Home Civil Society Voices 2013 Civil Society Voices Courts continue to ignore rights of Christian minority

Courts continue to ignore rights of Christian minority

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The Christian community in Malaysia is gravely dismayed and very disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal to uphold the power of the Minister to ban the use of the word Allah in the Herald publication.

The Herald has been barred from using the term Allah - Photograph: Wikipedia
The Herald has been barred from using the term Allah – Photograph: Wikipedia

In a wide-ranging decision, all Christian publications in Bahasa Malaysia would appear to be affected by this ruling. By stating that “the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity” the court has totally ignored the position of our East Malaysian Bumiputera and Orang Asli Christians, who constitute 60 per cent of the church in Malaysia and who are Bahasa Malaysia-speaking.

In particular, by holding that “the welfare of an individual or group must yield to that of the community” and applying this principle to freedom of religion, this decision is yet another erosion and infringement of the constitutional protection to the freedom of religious communities to profess and practise their faith and to manage their own affairs.

In what would appear to be a re-reading and re-interpretation of Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, it would now appear that a minority religion can only be practised and professed in Malaysia to the extent that it does not upset the “peace and harmony” of adherents of the majority religion.

The Bahasa Malaysia-speaking churches have been using the word Allah both before and after the independence of Malaya and the formation of Malaysia. The use of the word Allah by the Malaysian churches had not been an issue all these years.

However, the various authorities in this country by making an issue of it and by what would appear to be selective action or inaction have only encouraged and fuelled further misunderstandings, mistrusts and brokenness between the Muslim and Christian communities. This will only further undermine the unity of Malaysians.

Despite this very negative development, the Christian Federation of Malaysia reminds all churches in Malaysia to always look to God and to pray for wisdom and guidance for all involved as to the next steps that they should take.

We welcome the fact that the decision of the Court of Appeal does not appear to cover the use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Alkitab.

We expect our Honourable Prime Minister and the Cabinet to continue to honour the 10-point solution with respect to the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Alkitab. We shall, therefore, continue to use the word Allah in our worship, liturgy, prayers and educational materials of the church.

As Malaysian Christians we are committed to our beloved nation and our love for Malaysia remains steadfast and we continue to respond with love and not in hatred as we face this on-going trial and tribulation.

Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng, Chairman and the Executive Committee
Christian Federation of Malaysia

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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25 Dec 2013 10.22pm

This Country was once a beautiful Nation with all of her people’s united as One’s ,not until a ?.. Kutty out of nowhere was then ascended to the throne of Ceo of this Nation for 22 donkey long years…..then almost everything built and agreed upon by our forefathers from years of sweats,tears,pains,hardworks,bloods,especially so of our Nation most prized &most treasured of its multi-racial,multi-religion,and muti-cultural unity build upon on mutual respects,mutual trusts of half century Unity then in a blinker of eyes were completely destroyed by a single most evil man ever born on this blessed land of abundance for the sake of his perpetuals rule&power traded, sacrified ,and killed Our Nation democracy and Unity in-exhanged for … dictatorial rule,religious bigotry,… of today….

20 Dec 2013 11.35am

Isn’t it ironic, the Malays who voted UMNO into Power are now being saddled with one hike after another of basic essentials from petrol (kerosene and gas) to sugar, TNB, school bus fares and the inevitable GST. IF we get TPPAed then woe betide the patients of major diseases as heart, HBP and cancer. On the other end, the Orang Asal opined that Musa Aman and Taib Mahmud should be trusted and DELIVERED Najib the extra 47seats he `matter of life and death sorely needed’ to form the unpopular GOM and now the 10-points is (meaningless) as no-way the Malays and Muslims will surrender their `Allah for Malays/Muslims’ stand! … we are caught too in Najib and Pemandu and the RM 7.2 billion conSetans web of deception and Promises/pledges they never meant to honour but primed at remaining in Putrajaya! There are suckers indeed born in Malaysia. Not once but 13 times and each time the population all these 56 years, has been paying for their free house/palatial mansion, utilities and petrol. Now we know how much we `tanggung’ them for all our scrimping and starving.… Read more »

najib manaukau
20 Dec 2013 7.42am

This is further proof that the muslims in Malaysia is practicing … Umno’s Islam. They don’t allow Christians in east Malaysia to call God as Allah and now they are trying to arrest the shiites from practicing their religion.
Isn’t God known as Allah and aren’t the shiites muslims praying to the same Allah that they are praying to ? Why then million of shiites are allowed to practice freely in the Arab world where Islam began ?
Finally isn’t God known as Allah and aren’t the shiites muslims praying to the same Allah that they are praying to ?
… Catholic, Protestant and the Orthodox. Yet no one country in the world forbids or outlaws anyone for practicing their religion !

20 Dec 2013 5.39am

Not very nice!

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