Non-Muslim can use ‘Allah’ in three states, FTs

Monday, January 18, 2010

Malaysian Insider


UPDATED
By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz today said that non-Muslims are allowed to use the word “Allah” in three states — Penang, Sabah and Sarawak — and the Federal Territories.
He said this is because other states have enactments on Islam which prohibit the use of the term by non-Muslims.
Nazri (picture) had last week proposed that East Malaysian Christians be allowed to use the term, though maintained that it should remain prohibited to West Malaysians.
“In my opinion, the court decision is only effective for Sabah, Sarawak and Penang, not the other states where it is the law,” the minister in charge of law and parliamentary affairs told reporters after launching a public transport awareness campaign here today.
The federal lawmaker related that he had once gone “incognito” to a church in Sarawak where the word “Allah” was used during service. He added that the Muslims there also had no problems with the word being used by Christians because they understood it was due to “custom and culture”.

“I don’t think they should pass the law in Sabah and Sarawak. I think it’s been the culture there but it’s different here,” he said, referring to the peninsula.
The controversy over the word started after a Dec 31, 2009 ruling by the High Court allowing a Catholic newspaper to use the term “Allah” to refer to the Christian God in its Bahasa Malaysia section.
The ruling sparked off Muslim anger across the country, and has seen attacks on 10 churches, a mosque, a Sikh temple, and a convent school.

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