Tag Archives: Allah

Archbishop worries Herald decision leads to curbs on minority rights

Newly ordained Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Reverend Julian Leow said while he was disappointed with the ruling of the Federal Court, the decision was not totally unexpected.

“I would like to believe this adverse decision is confined only to the Herald and will not open a Pandora’s box on curbing the rights of minorities in managing our own religious affairs.

“In God we continue to pray and trust that there is light at the end of this tunnel,” he told The Malaysian Insider in a text message.

A five-man panel headed by Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong delivered a unanimous decision yesterday to deny the Catholic church’s application for a review of the apex court’s earlier ruling which did not grant it leave to appeal the ban on the use of the word “Allah” in Catholic weekly, Herald.

Church lawyer Datuk Dr Cyrus Das, however, had said that the Allah case was not quite over.

Instead, he was hopeful the issues central to the case, on freedom of religion, could be revisited through other similar cases in the future.

Das said yesterday that ‎the merits of the church’s case over the Allah issue needed to be raised in other cases, especially on the home minister’s power to ban words.

“There are other constitutional issues that have not been addressed and this can be taken up in other cases, ” Das had said.

Herald editor, Rev Father Lawrence Andrew, acknowledging that the door is closed for this particular case, expressed hope that there would be an opening later to ventilate the issues relating to freedom to practise’s one faith as well as minority rights.

‎”This was an important constitutional case on the right to profess one’s faith and to live in peace in harmony.

“Now we hope to be able to work towards being able to live in peace and harmony and at the same time we pray that that the rights of the minorities will not be trampled upon.

“‎We also pray and hope there will be an opening later,” he added.

Today, ‎a similar case involving Sarawakian Christian, Jill Ireland, who had her eight CDs containing the word “Allah” confiscated by the home ministry, will be heard at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

The government is applying for a stay of a High Court order in July which ordered for the CDs to be returned to her.

In 2008, ministry officials confiscated the CDs from Ireland at the then Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang, prompting the Melanau Christian to challenge the seizure in court.

The CDs, which Ireland had bought in Indonesia for personal use, bore titles such as “Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah”, “Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah” and “Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah”.

She also asked the court for a declaration that she had a legitimate expectation to exercise the right to use “Allah” and to continue to own and import such materials.

Ireland’s legal team had argued that the case was not about Christianity against Islam, but about her constitutional right as a Bumiputera Christian.

In her ruling, however, High Court judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof who had ordered the confiscated CDs to be returned, did not address Ireland’s constitutional right to use the word “Allah”.

As such, Ireland is also appealing against the High Court decision which failed to address the issue, to be heard at the Court of Appeal next month. – January 22, 2015.

The Malaysian Insider



马来西亚天主教周刊《先锋报》(The Catholic Herald)卷入这起争议案件多年,最新的判决或许使这个案件的法律途径就此结束。联邦法院的五名法官一致否决了任何采取进一步法律行动的可能性,因为先前各级别法院的审判「并无程序过失」。

廖炳坚总主教向《马来西亚内幕者》(Malaysian Insider)新闻网表示,这个判决「可能会打开潘朵拉的盒子,箝制少数群体处理自己宗教事务的自由」。廖总主教邀请众人持续祈祷,并要坚信事情必将柳暗花明。

马来西亚天主教会律师达斯(Datuk Cyrus Das)指出,现在还不能为「阿拉」一案下定论,因为「此案的核心议题在于宗教自由,未来或许可以透过其它类似案件来重新审视这个议题。」

《先锋报》主编劳伦斯‧安德鲁(Lawrence Andrew)神父则认为《先锋报》这起案件的法律途径已经结束。他冀望人们能和睦共处,少数群体的权利不被践踏。


(Photo: Reuters)

Police warns Umno, Muslim groups against church protests

KUALA LUMPUR — Selangor police today cautioned groups planning to protest outside churches in the state over the “Allah” row that they will be punished for violating the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA).

The PAA expressly forbids rallies and demonstrations within 50m of religious buildings, which fall under a list of prohibited places where public gatherings may not be held.

“We will take stern action,” Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan, the head of Selangor police, was quoted as saying by the Sun today.

Umno Selangor are threatening to hold protests outside all churches in the state this Sunday over a senior Catholic priest’s insisted that the Catholic Church would not abide by Islamic authorities’ plan to bar it from using “Allah” in churches.

Newly-appointed Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s director Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad said last Thursday that letters will be sent to all churches in Selangor, asking them to comply with the state ban on non-Muslims from using 35 Arabic words and phrases, including “Allah”, which are listed under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988. Continue reading Police warns Umno, Muslim groups against church protests

Christian Federation of Malaysia Media Statement


26 Jalan Universiti, 46200 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Telephone / Fax : + 60 3 7957 1457
Email: cfmsia@yahoo.co.uk

3 January 2014


The Christian Federation of Malaysia strongly condemns the raid conducted by officers from the Selangor State Islamic Department (JAIS), accompanied by the police, on the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) on Thursday afternoon 2 January 2014.

They seized 320 copies of the Al-Kitab, the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, and 10 copies of the Bup Kudus, the Bible in the Iban language. The President of BSM and the Office Manager were also arrested during the raid and brought to a nearby police station to have their statements recorded. Both were subsequently released on police bail but have been told to make themselves available to be interviewed by JAIS.

The raid, the seizure of copies of our sacred Scriptures and the arrest of two of BSM’s officers are clear violations of our constitutionally-mandated right to freedom of religion, as set out in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

The unwarranted actions on the part of JAIS, aided and abetted by the police, are in absolute breach of the Cabinet’s 10-points solution announced in April 2011 which stated that Christians can import, print and distribute the Al-Kitab under certain conditions, all of which have been complied with by BSM. Continue reading Christian Federation of Malaysia Media Statement

Official Statement on “Allah” Usage

Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre, Kuching

The Bumiputera Church will continue to use the word “Allah” as it is the fundamental to all aspects of our profession and practice of our Christian faith.

As we have heard from the public forum today, and has been stated numerous times to the media by church leaders from both East and Peninsula Malaysia, the word “Allah” has been used or spoken by the native communities of Sarawak and Sabah for generations. “Allah” has been used long before the formation of Malaysia and is part of our native language. It is used in all aspects of Christian faith and practice by Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christian and other native speaking including in services, prayers praise, liturgy, worship and religious education. As such, it is reasonable to expect that the word also be use in our Christian publications and multi-media resources.

It thus makes no sense that only Christians in Sarawak and Sabah may use “Allah”. Christians from Sarawak and Sabah move across the country from East to West to live and work and carry with them their Alkitab and other Christian materials in the Bahasa Malaysia language. Even non-native from West Malaysia own and read the Alkitab as Bahasa Malaysia is our national language.

It also makes no sense for the Court of Appeal’s recent judgement to be interpreted as being applicable only to The Herald. While The Herald may have been the case brought before the court, it is our view that the judges have overstepped their boundaries in determining that using the word “Allah” was not “integral to the Christian” faith. In deciding thus, the judges have arrogated to themselves a right that does not belong to any human court of law-the right to determine religion. It is the fundamental right of every religion to determine its expression and practice of its own faith.

As such, the “Allah” controversy is about unreasonable government policies and laws that infringe on the right of non-muslim Malaysians to practice their religion of choice. In the face of such unreasonableness we cannot and should not remain silent.

The right of native Bumiputras to profess and practice their faith in their own language is safeguarded by the Federal Constitution. When Sarawak and Sabah agreed to join in the formation of Malaysia in 1963, they did so as sovereign states and with conditions attached; these being known as the Sarawak 18-point and Sabah-20-point Agreements a kind of covenant to which Malaya was a party.

It was not coincidence, it was intentional that the first point in both these agreements concerns the freedom of religion, Sarawak and Sabah consented to form the greater Malaysian nation with Islam as the religion of the Federation on the express condition that there will be complete freedom of religion without hindrance placed on other religions. According to these agreements, Sarawak and Sabah were not to have any official religion.

We thus view with grave concern the Court of Appeal judgement on The Herald which has re-interpreted Article 3 of the Federal Constitution to mean that non-Muslim religions may only be practiced in peace and harmony subject to Islam. We do not believe this was ever the original meaning of Article 3, which simply states that other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

We need more that just a display of and ad hoc benevolence by the Malaysian Government. We need a tangible commitment from the authorities to respect and uphold the freedom of religion guaranteed. By the Federal Constitution which is the supreme law of the nation.

We thus ask the Government to recognise and affirm:

  1. that the word “Allah” is an integral part of, and inherent to the practice of the Christian faith by Bahasa Malaysia-speaking and other native speaking churches in Sarawak and Sabah and Christians in and from these two States;
  2. that the Churches expect that guarantee of religious freedom enshrined in the Federal Constitution when Sarawak and Sabah joined Malaya to form the Malaysian nation will be full respected and honoured; and
  3. that the 10-point Agreement by the Federal Cabinet in April 2011 on the printing, importation and distribution on the Alkitab in which the word “Allah” is an intergral part of the Bahasa Malaysia Holy Scriptures and also on the practice of the Christian faith in Bahasa Malaysia-speaking churches based on the Alkitab, will be fully honoured.

Two thirds of Christians in Malaysia are the 1.6 million Bumiputra Christians of Sarawak and Sabah who use the Bahasa Malaysia language of worship in addition to their native languages. The rights of these Bumiputra Christians must be respected and upheld.

Any attempt to forbid the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims would be most regrettable and wholly unacceptable as it is a flagrant disregard and betrayal of the Malaysia Agreements which guarantees the inalienable rights of non-Muslims in Sarawak and Sabah to complete religious freedom.

With greatest respect, we asked that these rights be given its rightful place and that religious bigotry, racism and extremism should not be allowed to show its ugly head. Mutual respect and acceptance of each other community of faith should be the order of the day in a plural society like Malaysia.

We are most heartered by YAB Pehin Sri Chief Minister of Sarawak public stand that Allah is non-issue in Sarawak. We are also most encouraged to know that many members of Council Negeri had expressed their dismay and deep disappointment over how the Allah issue was handled.

Malaysia was formed and built upon trust and mutual respect of all that made the rich diversity of Malaysia. Let us build upon that foundation and defend it from any who would want to rob it away from us.

God bless Malaysia!

Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok
Chairman, Association of Churches in Sarawak
Dated on: Wednesday 13th November 2013 Kuching, Sarawak