Home Ministry Rescinds Gazette on Word ‘Allah’

Comment: Another ironic twist given the haste with which the Government first imposed unreasonable conditions or restrictions on how Christians may use the word ‘Allah’. Maybe the Government thought the Christians will gratefully compromise (or rather surrender their fundamental religious liberty for pseudo-concessions under the threatening ambience of the Internal Security Act. Unfortunately, the Council of Churches says, “thanks, but no thanks”(read its press statement).

Then pressures pile up from Muslims Agencies who labeled the Government’s action as treachery to the Sultan (derhaka). Maybe they understood too well that the Government’s concession may be pittance, but it has in effect acknowledged that Christians (especially East Malaysian native believers) have every right to call God in their mother-tongue using ‘Allah’.

The Government got nothing  from Christians and risks losing support from its associates who are Muslim extremists. Naturally, it beats a hasty retreat. Was it a careless or a callous mistake?

Be rest assured, the dark side will return with more dangerous subterfuge and machinations.

———————

Response to Conditional Use of “Allah” LINK
MySinChew.com 27 Feb 2009
PRESS STATEMENT FROM COUNCIL OF CHURCHES (CCM).

The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) welcomes the confirmation by the Government of Malaysia that the word “Allah” may be used by a religion other than Islam. This is implicit in the Internal Security (Prohibition On Use of Specific Words on Document and Publication) Order 2009, (“Order”) made pursuant to Section 22(1)(c) of the Internal Security Act 1960 which reads as follows:-

“2.(1) The printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation and possession of any document and publication relating to Christianity containing the words “Allah”, “Kaabah”, “Baitullah” and “Solat” are prohibited unless on the front cover of the document and publication are written with the words “FOR CHRISTIANITY”.

(2) The words “FOR CHRISTIANITY” referred to in subparagraph (1) shall be written clearly in font type Arial of size 16 in bold.

This Order, which is dated 21 January 2009, came into operation on 16 February 2009.

However the wording of the order causes great concern and gives rise to several questions. Firstly, why is there a specific Order in relation only to the Christian religion? The Sikh religion, for example, also refers to “Allah” in their sacred texts. By virtue of the wording of this Order, they will still be prohibited from using the word “Allah”.

Secondly, all of a sudden, people in possession of such documents and publications are now in a position of being in possession of a prohibited document unless they take action to ensure that the words “UNTUK AGAMA KRISTIAN” or “FOR CHRISTIANITY” in font type Arial of size 16 in bold are placed on its front cover. This is an unfair imposition and an unwarranted restriction on the practice of the Christian religion in this country. By making prohibited something which was hitherto not prohibited, the Order constitutes retrospective penal legislation that violates Article 7 of the Federal Constitution. Under Section 44A of the Internal Security Act 1960,

“Any person guilty of an offence against this Part for which no special penalty is provided shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.”

Thirdly, the introduction of conditions as a pre-requisite to the use of the aforementioned words still constitutes a limitation on the freedom of religion as guaranteed by Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. This situation is unacceptable.

We regret that the Government of Malaysia did not see fit to engage with us before introducing this Order.

We call on the Government of Malaysia to accept that the use of the term “Allah” is a heritage that belongs not just to one religion. We further urge the Government of Malaysia not to attempt to regulate or circumscribe its use through the introduction of pre-conditions and by punitive criminal legislation.

By
Rev. Dr. Hermen Shastri
General Secretary
Council of Churches of Malaysia
27 February 2009

—————————

This link added on 1 March 2009

More Oppose Christians Can Use Word ‘Allah’ LINK

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 (Bernama) — PAS has opposed the Home Ministry’s permission for the conditional use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications.

PAS deputy spiritual leader Datuk Haron Din questioned whether the ministry could ensure that the publications would not be distributed to Muslims.

“If the word is purportedly used to hoodwink the people by inferring that the word ‘Allah’ (in Islam and Christian) is the same, then it could create more confusion,” he said.

Haron, who is Universiti Malaya’s Islamic Studies Department former lecturer the people had accepted that the word ‘Allah’ confined to Islam.

A government gazette dated Feb 16 has stated that documents and publications relating to Christianity containing the world “Allah” are prohibited unless the words “FOR CHRISTIANITY” are written on their front covers.

The condition was contained under the Internal Security (Prohibition on Use of Specific Words on Document and Publication) Order 2009.

Malaysian Youth Council (MYC) secretary-general Tajuddin Ahmad said the association opposed the decision as it allowed non-Muslims to refer to Allah as their God.

He said the decision was tantamount to meddling into the affairs of the national and state fatwa councils which were entrusted to safeguard Islam.

“The ministry should consult the councils on the decision. Should the councils feel that the decision should be withdrawn, the ministry should do likewise.

“Matters pertaining to religion should not be treated lightly to appease a section of the society,” he said, adding that the decision had hurt Muslims.

————–

Home Ministry Rescinds Gazette on Word ‘Allah’ LINK
Malaysian Insider 28 Feb 2009

KOTA KINABALU, Feb 28 — The Home Ministry has rescinded a government gazette that allowed conditional use of the word ‘Allah’ in Christian publications with immediate effect.

Admitting that there was a mistake in enacting the gazette that resulted in confusion over the word in question, Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the government’s decision to ban the use of the word “Allah” in Herald-The Catholic Weekly remained in force until the court decided otherwise.

The government had recently ordered a ban on the Herald’s Malay edition until the court makes its decision, as part of conditions for it to be allowed to continue publishing in English, Chinese and Tamil.

‘There is a judicial review on the matter and we leave it to the court to decide. I think there was a mistake in enacting the gazette. When we made a mistake I must admit that there is a need look at it thoroughly.

‘As there was a mistake… so it is better we make a correction,’ he told reporters today.

Syed Hamid was commenting on the call by the Malaysian Islamic Da’wah Foundation (Yadim) earlier today, urging the government to withdraw permission for the conditional use of the word ‘Allah’ in Christian publications.

Its chairman Datuk Mohd Nakhaie Ahmad said the government had not acted wisely in allowing the use of the word in Christian publications which he said could anger Muslims not only in the country but also throughout the world.

A government gazette dated Feb 16 has stated that documents and publications relating to Christianity containing the world ‘Allah’ are prohibited unless the words ‘FOR CHRISTIANITY’ was written on their front cover.

The condition was contained in an order entitled “Internal Security (Prohibition on Use of Specific Words on Document and Publication) Order 2009”.

Paragraph 2(1) of the order reads: The printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation and possession of any document and publication relating to Christianity containing the words Allah, Kaabah, Baitullah and solat are prohibited unless on the front cover of the document and publication are written with the words ‘FOR CHRISTIANITY’. — Bernama

Advertisements

One Response to “Home Ministry Rescinds Gazette on Word ‘Allah’”

  1. splim Says:

    What if the court decides that Christians cannot use the word ‘Allah’? Are we going to comply or disobey?

Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: