Home Ministry Applies For Stay Of Court Order On Use Of "Allah"

The Home Ministry today filed an application to stay the execution of the High Court ruling that the word "Allah" can be used by the Catholic weekly magazine, Herald.

The application was filed at the High Court Registry here.

Yesterday, the ministry lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal against the ruling.

On Dec 31, High Court Judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan ruled that 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.

She also said that pursuant to Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, it was an offence for non-Muslims to use the word "Allah" to Muslims to propagate the religion but it was not an offence for non-Muslims to use the word to non-Muslims for the purpose of religion.

On Feb 16, Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam filed for a judicial review on the use of the word "Allah" in the church's publications for the period Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2009, naming the Home Ministry and the government as respondents and claiming that the word 'Allah' was not exclusive to the religion of Islam.

The Herald, which is printed in four languages, has been using the word 'Allah' as a translation for 'God' in its Malay-language section.

The word 'Allah' is widely used among the indigenous Christian groups in Sabah and Sarawak, most of whom speak Bahasa Malaysia.

The Home Minister had justified the ban on the grounds of national security and to avert misunderstanding and confusion among Muslims. 

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