Isnin, 4 Januari 2010

PAS menyokong penggunaan Kalimah ALLAH dalam Herald Tribune Malaysia, sebuah penerbitan dari pihak Gereja.

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Malaysian Islamic party supports Catholic fight to use 'Allah'
Published On December 17 , 2009
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Islamic councils allowed to fight Catholic church over ‘Allah’

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Stephanie March
The Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) says it supports the Catholic Church's fight to overturn a government ban on the use of the term 'Allah' to describe God in Christian texts.

Malaysia's high court is due to rule on the issue at the end of this month, ending a two year legal battle.

The government says the use of the word could insult and enrage Muslims and lead to public disorder.

Zulfikar Ahmad from Islamic Party PAS says the Church has a constitutional right to use the term, and it is not forbidden in the Koran.

"I personally believe and PAS as well believe the way forward for a mutually respecting religious relationship, especially in a plural, multi-racial and multicultural society like Malaysia is not to deny outrightly the right of others to use the name of Allah."

In 2007, the Church launched the legal challenge on behalf of the Catholic Herald, a weekly publication distributed amongst Malaysia's 850,000 Catholics.

The government has been arguing that the word should be used exclusively by Muslims.

Editor of the Catholic Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew says 'Allah' has been used by the Church in Malaysia for centuries.

Constitutional right

He says he has a constitutional right to keep using it in the Malay-language edition of the paper.

"There is a new movement in the last 20 years where they have begun to stress that Allah belongs to Muslims," he said.

"It is a slow gradual claim of the word, so therefore we are being pushed backwards, pushed aside, we are being marginalised."

The Herald is not the only publication directly affected by the ban.

This year the Malaysian government blocked the import of thousands of Malay-language Bibles because they used the word 'Allah" to refer to God.

The government says allowing Catholics to refer to Allah could confuse, insult, or enrage Muslims, leading to public disorder.

But Father Lawrence disagrees.

"Has this word in Malaysia created any disturbance for last 400 years or 500 years? Not at all so how do we arrive at a situation that this word will cause disharmony... when over centuries, nothing has happened?"

Public support for ban

Dr Shad Faruqi, a constitutional law professor from the University of Technology MARA , says there's widespread public support for the ban.

"A number of Muslim religious groups have joined forces to seek to appear before the court to submit arguments and the judge has been trying to contain the number of groups that are trying to intervene," he said.

While the Malaysian constitution has provisions to protect freedom of speech and religion, Dr Faruqi says Malaysian law allows the government to restrict these activities to maintain public order.

"The public order implication for Malaysia is this - if someone were to say 'Allah was born of Mary, Allah was crucified"...all the attributes of Christian God were attributed to Allah some Muslims may feel offended."

Some of the groups supporting the ban also believe the Church is using the term in an effort to proselytise amongst Muslims, which can be deemed illegal.

While the Catholic Church may have a constitutional right to use the word, Dr Farqui says in a diverse country like Malaysia the Church could use discretion and use a different word.

"I personally think there is no serious implication for freedom of religion if they don't use the word Allah."

"They could use the word Tohan. This is a case of using a right. I think it is not always right to make use of ones rights. I think sometimes the need for social harmony is important."

The judge presiding over the case is due to hand down his finding on December 30.

Courtesy: Australian Network News

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