The day two million Muslims give their ultimate submission to Allah s.w.t. at the Wuquf congregation in Arafah is the day their Muslim borthers and sisters in Malaysia hold their breadth for deep prayers, as His Majesty’s Court of Appeal decides on the ‘kalimah Allah’ case.
Riong Kali news portal take on the subject matter:
“Allah” issue set to test Malaysia, regardless if Herald wins or loses tomorrow
BY LEE SHI-IAN
OCTOBER 13, 2013
Whatever the outcome of tomorrow’s ruling on whether the Roman Catholic Church can use the word “Allah” in its weekly publication the Herald, it will definitely impact Malaysia and the international community, said PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic).
Mujahid said no matter what the Court of Appeal decides, politicians will continue to raise the issue and Islamist parties like PAS will be tested in its call for the freedom of faith.
“Malays will be tested in their pursuit of defending Islam but at the same time complying with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, where the freedom of faith is protected,” he told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Mujahid added that the theory that Christians proselytise Muslims will increase and they will be seen as the enemy of Islam.
The Parit Buntar MP said there were several issues which the appellate court would take into consideration, including Islam as the religion of the state and multi-racial dynamics.
He felt that the influence of the ruling party, Umno, may play a part.
“The issue also covers the freedom of the press, as Catholics were banned from using the word ‘Allah’ in their publication The Herald. But the High Court ruled that the ban was contradicting the notion of freedom, despite the publication being limited to Christians only,” WSJ reported Mujahid as saying.
“However, I think that the issue was given such a highlight for the purpose of political gain instead of exploring a brighter future in interfaith relations.
“Both Umno and PAS will be forced to play the racial and religious card for the purpose of wooing voters.
“But both parties also need to handle it more maturely because their actions will affect the interfaith and racial fabric of the country,” added Mujahid, who had visited almost 30 churches in his quest to promote interfaith dialogue.
He pointed to Somalia and Myanmar as examples where tragic acts of violence had been committed in the name of religion, which only ended up depicting a negative image of religion.
Dr Mujahid said politicians must find the political will to condemn citizens who use faith to promote violence and hatred among Malaysians.
The Court of Appeal ruling due to be delivered tomorrow is the result of a lower court judgement in 2009 which ruled that the Catholic Church had the constitutional right to use the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia editions of the Herald.
In early 2010, the same court ordered the Herald not to use the word while the government appealed the decision.
Last month, the Catholic Church argued before the appellate court that it should be allowed to use the word as it had been used for centuries by Malay-speaking Christians.
The government argued that the restriction on the use of the word was not in bad faith as it had been done from the internal security and public order aspect.
The government also argued that the word was specific to Muslims.
The Wall Street Journal reported that observers, including Dr Patricia Anne Martinez, feel tomorrow’s decision will go against the Herald, partly due to the current political climate.
Martinez, a Malaysian scholar of Islam who is a practising Catholic, said Umno had been using Islam for political mileage.
“There has been a lot widespread negative publicity about the use of the word ‘Allah’ and the Herald case,” she told WSJ, noting that Umno had also raised the issue while campaigning in the 13th general election in May to show it was championing the Islamic cause.
Muslim Lawyers Association vice-president Azril Amin said they were not oppressing non-Muslims nor were they stopping them from practicing their religion.
Azril, a lawyer representing the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council, said the government’s argument was that the proper use of the word Allah should be reserved for Muslims.
Editor of the Herald Father Lawrence Andrew said that he was not tired or worn down by the long legal battle. He said when justice is denied, tiredness is not a factor because you have to consider the commitment you have for the good of the people.
“We are just stating what is in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which says we have the right to worship and to manage our religious affairs. So, therefore, we are basically fighting for religious freedom,” the WSJ quoted Father Lawrence as saying. – October 13, 2013.
The fact is that there is no such test. Suggesting otherwise is a depiction of the person’s failure to understand history of this nation in its current form and laws enacted and in place, was given birth to. By far, it is also a failure to comprehend the Federation of Malaysia Constitution.
This is not withstanding inadequacy to understand the principles and practices of norms and value system of the Malaysian society, particularly the Malays who are the majority.
Christian Federation of Malaysia challenging the use of ‘Kalimah Allah’ in depiction of God is nothing but a sinister agenda because it is about making the bible in Malay available to the Malays in Semenanjung. To use ‘Allah’ in depiction of God is to confuse the Malays, who already accustomed to Allah s.w,t.
The Federal Constitution is very clear. Islam is enshrined not only as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia but positioned in Article 3 of Part 1, where Islam has been definitive characteristic of this nation, along with other the name, states, territories and the supreme law.
Despite the Federal Constitution allow the freedom in practice of faith other than Islam, that liberty is bordered only to Non Muslims. This is defined clearly in Article 11(4).
These and the provision for Syariah Law and Court, formed part of the Treaty of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu inked on 21 January 1948 between HRH Rulers and High Commissioner Sir Edward Gent representing His Majesty King George VI. This is the treaty that replaced the Malayan Union and became fundamental basis when the Federal Constitution was drafted by the Commission headed by Lord Reid for the Kemerdekaan and the birth of the new and sovereign nation on 31 August 1957.
The position of Islam as the Religion of the Federation is one of the conditions when HRH Rulers agreed that upon achieving Merdeka, this nation would be ruled by the rakyat in a democratic system of Constitutional Monarchy. Suggesting otherwise in any form or connotation is simply violating HRHs’ will.
Simply put, that is durhaka. Professing it further to a point of serious contention, manipulation grossly out of context and provocation is just seditious.
Especially when one of HRH already pronounced in his titah that “Allah is exclusively for Muslims and Non Muslims are prohibited from using the sacred word”, earlier this year.
It is wrong for someone like Martinez to suggest that UMNO used to the ‘kalimah Allah’ issue for political mileage in the 13GE campaign. UMNO as a nationalist party had been struggling for Islam as part of the definitive component of the Malays, ever since the incorporation of the party as the amalgamation and consolidation of 29 Malay NGOs in May 1946.
UMNO was an integral part of the series of consultation and negotiations between HRH Rulers and British High Commissioner since 1947, to replace the Malayan Union.
In a nation where a Malay has been defined by the Federal Constitution, the Malays comprises of over 60% of Malaysians. The Malays have tolerated and accommodated Christianity since 500 years ago and had no issues to live together with the Christians in a typical Malaysian community. The Malays have respected the Christians and Christianity.
This is because all along Christianity had been professed only to the Non Malays and the scriptures and literatures have been made available and freely in their mother languages and/or English only.
However, lately it has become a nuisance to that societal equilibrium when Malay bibles have been made available in Malay communities in Semenanjung. Adding insult to that, there have been Christian activists prosetylising the Malays.
That is not acceptable.
All of these facts would just aggregate that the sense of respect and the values of togetherness fostered as defined by the principles of Rukun Negara have been violated. These violations are not mere tests but more of provocation and making the situation aggravated, when the matter is taken to the courts for a legal tussle.
These provocations and insults of Islam and value system of the Malays would simply translate to the same moves against HRH Rulers. HRH Rulers are absolute figureheads as enshrined by the Federal Constitution and respective State Constitution on matters pertaining to Islam and Malay traditions and heritage.
The Federal Constitution prevailed. Court of Appeal unanimously decided that Home Minister acted appropriately four years ago.
Published: Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 9:54:00 AM
Updated: Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 10:37:05 AM
Govt wins appeal, Herald banned from using word ‘Allah’ over public safety
BY QISHIN TARIQ
PUTRAJAYA: Catholic weekly The Herald will not be allowed to use the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God, ruled the Court of Appeal.
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 court also found that there had been sufficient material considered by the minister in taking action under the Printing and Publications Act 1984.
Thus the panel set aside all orders made by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in conjunction with its allowing the Church’s judicial review back in 2009, with no order as to cost.
The three-member panel, which also included Justices Mohd Zawawi Salleh and Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, each prepared their own judgements, though Justice Mohamed Apandi read a brief summary, saying the full judgement was over 100 pages long.
“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,” he said.
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, adding that this should be read alongside the constitutional freedom of religion.
Senior federal counsel Suzanna Atan represented the Government, while lawyers Porries Royan and Annou Xavier acted as counsel for the Church.
Annou told reporters that they will only be able to confirm in several days time if the Church would appeal to the Federal Court.
The Home Ministry and Government were appealing against the Dec 31, 2009 High Court decision in allowing the church’s judicial review to lift the Ministry’s ban on the use of the word “Allah” in The Herald to refer to the Christian god.
On July 9, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur had filed an application to the strike out the Government’s appeal although it was later unanimously denied by another Court of Appeal panel.
The church, led by Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, had filed the judicial review on Feb 16, 2009, naming the Home Ministry and the Government as respondents.
They sought, among others, a declaration that the decision by the Home Ministry on Jan 7, 2009, prohibiting the use of the word ‘Allah’ in The Herald was illegal and that the word ‘Allah’ is not exclusive to the religion of Islam.
The weekly, published in four languages, has been using the word ‘Allah’ as a translation for ‘God’ in its Malay-language section, but the Government argued that ‘Allah’ should be used exclusively only by Muslims.