Umno Selangor Threatens To Protest Over Use Of ‘Allah’ By Non-Muslims

Umno Selangor is threatening to protest at all churches in the state on Sunday unless a senior Catholic priest apologises for insisting that Christians can use the word “Allah”, reported Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia today.

Umno Gombak division chief Abdul Rahim Kamarudin said they would stage a protest if Catholic weekly Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew does not withdraw his statement by Saturday.

"We have to be firm and cannot condone this. His actions are rude and we want him to apologise to all Muslims," Umno Kota Raja division chief Kamaruzzaman Johari said in the Malay language daily.

Umno Selangor liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Abdul Shukor Idrus said Lawrence was challenging the sultan of Selangor’s decree prohibiting non-Muslims in the state from using “Allah” to describe God.

"Looking at His Majesty's decree, it is clearly meant to ensure the harmony of all races and religion in Selangor," he said.

In an interview last week, newly appointed director of Jais Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad said the state religious authorities would draw up a list of Selangor churches before writing to ask them to comply with the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.

“We will write to all the churches in Selangor to respect the law that is in force in relation to this,” he was quoted as saying.

The enactment, which was passed by the Barisan Nasional state government, prohibits non-Muslims in Selangor from using 35 Arabic words and phrases, including “Allah”, “Nabi” (prophet), “Injil” (gospel) and “Insya'Allah” (God willing).

However, lawyers had challenged the move, saying that it was unconstitutional.

The latest to do so is the Catholic Lawyers' Society. Its president, Viola De Cruz Silva, said today there were no provisions in the Federal Constitution banning non-Muslims from propagating their religion in their community or to other non-Muslim communities or groups.

"Therefore, any intended letter from Jais to the churches in Selangor would be invalid," she said in a statement.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikkhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president Jagir Singh said the 2009 decision by High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan ruled that non-Muslims could use words like “Allah” provided it was confined to their own religious groups.

“It is only an offence by non-Muslims to use such words to propagate their religion to Muslims,” he had told The Malaysian Insider.

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