Thursday, December 31, 2009

Malaysian Court Says Catholic Paper Can Use Term "Allah"

A High Court judge in Malaysia has vindicated the free exercise rights of a Catholic newspaper, The Herald, in an oral opinion handed down today. Bernama and the Wall Street Journal report on the decision that upholds the right of the paper to use the word "Allah" in its Malay-language edition to refer to God. The Home Ministry had banned the paper from using the term, and the paper filed suit to challenge the restriction. (See prior posting.) Judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan held that while Sec. 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution permits a ban on the use of the term by non-Muslims who are attempting to proselytize Muslims, the Constitutional protections of free expression (Sec. 10) and free exercise of religion (Secs. 11 and 12) permit the paper to use the term in material directed at other Christians. The government had argued that The Herald's online edition can be accessed by Muslims, but the court said that it is enough of a safeguard that the paper is in fact read mainly by Christians. Its main audience is indigenous tribes who converted to Christianity decades ago. The Mandarin, English and Tamil editions do not use the term. The court's decision can be appealed. (See prior related posting.)

UPDATE: The Malay (1/2) reports that the Prime Minister's Department in cooperation with the Home Ministry will appeal the High Court's decision.

UPDATE2: On Jan. 6, the High Court granted the Home Ministry a stay of its order while an appeal is taken to the Court of Appeal. (Outlook India; AP.)


Barb said...

Muslims have told me they consider Allah just their name for our mutual God --that He is one and the same, so why would they object??

I understand that they do object in this case --that they do think Christians have used Allah as God's name in order to witness of their Christian faith to Muslims.

It's pretty confusing. Christians, Jews, and Muslims all claim the God of the O.T., the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and Ishmael) as their God.

Evangelical (Bible-believing) Christians typically will say "but Allah is not the same God as the God of the Judeo-Christians --because His character is different --and the character of his followers (the harsh fundamentalists in every Islamic state) is different. We believe that Allah is the god created by the deceiver, Lucifer, who appeared as an Angel of light to Mohammad --claiming to be the angel Gabriel, if I recall.

Lady Janus said...

Evangelicals don't have a lock on believing in the bible. That's first.

Second, if man is created in god's image, that must mean that god has whatever characteristics man has -- including differences from other men. God therefore must resemble whoever it is that's looking at him, and with characteristic differences from whoever else looks at him. That includes all the likes, dislikes, prejudices, and rules that go with.

And it follows that if god was created in man's image (which is by far the most likely scenario), then he will also resemble whoever it is that's looking at him.

The god of all the Abrahamic religions is indeed the same god. He just looks different because the people are different.

Anonymous said...

It is also against the moslem religion for a non-moslem to quote the Quoran. I am glad the barriers to free speech are falling a little in the worlds most populous Muslem nation.

Barb said...

I thought Indonesia was the most populous of the Muslim nations? or the one with the most Muslims anyway. That's where we support a missionary pilot who lives in and flies in and out of the jungles --to help people in the name of Jesus.

Lady Janus said...

"It is also against the moslem religion for a non-moslem to quote the Quoran."

If that's literally true, then it has to be one of the most ridiculous religious laws ever written.

Religious laws only apply to followers of that particular religion -- so an Islamic law aimed at non-Muslims will automatically NOT apply to non-Muslims.

Barb said...

Lady J --Muslims, Jews, and Christians historically, traditionally ALL believe that their teachings are from the Creator to the World --to ALL mankind --and thus applicable and binding to all. But American Christians REQUIRE their doctrines and standards only for those who claim to be of their churches --yet all religious people really do try to "establish" their moral standards (by majority rule in a democracy) into national law to please God and bless their nations --and for the sake of youth --and for the sake of what we believe to be right or wrong --e.g. abortion and definitions of marriage. MOst of us want a decent and moral society, as religious people --where family and life are respected, where virtue is upheld and evil is viewed as such and repressed.

but Islam has many self-contradictions in their cruelty in punishment for their overly strict laws and their imposition of their religion and suppression of others. Their violence has no justification under God.

The Ten Commandments were God's standards for mankind. He gave them to His chosen people --the people of the covenant: "I will be your God and you will be my people." The Jews were to be a light to the world, an example of lawful people --rather than like the lawless, immoral, violent, idolatrous pagans around them. Through the Jews, the Messiah, a suffering servant, would come and preach good news to the Gentiles as well. Jesus said He was that light of the world. Isaiah 53 predicted He would be a suffering servant --"wounded for our transgressions." The Book of Revelations says "worthy is the Lamb --who takes away the sin of the world."

Lady Janus said...

"Muslims, Jews, and Christians historically, traditionally ALL believe that their teachings are from the Creator to the World --to ALL mankind --and thus applicable and binding to all."

That's their problem. I do not believe it, and I refuse to allow what someone else thinks to govern how I think or believe.

"MOst of us want a decent and moral society, as religious people..."

You don't have a lock on decency or morality, so stop acting like you do.

Anonymous said...

Why can't the Roman Catholics use the word "Tuhan", which is the malay word for God?
Why create all this problems?

Barb said...

No one suggests you must think or believe anything, Lady J.

I sure don't want a lock on decency or morality --I wish our culture had widespread decency and morality --but we undermine and try to weaken the religions which cultivate morality.

E.G. --I saw a Law and Order show recently which mocked this group that was working for decency in entertainment media --like the Parents' TV Council. And the police --who handle sex crimes, special victims' cases, made fun of and were sarcastic about this group --and yet, they depict the bad results of low standards in entertainment all the time --in the story lines where teens get in trouble on the internet, do crazy things because of media influence.

I found that very strange on the part of the show's writers. I suppose L and O is criticized for their graphic, explicit depictions of really sick crimes. But I nevertheless like the show for its USUAL condemnation of evil --and the USUAL integrity of the police characters who aren't jumping into bed with each other all the time and making lewd comments. They really treat women well on the show.

Well, I digress --but it is about LAW!