Christians in Borneo can use word ‘Allah’: Prime Minister

Razak is on a visit in the state of Sabah and made the public declaration to end the misleading interpretations in society after the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia
Oct 25 2013, 5:33 PM
Christians in Borneo can use word ‘Allah’: Prime Minister
Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, said that the Christians of Malaysian Borneo can continue to use the term ‘Allah’ during prayers. The states of Sabah and Sarawak that have used the word for centuries are in Borneo.

Razak is on a visit in the state of Sabah and made the public declaration to end the misleading interpretations in society after the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Kuala Lumpur.

The verdict had established the prohibition of the use of the word ‘Allah’ for the Catholic weekly ‘Herald’. Many lawyers interpreted that the verdict applied to prayers in Bahasa Malaya also.

The Premier stated that the decision of the Court of Appeal has no impact for the worship of Christians in the two states, adding that his government intends to comply with the Memorandum of Understanding on 10 points drawn up in 2011, which found practical solutions to the issue. Razak urged not to politicize the issue, stressing the importance of peace and harmony built through good relations among all religious communities.

The government of the province of Sarawak also has confirmed the legitimacy of the local Christians to use the word ‘Allah’ in rituals and in the Bible. The Association of Churches in Sarawak stated that "a ban would be for us a serious blow to religious freedom".

In the states of Sabah and Sarawak, home to 1.6 million native Christians, most of the churches and chapels carry out liturgies and catechesis in ‘Bahasa Malaysia’ and uses the word ‘Allah’ as it is the only term to denote God in the language.

Archbishop Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur and President of the Bishops' Conference of Malaysia had earlier said that "the three judges were seriously misinformed", in judging that "the word Allah is not essential or is not an integral part of Christianity". The Catholic Church has confirmed that it will appeal to the Federal Court.

Source: Agenzia Fides

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