World

Malaysian Christians in
Borneo can continue using
'Allah'

Allah dispute: Muslim demonstrators chant slogans outside the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Oct. 14, 2013. A Malaysian appeals court has upheld a government ban against the use of the word "Allah" to refer to God in non-Muslim faiths, overruling claims by Christians in this Muslim-majority nation that the restriction violates their religious rights. (AP/Vincent Thian)
Allah dispute: Muslim demonstrators chant slogans outside the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Oct. 14, 2013. A Malaysian appeals court has upheld a government ban against the use of the word "Allah" to refer to God in non-Muslim faiths, overruling claims by Christians in this Muslim-majority nation that the restriction violates their religious rights. (AP/Vincent Thian)

Christians in Sabah and Sarawak states in East Malaysia can continue using the term “Allah” in their worship, as the federal government will honour the 10-point solution on the issue made in 2011.

Stating this, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak also advised all groups not to politicise the issue “as they will be playing with fire that can eventually burn them”.

The Court of Appeal decision to uphold the home ministry’s ban on the use of “Allah” in the Catholic publication The Herald does not affect the Christians of Sabah and Sarawak, he said.

(Under the 10-point solution announced by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala, Bibles in all languages can be imported into the country, including those in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia, and the Bibles can also be printed locally in Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Bibles in the indigenous languages of Sabah and Sarawak, such as Iban, Kadazandusun and Lun Bawang, could be printed locally and imported)

Najib said the people of Sabah and Sarawak should not feel threatened by this issue because whatever they had been practising so far can continue without any restriction.

The prime minister was addressing delegates at the 18th congress of Parti Bersatu Sabah, led by Joseph Pairin Kitingan, here on Monday.

“There is always a solution to any problem in ensuring peace and harmony through good relations between all races and religious beliefs.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find a formula for harmony.

“The solution is just rational thinking.

“Muslims should not hurt the feelings of non-Muslims and non-Muslims should not hurt the feelings of Muslims,” said Najib, stressing that Malaysians of all races and religious beliefs must help preserve the unity in the diversity of the people.

In Kuala Lumpur, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also assured the that the Court of Appeal’s ruling on The Herald applied only to the weekly and not be imposed on Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia.

“The government does not intend to restrict the religious freedom of others but The Herald should also respect the court’s decision,” he said.

Post Your Say

Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.

From Our Networks