The Herald is widely read by some 850,000 Catholics in Malaysia.
High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan in her judgement said that in pursuant to Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, Articles 11 and 12 last but not least Article 10 allowed Herald to use the word in the exercise of right to freedom of speech and expression.
Herald’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew said that ‘Allah’ in the Christian concept is used to refer to ‘God the Father’.
Former National Fatwa Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim said.“In fact, the name ‘Allah’ specifically refers to the God of Muslims in the context of the One and Only Allah. This is the concept of God in Islam.
The term "ALlah" refers to the unique, distinct and different God. That is why in the proclamation of Faith of a Muslim, he or she says " There is no god but ALlah" OR "There is no object of worship except ALlah"
Christian followers believe in the trinity concept, whereas Muslims believe Isa or Jesus is not Allah’s son.”
*Difference in concept, says ex-Fatwa Council head (sun2surf)
*Court: Allah not exclusive to Islam (Bernama)
Difference in concept, says ex-Fatwa Council head
PUTRAJAYA (Jan 3, 2010) : There is a difference between the concept of Allah as believed by Muslims and that believed by Catholics, former National Fatwa Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim said.
This has prompted the Muslims to protest against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision last week in allowing the Catholic weekly newspaper Herald to use the word “Allah” in its publication.
“In fact, the name ‘Allah’ specifically refers to the God of Muslims in the context of the One and Only Allah. This is the concept of God in Islam,” he told theSun.
“Muslims cannot share the same concept of Allah with the non-Muslims, including Christian followers who believe in the trinity concept, because Muslims believe Isa or Jesus is not Allah’s son.”
Full Reports HERE
Court: Allah not exclusive to Islam
KUALA LUMPUR ( Dec 31, 2009) : The High Court in a landmark ruling today, declared that the word ‘Allah’ was not exclusive to Islam and allowed Catholic newsletter ‘The Herald’ to use the word ‘Allah’ in its publication to refer to God.
High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan also declared that an order by the Home Minister banning the use of the word as illegal, null and void.
Lau, in her oral decision today, held that the Herald had the constitutional right to use the word in the magazine to propagate the Christian religion but not Islam.
She said that pursuant to Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, it is an offence for non-Muslims to use the word 'Allah' to Muslims to propagate the religion. But it is not an offence for non-Muslims to use the word to non-Muslims for the purpose of religion, she added.
Pursuant to Articles 11 and 12 of the Federal Constitution, the Herald had the constitutional right to use the word in respect of instruction and education of the congregation in the Christian religion.
Article 10 allowed it to use the word in the exercise of its right to freedom of speech and expression, she said.
Lau said thus the decision by the Home Minister prohibiting Herald publications from using the word 'Allah' in the magazine was illegal, null and void.
She said the minister had also failed to adduce evidence that the use of word would threaten national security and create misunderstanding and confusion among Muslims.
In an immediate response, Catholic Church archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, as publisher of Herald, lauded the decision of the court.
"Islam is a great international religion, and the court's decision today will reflect upon Malaysia as a moderate nation with a pre-dominant Muslim population in the eyes of the world," he said.
"On the local level, the court decision is in the right direction in tune with the Prime Minister's objective of congealing the 1Malaysia concept." he said.
"As a church, we are relieved that the long standing issue has been amicably resolved. We thank the authorities involved in the matter," added Pakiam.
The Herald, which is widely read by some 850,000 Catholics in Malaysia had run into trouble with the Home Ministry after using the word ‘Allah’ in Malay articles to refer to the ‘Christian’ God.
Pakiam, as publisher of the Herald, filed for a judicial review naming the Home Ministry and the Government as respondents on Feb 16, 2009.
The Home Ministry claimed the ban was necessary to avoid confusing the Muslim majority in the country especially as the word ‘Allah’ was mainly used in Islam to refer to God.
But the Catholic church said it was used in church worship among indigenous East Malaysians government and that the use of the word will not confuse the Muslims because the Herald is only distributed amongst church worshippers.
The Church took the government to court last year after the Home Ministry threatened to revoke its annual publishing permit for the Herald.
The Church claimed that the ban violated the constitutional rights of Malaysians to practice the religion of their choice freely.
Following the landmark decision, the Herald’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew said that ‘Allah’ in the Christian concept is used to refer to ‘God the Father’.
He said indigenous East Malaysians, who form a large number of Catholics, still use the word ‘Allah’ widely.
After the decision, senior federal counsel Datuk Kamaluddin Md Said, for the minister and the government, asked the court for clarification whether the decision would affect the Herald publications for the period Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2010.
He said this was because the application was for this year and not for next year's publications.
The church's counsel, Porres Royan, informed the court that the minister had given a fresh permit early this month for next year's publications.
"The decision speaks for itself. The minister has given the fresh permit for next year. I believe the minister would abide by the decision," he said.
Kamaluddin told the court that he had to take instructions from the minister whether today's decision would affect the fresh perm it for next year's publications as it involved a very serious matter.
He also said he needed to get instructions from the respondents on whether to appeal or to apply for a stay of execution of the decision.
Lau said the respondents had 30 days to file the application.
Time Leonard and Joseph Masilamany/ BERNAMA
The Herald is widely read by some 850,000 Catholics in Malaysia.