Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Allah for Muslims Only ? - 3

Following my two earlier Blogs of 24 January 2015 and 23 June 2014 there has been a further case in Malaysia involving the question of whether Christians, and other non Muslims, are entitled to use the word "Allah" as the word signifying "God"

The Malaysian Court of Appeal has issued a judgment in an ongoing case involving CD's seized by Malaysian Customs Officers from the luggage of a Malaysian Christian, Ms Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill.  The CD's included ‘Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah’ (How to live in God’s Kingdom), ‘Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah’ (Right living in God’s Kingdom) and ‘Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah’ (True faith in God’s Kingdom) and therefore all used the word "Allah" to refer to "God" hence their seizure. 

The Court of Appeal itself is based on a fairly arcane point of law namely that the Customs Officer involved did not have the necessary legal authority to seize and keep these CD's which were seized in 2008. The decision therefore does seem to keep open the possibility that Government Officials in Malaysia, with the appropriate authority can still seize Christian CD's, Magazines, Bibles etc which refer to "God" as "Allah"   

The Malaysian Courts system has therefore not been in any hurry to decide the issues in this case indeed the fundamantal issue of principle is still not decided if indeed it ever will be. The earlier decision in the "Catholic Herald" case does show that the Malaysian Courts accept that the Government of Malaysia can restrict the use of the word "Allah" and that decision is likely to be used against Ms Ireland if she continues with her claim

So far I have not been able to find a transcript of the Judgment so this Blog is based on reports of the case at Lapido Media (an invaluable source of worldwide religious news), Malaysia University Legal News, and The Malaysia Star

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