Friday, January 01, 2010

'Allah' is not only for the exclusive usage of Muslims - that is what the High Court reminds us, and it is time to move on...

Well, at the end of 2009, the High Court has ruled in favour of the Catholic Church, and as such has also decided that the word 'Allah' is not only for the exclusive usage of Muslims. All of us knew that already...except the Home Minister of the UMNO-led BN, who is responsible for this 'non-issue' being raised up after almost 50 years of independence..

Our constitution prohibits attempts to convert Muslims...that is all. Thus reasonably, in publications of all other religions, there must be the phrase "Not For Muslims in Malaysia". There is no necessity for "Only for Christians"..."Only for Buddhists", etc

This High Court case is over - and now it is time for State governments (including Pakatan Rakyat State governments) to make the necessary amendments to their respective State Enactments to remove the prohibition of persons (other than Muslims) from using certain Arabic words. Selangor should really take the lead.

Remember the Malaysian constitution/law only prohibits attempts to convert Muslims... that is all.

Who won...and who lost? There is really no victors (or losers) in this matter, and it is time for us all in Malaysia to move forward and deal other more pressing issues of rights, democracy, transparency, accountability, corruption, death in custody, detention without trial, 'shoot to kill' incidents, local council elections, justice, ...

We have to remember that it was the UMNO led-BN that raised this 'non-issue' for over 50 years, and made it an issue. I believe that the reason was to try to win back the support of the peoples of Malaysia particularly the Muslims. Thankfully it did not work and cause greater divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims ... and one of the reason for this was that mature Malaysians, including PAS, rejected that suggestion that certain words were only for the exclusive usage of Muslims (and cannot be used by persons of other faiths). 

Let us now peruse the various newspaper reports on this...

The High Court has ruled that the Catholic weekly The Herald can use the word "Allah" in its articles to propagate Christianity among its followers .

Judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan said the use of the word was constitutional as long as the periodical was confined to educate the followers of the Christian faith.

She said the usage of the word was in accordance with Articles 3, 10, 11 and 12 of the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

Article 3 says Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony.

Lau said it was the constitutional right of the publisher to use the word "Allah" as Article 10 gave every citizen the freedom of speech and expression.

She said Article 11 stated that every religious group had the right to manage its own affairs, while Article 12 gave religious groups the right to instruct and educate believers of the same faith.
She said the word "Allah" would only be banned if the periodical was used to propagate Christianity among Muslims.

"The object of the enactments is to prevent the propagation of non-Islamic religions among Muslims," Lau said in her oral decision.

On the contention that The Herald had also gone online, she said it was unavoidable "as the information technology readily made it accessible".

She said eight states and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association had no right to be heard as they could not establish that they had a direct interest in the judicial review application brought by the publisher of The Herald.

In allowing the application to quash the Jan 7 decision last year to impose condition to prohibit the publication from using the word, she said the home minister had taken into account irrelevant considerations. Lau said it was justiciable for the publisher to challenge the prohibition because the court had the authority to review the decision of the minister.

Lawyers Porres Royen, S. Selvarajah, Benjamin Dawson and Leonard Teoh represented the publisher while Datuk Kamaludin Md Said appeared for the minister and the government.- New Straits Times, 31/12/2009, Court rules in favour of 'Herald'
 The Star

The Catholic weekly Herald is now free to use the word “Allah” in its publication after the High Court quashed the Home Minister’s prohibition against it using the word, declaring the order as “illegal, null and void.”

In her decision, Justice Lau Bee Lan also declared that under Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, applicant Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam had the constitutional right to use “Allah” in the Herald in the exercise of his right that religions other than Islam might be practised in peace and harmony in the country.

She further ruled that the Constitution, which states Islam as the country’s religion, did not empower the minister to make such a prohibition.

“In pursuant to Article 10, the applicant also has the right to use the word ‘Allah’ in the Herald in the exercise of his right to freedom of speech and expression,” she said in her oral judgment yesterday to a packed courtroom.

Justice Lau ruled as grounds for her judgement that both the respondents – the minister and the Malaysian government – had failed throughout the trial to prove how the use of the word “Allah” could threaten national security.

On Jan 7 last year, the Home Ministry had approved the Herald’s publication permit on condition that the usage of the word “Allah” was prohibited and the word “Limited” (Terhad) be endorsed on its front page to mean that it must be circulated only among Christians.

The minister had prohibited the usage on grounds of national security and to avoid misunderstanding and confusion among Muslims.

The Archbishop, as Herald’s publisher, had filed an application on Feb 16 for a judicial review to seek a declaration that the minister’s decision for the prohibition was illegal and that the word “Allah” was not exclusive to Islam.

Representing the Archbishop were counsels Porres P. Royan and S. Selvarajah while senior federal counsel Datuk Kamaludin Md Said stood for the respondents.

Following the ruling, Kamaludin sought a clarification for the decla­ration to be only confined for the permit in question, which was for the period from Jan 1 to Dec 31 last year, and not future permits.

“It does not relate to an order or decision relating to future permits,” he said, adding that future permits would require a fresh application.

However, Royan argued that the permit for the period between Jan 1 and Dec 31 this year had already been issued, subjected to the same condition pending the court’s determination on the matter.

“The order speaks for itself. I believe the minister will be bound by the words he has used and that he will respect the court’s decision.

“Of course, they have other remedies. The court has granted declarations to allow the use of the word “Allah” that must bind the parties,” he said.

Kamaludin then said he would seek direction from the minister on whether they would file a stay of execution application or an appeal.

In an immediate reaction, Herald’s editor Father Andrew Lawrence told the press that this was a “long-awaited” decision, hailing it as a “landmark case for our nation”.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said they would appeal the decision.- Star, 1/1/2010, High Court grants Catholic publication Herald the right to use ‘Allah’ word again

In a landmark judgment, the Kuala Lumpur High Court presented the Catholic Church a belated Christmas present by ruling that the home ministry's blanket ban on the use of the word 'Allah' illegal.

In making the decision to allow the motion by the Catholic Church to set aside the ban, High Court judge Lau Bee Lan stated that the minister's order is "illegal, null and void".
herald the catholic weekly online 241207
She said that Catholic weekly The Herald can use the word 'Allah' and that the term is not exclusive to Islam.
"Even though Islam is the federal religion, it does not
empower the respondents to prohibit the use of the word."

Justice Lau added that the Home Ministry also failed to substantiate any of its claims of threats to national security which could be caused by the use of the word 'Allah' by the Herald.

This overturning of the Home Ministry's earlier ban will open the doors for the Catholic weekly and other non-Islamic publications to use the word 'Allah' as a direct translation for the word 'God' in the Malay language versions of their publications.

Justice Lau added that all Malaysians had the constitutional right to use the word 'Allah' under Article 11 of the federal constitution which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of religion and the practice of it.
herald case 311209 father lawrence 
The Herald editor Lawrence Andrew (right), met by reporters outside the courtroom fresh from the verdict, said that he was "very happy" with the decision.
However, he stopped short of calling it a victory, saying instead, "We called out for justice and we got it."

If it is at all a victory, he added, "It is a victory for all Malaysians. This shows that we are truly living in a '1Malaysia', not two Malaysias. We can say right now that we
are citizens of one nation.

"'Allah' is a cherished word, we use in our churches and it is dear to us. It is good that the right to use it has been returned to us," he said.

He said The Herald would use the word 'Allah' in its upcoming Sunday edition.

However, given the implication of the case, it is likely that the Home Ministry will appeal against the decision to the higher courts.

Home Ministry may appeal

Deputy public prosecutor Kamaruddin Mohd Said indicated as such when asked by Malaysiakini after the trial, "The court has ruled and we have to respect the decision of the court. However, if it is decided that this issue requires further contention, then we will apply for a stay to the ruling and file an appeal against it."

He added, "I will have to look at the decision in detail first and consider the inclusion of constitutional rights into the ruling. I will also need to refer back to the Home Ministry and await further instructions."
herald case 311209 kamaruddin md said
Earlier in court, after the judgment was delivered, Kamaruddin (left in photo), who represented the government in the matter, argued that it was only valid for Herald's 2009 annual publication permit, and the restrictions on the use of the word 'Allah' contained therein.

He said today's decision could not affect future permits and a new application for a judicial review would have to be applied for to set aside any similar restrictions contained in the Herald's future permits.

However, lawyers representing the Herald contended that the home minister's statement "pending the court's determination" (when issuing the ban) spoke for itself, taking to mean that the home minister would have to respect the court's decision when issuing any future permit.

Justice Lau agreed with the Herald's lawyers saying that the home minister's statement "speaks volumes" on the matter.

The landmark case, which was supposed to be heard at the Jalan Duta court complex yesterday, had been postponed to today because Lau said she needed more time to consider her decision.

National security vs religious freedom

The Home Ministry had invoked concerns of national security and said that the ban was to avert any confusion that could ensue should non-Islamic publications use the word 'Allah' as a substitute for 'God'.

The ministry asserted that 'Allah' was exclusive to Islam as a term for the 'one true God'. Hence, other religions could not use it as a generic term.
herald judicial review kl court 250408 group
The Catholic Church, in filing the judicial review, however disputed this and argued that the word 'Allah' predates Islam as a generic term for 'God' and has been in use in many places, even in the Middle East.

It added that in Malaysia, the term 'Allah' is widely used among indigenous Christian tribes in Sabah and Sarawak.

The church also argued that the ban goes against the principle of freedom of religion and religious practices as outlined in the federal constitution.

The Herald, circulated among the country's 850,000 Catholics, nearly lost its publishing licence last year for using the word 'Allah'. The paper is printed in four languages, with a circulation of 14,000 copies a week. - Malaysiakini, 31/12/2009, Court declares 'Allah' ban invalid
I also perused the Utusan Malaysia Online reports..., and there were 3...

Gereja Katolik dibenarkan menggunakan perkataan Allah dalam penerbitan mingguannya, Herald - The Catholic Weekly setelah Mahkamah Tinggi berpendapat bahawa setiap individu mempunyai hak berperlembagaan untuk menggunakan perkataan Allah.

Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi (Bahagian Rayuan dan Kuasa-Kuasa Khas), Datuk Lau Bee Lan ketika membenarkan permohonan tersebut berkata, Gereja Katolik selaku pemohon mempunyai hak untuk berbuat demikian di bawah Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Menurut beliau, Artikel 11(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan menyebut bahawa menjadi satu kesalahan bagi seseorang bukan Islam untuk menggunakan perkataan Allah kepada umat Islam untuk menyebarkan agamanya.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, ia bukanlah satu kesalahan bagi bukan Islam menggunakan perkataan itu sesama mereka bagi tujuan agama mereka.

Hakim tersebut juga bersependapat dengan pemohon bahawa Artikel 3(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang menyatakan Islam selaku agama rasmi tidak memberi kuasa atau membenarkan Menteri Dalam Negeri dan Kerajaan Malaysia menghalang gereja tersebut daripada menggunakan perkataan Allah.

Penggunaan perkataan Allah dalam penerbitan itu juga, menurut beliau, merupakan sebahagian daripada hak untuk bersuara sebagaimana termaktub dalam Perlembagaan.

Dalam penghakiman lisannya, hakim itu menyatakan, perintah larangan yang dikeluarkan menyatakan penggunaan perkataan tersebut boleh menimbulkan kekeliruan dan salah faham di kalangan umat Islam serta menggugat ketenteraman negara.

‘‘Pihak responden dalam hujahnya bagaimanapun tidak memberikan sebarang bukti bagaimana penggunaan perkataan Allah boleh mengganggu ketenteraman awam,’’ katanya.

Sehubungan itu, beliau menyatakan, keputusan Menteri Dalam Negeri melarang penerbitan mingguan itu menggunakan perkataan ‘Allah’ adalah salah di sisi undang-undang, batal dan tidak sah.

Hakim Bee Lan memutuskan demikian dalam semakan kehakiman oleh Gereja Katolik yang difailkan melalui Ketua Paderi, Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam dengan menamakan Kementerian Dalam Negeri dan Kerajaan Malaysia sebagai responden.

Gereja Katolik antara lain menuntut perisytiharan bahawa keputusan responden pada 7 Januari 2009 yang melarang penggunaan perkataan Allah dalam Herald-The Catholic Weekly adalah menyalahi undang-undang dan perkataan Allah bukan eksklusif untuk kegunaan agama Islam sahaja.

Sejurus keputusan itu diumumkan, Peguam Kanan Persekutuan, Datuk Kamaludin Md. Said meminta penjelasan sama ada ketetapan tersebut mempengaruhi permit penerbitan berkenaan bagi tempoh 1 Januari hingga 31 Disember 2010.

Ini kerana, katanya, permohonan itu dibuat berdasarkan larangan terhadap permit bertarikh 1 Januari hingga 31 Disember 2009.

Peguam Porres Royan yang mewakili gereja itu sebaliknya menyatakan keputusan telah pun dikeluarkan hari ini dan terpulang kepada pihak-pihak yang terlibat untuk mentafsirkannya.- Utusan Malaysia Online, 31/12/2009, Gereja dibenar guna kalimah Allah 

 Kerajaan digesa mempercepatkan rayuan berhubung keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi hari ini yang membenarkan akhbar mingguan Herald-The Catholic Weekly menggunakan perkataan Allah dalam penerbitannya.

Setiausaha Agung Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), Mohamad Raimi Ab. Rahim berkata, Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) perlu menggunakan saluran perundangan yang ada untuk mengemukakan rayuan terhadap keputusan itu yang disifatkan merobek sensitiviti umat Islam.

“ABIM juga memohon campur tangan Majlis Raja-Raja untuk menghentikan segera polemik penggunaan kalimah Allah ini.

“Gesaan ini selari dengan peruntukan Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang menetapkan segala urusan berkaitan dengan hal ehwal agama Islam diletakkan di bawah kuasa raja-raja Melayu,” katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian sebagai mengulas keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi di sini yang membenarkan Herald-The Catholic Weekly menggunakan perkataan Allah dalam penerbitannya atas alasan ia mempunyai hak dalam perlembagaan.

Hakim Datuk Lau Bee Lan menegaskan bahawa KDN telah bertindak secara salah ketika mengenakan larangan penggunaan perkataan Allah dalam penerbitan akhbar mingguan itu.

Mohamad Raimi berkata, keputusan itu tidak bertepatan dengan peruntukan Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang meletakkan Islam di tempat yang istimewa di antara agama-agama lain di negara ini.

“Kesan utama kepada penggunaan ini ialah masyarakat bukan Islam diberikan hak berdasarkan tafsiran perlembagaan untuk menggunakan kalimah Allah dan sebarang larangan oleh pihak berkuasa atau autoriti agama Islam adalah tidak sah,” katanya.

Timbalan Presiden Peguam Syarie Malaysia (PGSM), Musa Awang pula berkata, keputusan itu bukan sahaja satu pukulan yang hebat terhadap agama Islam.

Menurutnya, PGSM tetap berpendirian perkataan Allah hanya eksklusif kepada penganut Islam.

“Bagaimanapun, PGSM akur dengan keputusan tersebut kerana menghormati mahkamah, namun akan mengkaji keputusan itu bersama pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) lain termasuk membawanya ke mahkamah yang lebih tinggi,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Timbalan Presiden Persatuan Peguam Muslim, Muhamad Burok turut kecewa dengan keputusan itu dan mahu kerajaan mengambil langkah sewajarnya kerana perkataan Allah bukan satu mainan terutamanya untuk orang bukan Islam.

Menurutnya, perkataan Allah ditauhidkan sebagai ‘satu’ dan bukannya tuhan seperti yang difahami orang bukan Islam.

“Umat Islam memahami penggunaan perkataan Allah mengikut syahadah iaitu Allah adalah satu dan Nabi Muhammad SAW itu pesuruh Allah dan ini bertentangan dengan pemahaman orang bukan Islam,” katanya.

Presiden Pertubuhan Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), Zaid Kamaruddin pula berkata, keputusan itu dilihat bertentangan dengan undang-undang yang terdapat di 10 negeri yang melarang penggunaan kalimah Allah oleh orang bukan Islam.

“JIM berasakan perlu penglibatan Mahkamah Syariah dalam isu melibatkan penggunaan kalimah Allah,” katanya.

Presiden Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM), Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz pula berkata, pihaknya akan mengemukakan rayuan bersama KDN untuk menyemak semula keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi itu.

Menurutnya, dalam konteks masyarakat Malaysia dan Melayu, kalimah Allah adalah bersifat eksklusif yang hanya merujuk kepada konsep tuhan yang difahami oleh umat Islam sahaja. - Utusan Malaysia Online, 31/12/2009, Kerajaan digesa cepat buat rayuan

Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Negara (Perkasa) memohon Majlis Raja-Raja supaya membincangkan keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi hari ini yang membenarkan akhbar mingguan Herald-The Catholic Weekly menggunakan perkataan Allah dalam penerbitannya.

Presidennya, Datuk Ibrahim Ali berkata, urusan berkaitan Islam adalah di bawah Majlis Raja-Raja dan Islam adalah agama rasmi Persekutuan yang mempunyai kedudukan istimewa dalam negara.

"Perkara ini termaktub di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan di bawah Perkara 153.

"Inilah masanya raja-raja Melayu bertindak melindungi Islam dan umat Islam menanti tindakan itu dengan penuh harapan," katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian sebagai mengulas keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi di sini yang membenarkan Herald-The Catholic Weekly menggunakan perkataan Allah dalam penerbitannya atas alasan ia mempunyai hak dalam perlembagaan.

Hakim Datuk Lau Bee Lan menegaskan bahawa Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) telah bertindak secara salah ketika mengenakan larangan penggunaan perkataan Allah dalam penerbitan akhbar mingguan itu.

Ibrahim hairan kenapa urusan hal ehwal Islam boleh dicabar di mahkamah sivil.

Justeru katanya, Perkasa mendesak kerajaan supaya segera memperbetulkan keadaan itu agar agama itu tidak mudah dicabar oleh orang bukan Islam.- Utusan Malaysia Online, 31/12/2009, Perkasa mohon Majlis Raja-Raja bincang isu


Anonymous said...

My dear Charles

Sekurang kurangnya kita kongsikan ayat ayat berikut kepada kekawan Islam dan belum Islam

3:64 (Malay) "Katakanlah: ""Hai Ahli Kitab, marilah (berpegang) kepada suatu kalimat (ketetapan) yang tidak ada perselisihan antara kami dan kamu, bahwa tidak kita sembah kecuali Allah dan tidak kita persekutukan Dia dengan sesuatu pun dan tidak (pula) sebagian kita menjadikan sebagian yang lain sebagai tuhan selain Allah. Jika mereka berpaling maka katakanlah kepada mereka: ""Saksikanlah, bahwa kami adalah orang-orang yang berserah diri (kepada Allah)""."

Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him). (Aal ‘Imran 3:64)

5:17 (Malay) "Sesungguhnya telah kafirlah orang-orang yang berkata: ""Sesungguhnya Allah itu ialah Al Masih putra Maryam"". Katakanlah: ""Maka siapakah (gerangan) yang dapat menghalang-halangi kehendak Allah, jika Dia hendak membinasakan Al Masih putra Maryam itu beserta ibunya dan seluruh orang-orang yang berada di bumi semuanya?"" Kepunyaan Allah-lah kerajaan langit dan bumi dan apa yang di antara keduanya; Dia menciptakan apa yang dikehendaki-Nya. Dan Allah Maha Kuasa atas segala sesuatu."

Al-Ma'idah (The Table Spread)
5:17 (Y. Ali) In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every - one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things."

As exclaimed by Moses (pbuh): “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4.

“I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from Me there is no God.”
Isaiah 45:5.

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”
Exodus 20:3-5

Jesus Christ (pbuh) said the following in the Bible:
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
John 17:3

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”
John 5:44

“The most important commandments,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, is one Lord’”
Mark 12:29

59:24 (Y. Ali) He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

The name of God is Allah even in the Bible

Anonymous said...

charles hector...we as muslims warn u & like minded people like u...DONT PlaY WITH FIRE!

let us look in MALAYSIAN context...

WEEKLY(in print media)....