tuesday, 15 october of 2013

Malaysia court upholds ban on non-Muslim faiths using ´Allah´


Malaysia court upholds ban on non-Muslim faiths using 'Allah'

An appeals court in Malaysia on Monday ruled that the nation's government can legally ban the use of the word "Allah" to refer to God in faiths other than Islam. The case was originally brought by the Herald, a weekly Catholic publication, against the Malaysian government in response to the ban. Allah is the Arabic word for God and is frequently used in Malay to refer to God. In its decision, the appeals court reasoned that allowing non-Muslim faiths to use the word Allah to refer to God would likely cause confusion among the nation's Muslims:

It is our common finding that the usage of the name "Allah" is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity. From such finding, we find no reason why the respondent is so adamant to use the word "Allah" in their weekly publication. Such usage, if allowed, will invariably cause confusion within the community.

Rev. Lawrence Andrew, the founding editor of the Herald, plans to appeal the ruling.

Litigation over the Malaysian government's ban on using the word "Allah" for God in non-Muslim faiths has been ongoing for nearly four years. In January 2010 the Malaysia High Court ruled that non-Muslims can use the word "Allah" as a translation for the word "God," overturning a three-year government ban on the practice. A week later the court temporarily suspended enforcement of the ruling after the Malaysian Home Ministry sought a stay. Earlier that week the government filed a notice of appeal.

(Published by Jurist – October 14, 2013)

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