We refer to the Malaysiakini report Herald: Lawsuit on 'Allah' to proceed.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia expresses deep disappointment and regret with the cabinet decision against the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims in their worship and in their publications.
It is wrong to prohibit certain sections of the Malaysian public against the use of a particular word in their daily prayers or in their publications.
The word ‘Allah’ is of ancient lineage originating from the Middle East and used by both the non-Muslims and Muslims for centuries all over the world. The word ‘Allah’ is a pre-Islamic word used by Arab Christians before Islam came into being.
The Holy Quran itself admits that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the one and same ‘Allah’ (Surah 2:62, 2:133, repeated in Surah 5:69, and again in Surah 22:17).
Bahasa Malaysia, the language of all Malaysians, has incorporated the word ‘Allah’ which denotes the One and Almighty God into the language. Therefore, we maintain and we have always told the government that we have the right to use the word ‘Allah’ whether in our Bahasa Malaysia publications or otherwise.
We urge the government, in recognition of the universal heritage of religious terminology like ‘Allah’ and others and in the context of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, to recognise and uphold the right of all Malaysians to the continued use of the word ‘Allah’ and other appropriate religious terminology without restrictions.
The restriction against the use of the word ‘Allah’ by some Malaysians will put the country in a bad light in the international community.
The writer is chairman, Christian Federation of Malaysia.