Jan 4, 2010

Pak Lah - Use of the word ‘Allah’ must be clearly defined

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 (Bernama) — The issue of the use of the word “Allah” in the Catholic church’s weekly publication, the Herald, must be clearly explained immediately to the people, including non-Muslims, to avoid tension and confusion, said former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Abdullah, who is the chairman of the Institute of Islamic Understanding of Malaysia (Ikim), said the stand was made by the institute at its three-hour meeting chaired by him today.

“The issue must be well understood, so it must be clearly explained with the facts,” Abdullah told Bernama here.

He said Ikim has the religious experts or scholars who could provide the explanations on the issue through articles or forums.

“We can do this almost immediately. If non-Muslims want explanations on the issue, Ikim officials are prepared to meet them,” he added.

On Thursday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed the Herald to use the word “Allah”.

Last Feb 16, Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, as the publisher of the weekly, filed for a judicial review on the use of the word “Allah” in the church’s publication, seeking a declaration that the Home Minister’s decision to prohibit the use of the word in the publication was wrong and that the word “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.

Abdullah said he was worried that if the issue was not explained clearly, it could bring harm to the country in the form of racial tension and conflict.

He also hoped the people would show restraint so as not to confuse the situation that could result in undesirable actions and reactions.

“Be careful about this issue. Acting on emotions cannot resolve it, but understanding based on facts can, God willing,” he said.

Abdullah said as the issue would again be brought to court, the legal process should not be disturbed, while it was the government’s right to appeal against the High Court’s decision.

The Home Ministry today filed the appeal against the High Court’s decision. Tomorrow, it will apply for a stay of execution of the court order made on Dec 31. — Bernama

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