Friday, January 15, 2010

Malaysian Gurdwara Council: No law prohibiting use of 'Allah' for non-Muslims - Malaysiakini

There is no law prohibiting the use of 'Allah' among non-Muslims, the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council said today.

Its president Harcharan Singh said the preamble to the Selangor Non Muslim Enactment 1988 states that the law is meant to control and restrict the propogation of non-Islamic religious doctrines and beliefs among persons professing the Islamic faith.

NONEHarcharan said, however, when the Selangor Islamic Council president Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa's statement was reported in the New Straits Times on Jan 12, the preamble to the section was dropped.

"These words are vital to show the prohibition is only against usage of such words as 'Allah' to propogate among Muslims."

"There is no law to stop non-Muslims from using it in their own publications meant for members of their own faith," said Harcharan.

He said High Court judge Lau Bee Lan made it clear in her judgment that the publication or use of the term 'Allah' is only prohibited if it is meant to propogate non-Islamic faiths to Muslims.

Look at historical perspective

Harcharan appealed to everyone to look at the present issue from the historical and the federal constitution viewpoint.

"Furthermore, the enactments passed are state laws and can never over-ride the federal constitution."

"The detractors should consider the preamble to the 1988 Act which prohibits the usage of 'Allah' to propogate non-Islamic faiths among Muslims.

"Any argument for or against, should include the position of the federal constitution as Malaysia's supreme law," he said.

Harcharan, was referring to Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim's statement which appeared in The Sun today in which he was reported to have said that the enforcement of the law should be based on prevailing circumstance.

The New Straits Times, meanwhile, in its Tuesday edition quoted Mohamad Adzib as saying that there are laws prohibiting the use of the word by non-Muslims.

Harcharan said Perak was the first state to pass such a legislation called the "Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Islamic Religions Bill 1988".

"After the enactment was passed, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) met the then prime minister to express its concern.

"The MCCBCHS also issued a statement where it viewed the restriction on non-Muslims as unconstitutional. Dr Mahathir Mohamad had then promised to look into the matter."