can't get the police or other agencies to enforce them. They are not statute laws (laws passed by parliament),” - Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Constitutional law expert says Wan Junaidi does not know the law

A constitutional law expert has taken a swipe at the Deputy Home Minister for being ignorant of the law and saying the Court of Appeal's decision that Allah was exclusive only to Muslims was not enforceable except for a Catholic publication.

Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar did not know the law of this country and that the government cannot simply ignore the court's decision.

"If they wish to minimise or avoid the effect of the decision, they have to do it through legislation, namely table a bill in parliament," he told The Malaysian Insider.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

14 Oct: Putrajaya wins appeal to ban Catholic publication The Herald from using the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia publications

The Catholic Church is banned from using the word "Allah" to refer to God in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its weekly newspaper, the Herald, the Court of Appeal ruled today.

The panel, lead by Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali, overturned a High Court decision and unanimously ruled Monday in favour of the Government's appeal, saying that the minister had not acted in any way that required a judicial review.

The church can appeal the decision in the Federal Court but it has to obtain leave by framing legal questions which are of public interest.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

The panel says they find that the usage of Allah is not an integral part of the Christian faith

Churches Banned From Using "Allah"

Image via

The three-man panel, led by Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali, in an unanimous decision, said the usage of the name "Allah" is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.

The panel found that such usage of the word would cause confusion and that in the interest of public safety, the court chose to grant the Government's appeal. "The welfare of an individual or group, must yield to the interest of society at large," said Justice Mohamed Apandi.

"Our common finding that the usage of Allah is not an integral part of the Christian faith. We cannot find why the parties are so adamant on the usage of the word".

"Such usage if allowed, will inevitably cause confusion among the community," he said.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali says Muslims are not enemies of Christians and the decision was based on law and constitution

Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali today made a call on the Christian community not to misunderstand the opposition by some Muslims on the use of the word "Allah" by Christians.

Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali says Perkasa respects the Christians

Image via

He also said that Christians should also find other terms to refer to ‘Allah’ in Bahasa Malaysia, such as “Tuhan” or God.

At the steps of the Palace of Justice today, Ibrahim stressed that his Malay right wing group is not anti-Christian. "We respect the Christians,we consider them our brothers. We are for a harmonious multi-religious Malaysia."

He stated, however, that when the Bible was published in the various languages in the past, the word Allah was never used. "It is only when they published it in Bahasa Malaysia that they used the word Allah," he said.

"I hope the Christians don't get us wrong. We just have different beliefs. You are our brothers and sisters but please respect our religion. We do not want a situation that will cause any disharmony among the people of Malaysia. We are not enemies of Christians or any other religions," Ibrahim said.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

10 Sept: The fight over the use of the word "Allah" returns to the courts

The Catholic Church is ready for another long legal battle as the tussle over the use of the word “Allah” returns to the courts today.

This morning, the Court of Appeal will hear an application by Putrajaya to overturn a landmark High Court decision made in 2009 allowing Catholic newspaper, the Herald, to use the word in its Malay section.

Counsels for both the Roman Catholic Archbishop in Kuala Lumpur, the Government and other appealing parties would be submitting their arguments throughout the day.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Huge crowd of both Muslim and Christian groups gathered outside the court

Huge crowd of both Muslim and Christian groups gathered outside the court

Image via

A huge crowd comprising both Muslim and Christian groups gathered outside the Court of Appeal this morning as a panel of judges begins to hear the government's appeal in the ‘Allah' case.

A vocal crowd led by Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali gathered outside the Palace of Justice as the hearing on the Government’s appeal in the Allah case began.

Many protesters, including Perkasa and Perkid members, wore red t-shirts, which read 'Allah: Just For Muslims. Fight No Fear'. They sang religious songs and waved banners with slogans and also cries of 'Hormat Islam', and 'Takbir Allah'.

The Christian groups comprise Sidang Injil Borneo Sabah, Sabah Council of Churches and the Association of Churches Sarawak. Also present are the main Christian bodies from the peninsula, including the Council of Churches, the Christian Federation of Malaysia and Sidang Injil Borneo Semenanjung.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew says they will put all their arguments forward

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew says they will put all their arguments forward

Image via

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said the case will not be so quickly disposed of, going by past experience. “We took almost a year to get the verdict in the High Court... this is not going to be the end of it tomorrow (today),”

“This is not a one-off thing. Both sides are going to put all their arguments forward, and this is a major issue,” he added.

According to Herald lawyers, Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have been using ‘Allah' to refer to God in Bahasa Malaysia since 1631.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Catholic Church lawyer says the church will go all the way if they need to

The Catholic Church’s legal counsel said it would be left with two options should it lose the case at the Court of Appeal level; raise it at the Federal Court level, or drop it entirely and stop using the word “Allah” in the Herald.

“The fact that they went this far at the Court of Appeal, means that they will go all the way to Federal Court if need be. They are determined that this will be settled once and for all.”

Conversely, the Catholic Church could decide to drop the case if it loses at the appellate court level, but Selvarajah voiced concern that such a move could pave the way for the government to extend enforcement beyond the confines of the court ruling.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

About the ban of the word "Allah" in churches that started in 2008

Image via

The Allah row erupted in 2008 when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke the Herald’s newspaper permit, prompting the Catholic Church to sue the government for violating its Constitutional rights.

On Dec 31, 2009, the Kuala Lumpur High Court had ruled that the Home Minister’s ban on the use of ‘Allah’ by Catholic weekly Herald in its Bahasa Malaysia section was unconstitutional.

Following a High Court decision on 31 Dec 2009 to allow Herald, the Catholic weekly, to refer to God as Allah in its Malay language edition, ten churches and a Catholic school were attacked. So too were a few suraus, a Sikh temple and a Catholic girls' school.

The ruling came about a month after the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur filed an application to strike out the appeal after the church’s patience finally ran out over the lack of progress on the government’s appeal, which was filed in January 2010.
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Other related stories

The fight over the use of the word "Allah" returns to the courts

Image via
23 Jun — 12:22 PM

Have something to say about this? Facebook or Tweet us!

Get all latest news here on SAYS (@SAYSdotMY). Tweet us and let us know what's happening around you! We'll feature it on SAYS.

SAYS is Malaysia's social news network. Find today's must-share stories, news and videos everyday, produce and brought to you by Malaysian social media users!

You may be interested in: