The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur told Christians on Tuesday that the country’s “Allah” ban was only limited to a Catholic newsweekly and that the word can still be used in Malay bibles and during worship sessions.
While acknowledging that all legal means have been exhausted in the Church's battle to use "Allah" in the Herald publication, Archbishop Julian Leow said the Court of Appeal's ban on the use of the word was only limited to the newsweekly.
In a pastoral letter published on the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese website, Leow said the "Allah" ban did not include a prohibition in the Bible or during Mass, worship and prayer sessions.
"The government has said that the decision of the Court of Appeal is only confined to the Herald's case. We shall take the government at its word," wrote Leow, who is also president of the Catholics Bishops' Conference of Malaysia.
He said that despite the uncertainty over the repercussions of the ban on the rights of minorities to practice their faith, Catholics were a people of “faith and hope”.
Leow added that there was a lot to be gained from the experience, and that Catholics needed to make a stand for justice and truth.
"We need to protect the rights of the minority and the voiceless,” he said. "We need to forgive and to reach out in love especially to those who misunderstand and are misinformed.”
Leow also thanked the team of lawyers for presenting the issues clearly and succinctly.
He said in his letter that the Church's journey began in 2008 when they were told they could not refer to God in the same way that the majority of Catholics in Malaysia had been doing for centuries.
Leow said the church mounted the challenge in court to exercise its constitutional right to manage its own religious affairs.
He added that they took the position that the Home Minister's restriction on the use of the word “Allah” in the Herald went against the Federal Constitution.
"From the beginning, it had been an uphill journey, fraught with many challenges and obstacles. Yet, our team persevered and we have now finished the race," he said.
A five-man panel headed by Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong delivered a unanimous decision last Wednesday to deny 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.
Original story: ‘Allah’ ban only for Herald, says KL Archbishop
Source: The Malaysian Insider