Malay Muslim groups demand that government appeal High Court’s ‘Allah’ ruling

Ashman Adam
·2-min read
The alliance of Malay Muslim civil society groups expressed 'shock and disappointment' at the ruling. —Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
The alliance of Malay Muslim civil society groups expressed 'shock and disappointment' at the ruling. —Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — An alliance of Malay Muslim civil society groups urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to appeal the High Court’s recent decision to allow the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications.

The Vibes reported that the alliance—Pertubuhan-Pertubuhan Pembela Islam (Pembela) — also wanted the ministry to issue a new circular forbidding the use of the word if the appeal is granted.

“We want to express our shock and disappointment with the High Court that has found the prevention of use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims is wrong and unconstitutional.

“This decision goes against the Federal Court’s precedent and will give space to its misuse,” said Pembela chairman Aminuddin Yahaya after a meeting with some 250 representatives from 50 Malay groups supporting Pembela’s aim.

Aminuddin said the High Court’s decision would create confusion among Muslims and non-Muslims, at the same time paving the way for apostasy and pluralist thinking.

The group also urged other Muslim organisations to take this court decision seriously.

They added that memorandums should be sent to all state religious authorities as soon as possible.

On March 10, the High Court ruled that the Malaysian government’s directive issued in 1986 with a total ban on the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications is unconstitutional and invalid, and also declared orders to affirm Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s constitutional rights to not be discriminated against and practise her faith.

The decision has caused an uproar, with both Umno and PAS demanding that the decision be referred to the Court of Appeal.

The word “Allah” is Arabic for “God” and has been adopted into the Malay language. The word has been used for generations by Malay-speaking Christians in the country, especially those living in Sabah and Sarawak.

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