Malaysia’s supreme court has rejected a challenge against the earlier ruling imposing a ban for Christian from using the word “Allah” as their God, in a very conflict-ridden legal case in the Muslim-majority country.
The case was brought by the Catholic Church, when its Malay-language newspaper related the word of “Allah” to the Christian God, and had already imposed with a ban in 2007. Malaysian people of all faiths use the word Allah for their divinity. According to Christians claim, the word is not originally from Malay but derived from Arabic language and they refer Allah to their God for centuries. The ruling violates their rights. Meanwhile, the stance of Malaysian authorities is that this use would create confusion among Muslim and lead some to convert to Christianity. Muslims make almost two-thirds of the Malaysian population where as large number of Hindu and Christian are also present in the country. The Catholic Church’s newspaper, The Herald, appealed against the initial ban and given verdict in his favor in 2009, but the order was overturned by the court of Appeal. Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said he was “greatly disappointed” by the judgment which “didn’t touch on the fundamental rights of minorities”. However, the decision is welcomed warmly by the Muslim activists.