BY EILEEN NG (TMI)
OCTOBER 12, 2013
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (pic) today weighed in on the controversial “Allah” row, saying there is nothing wrong with non-Muslims using the term in their faiths provided it is not misused or misinterpreted.
“There is no law that does not allow other people to use the word ‘Allah’, but if they interpret it wrongly to Muslims, they need to answer because Allah means He is the only God to be worshiped,” Hadi said after launching a seminar on Shariah at the Universiti Selangor in Shah Alam, today.
Hadi’s statement comes as the Court of Appeal prepares to give its decision on the appeal by Catholic weekly newspaper Herald to be allowed to use the word.
The High Court in Kuala Lumpur had ruled on December 31, 2009 that the weekly newspaper could use the word.
Following Putrajaya’s appeal against that decision, a three-man bench led by Datuk Seri Mohamad Apandi Ali heard submissions on September 10 from lawyers representing Putrajaya, the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church and Islamic religious councils.
Hadi said it was not for Muslims to stop others from using the word “Allah”, pointing out that unlike the word “God”, “Allah” is an Arabic word which cannot be translated into another language.
This, he added, makes the term sacred.
His comments contrast the recent call by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) on Muslims to unite against any attempt to misuse the word “Allah”.
The Council, in the prepared text of the Friday sermon, has questioned the use of the word “Allah” in the Bible, saying the action was contradictory to Christians’ belief in the concept of Trinity.
But Jakim added that use of the term in Christian bibles could cause confusion among Muslims, saying they might be mistaken about the identity of “Allah” and ultimately destroy their faith.
Jakim’s call prompted a defiant statement from church leaders in Sabah and Sarawak which said Christians would continue using “Allah” regardless of court outcome.
“The Bumiputera church will continue to use the Bahasa Malaysia Alkitab together with the word ‘Allah’ both of which are fundamental to all aspects of the profession and practice of the Christian faith,” they said in a strongly-worded statement last night.
The Allah row erupted in early 2009 after the Home Ministry threatened to revoke Herald’s permit for using the word in place of God.
The church then took Putrajaya to court, accusing it of violating the constitutional rights of Christians.
The High Court allowed the church’s judicial review application and lifted the minister’s ban.
Judge Lau Bee Lan said that the church had a constitutional right to use the word Allah in its newspaper on the grounds that religions other than Islam can be practised in peace and harmony, as stated in the federal constitution. – October 12, 2013.