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  • » 01/27/2015, 00.00

    MALAYSIA - ISLAM

    For the archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, the word "Allah" can be used in the Bible and in the Mass



    In a pastoral letter, the prelate spoke about the legal dispute between the weekly Herald and the government. The court's decision is limited to the Catholic publication, he said. Thus, the word can be used in other contexts and publications. For Mgr Leow, the faithful must be a people of "faith and hope," fighting for justice and the truth.

    Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) - The ban on the use of the word "Allah" is limited only to the Catholic weekly Herald, and does not apply to the Bible, Masses and other religious services.

    In the latter cases, the word can be used without breaking the law, said Mgr Julian Leow, archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, in a pastoral letter published on the Archdiocese's website.

    In it, the prelate spoke about the legal dispute that involved the weekly edited by Fr Lawrence Andrew, noting that with last week's ruling all legal means have been exhausted.

    However, the decision by the Court of Appeal is limited "only" to the Herald, and does not affect the other activities and publications of the Catholic Church.

    On 21 January, Malaysia's Federal Court dismissed the latest, and perhaps last, appeal by the Catholic Church, concerning the use of the word "Allah" for non-Muslims.

    A five-man panel delivered a unanimous decision turning down the Catholic Church's application for a review of the apex court's earlier ruling which did not grant it leave to appeal the ban on the use of the word "Allah" in the Herald.

    In his pastoral letter, the Most Reverend Julian Leow said that the "Allah" ban did not include a prohibition in the Bible or in praise and worship during mass and prayer sessions.

    "The government," he noted, "has said that the decision of the Court of Appeal is only confined to the Herald's case. We shall therefore take the government at its word".

    The prelate did not hide the uncertainties and possible repercussions of the ban on the rights of minorities to practice their faith.

    However, Catholics are a people of "faith and hope," he said, and would take a stand for justice and truth.

    "We need to protect the rights of the minority and the voiceless," the archbishop of Kuala Lumpur explained.

    "We need to forgive and to reach out in love especially to those who misunderstand and are misinformed," he added.

    He explained that for Catholics, although the Home Minister's restriction on the use of the word "Allah" in the Herald goes against the Federal Constitution, it is only through love that battles are won, for "God is love".

    In a country of more than 28 million people, Muslims are the majority (60 per cent). Christians are the third largest religious group (after Buddhists) with more than 2.6 million members.

    A Latin-Malay dictionary published 400 years ago shows that the word Allah was already in use to describe the Biblical God in the local language.

    Some 180,000 Catholics live in the capital Kuala Lumpur out of a population of over 11 million residents. They are served by 55 priests, 154 men and women religious, but only 1 permanent deacon.

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    See also

    21/01/2015 MALAYSIA - ISLAM
    Malaysia's Federal Court dismisses Catholic case for the use of the word Allah
    Five justices rejected unanimously the appeal filed by the Herald and the Church. For Catholic priest, this is a wrong decision that can affect minority rights. Muslim Lawyers Association, this should be the end of the long-running controversy.

    14/10/2013 MALAYSIA
    Malaysia , Christians banned from using "Allah ". Catholics announce appeal
    This morning the appeals court ruled that the word be “exclusively" used by Muslims . The director of "Malaysia Herald", Fr. Lawrence, expresses " disappointment and shock " and announces appeal to the Federal Court to seek redress. Minister of the State of Sarawak (Borneo ) states : Here Christians can continue to use the word Allah.

    11/09/2013 MALAYSIA - ISLAM
    Malaysia , the courts of appeal refer verdict on the use of the word "Allah" to October
    Appeal hearing opened yesterday , with assistance from the lawyers of the Interior Ministry and the lawyer of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. For the government it is a "religious" matter, for Catholics defense of a " constitutional right " . The prime minister could "politicize " the story to garner electoral support . Director of the Catholic Herald : " Optimistic " .

    11/01/2010 MALAYSIA
    New attack against Christians in Malaysia: the ninth in four days
    Violence linked to the controversy on the use of the word Allah shows no sign of abating. Today a church in the central state of Negeri Sembilan was targeted. Yesterday, four other attacks against churches and Christian schools. Despite the violence, the faithful attended Sunday mass.

    08/01/2010 MALAYSIA
    Malaysia: Four Christian churches attacked over controversy on the use of "Allah"
    Three Protestant places of worship, and one Catholic in the sights of Islamic fundamentalists. The offices of Metro Tabernacle Church damaged. Cars owned by Catholics vandalised. The director of the Catholic weekly Herald confirms "pressure" on government and judiciary to "cancel the Supreme Court ruling."



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