The High Court today lifted the home minister’s ban against the Catholic church from publishing the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God in its weekly paper, Herald.
The landmark decision may be of joy for some 850,000 Catholics in the country but for Tajuddin, the suit itself, filed by Herald’s lawyers, is an act of provocation.
“What is their motive (for the suit) ? Why all of a sudden they want to use the word Allah when all this while they have been using the term God?
“This is definitely provocation, they are just using all this human rights, religious rights as excuses. This is sensitive to the Muslims and this will create racial and religious tension,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
The controversy over the word “Allah” has stirred huge debate among Christians and Muslims alike in Malaysia and attracted international attention as well.
The Home Minister, who controls giving the annual mandatory publishing permits in the country, had banned the church from using the word “Allah” outside the Muslim context.
But some have questioned if there can be a copyright over the word “Allah”, which Muslim representatives here say is a special word reserved to refer to the Muslim God, meaning “the one and only Almighty”.
The act of questioning the exclusivity of the word “Allah” for Muslims said Tajuddin is a clear indicator that “certain quarters” have become “bolder”.
“They have dared to do these things because the Muslims have been soft..but if you put some one in a corner, they will bounce back,” lamented the Pasir Salak MP.
“What the High Court thinks is right, may not necessarily be right outside (the court),” he added.
Meanwhile PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said Muslims must respect the decision of the High Court and remain calm.
“We must not be hasty and jump to conclusions. We should let the religious authorities to decide on its next course of action,” he said.
Asked if he agreed with the decision, Mahfuz ignored the question and reiterated that the country’s Muslims must respect the High Court decision and allow the religious authority to decide on its next course of action.
Though it is unclear if the Home Minister will seek to reverse the decision through the Appellate Court but he is likely to do so given the sensitivity of the issue.