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Monday, December 31, 2012

Jakim: Use of Allah by other faiths will bring harm to Islam

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — The federal government repeated its stand today that only Muslims could use the word "Allah", amid renewed tensions over claims by Christians and other non-Muslims to use the term to refer to God.
JAKIM issued a statement today, pointing out the use of the word "Allah" by other religions will bring harm to Islam. — AFP pic
Datuk Othman Mustapha, the director-general of the Islamic Affairs Development Department (JAKIM), issued a statement today pointing out that the use of the word Allah by other religions will bring harm to Islam.
He said the position was based on a decision of the National Fatwa Council decision in 2008.
The local Roman Catholic Church is waiting for the Court of Appeal to decide on its right to use the word “Allah” to describe the Christian god in their publication, after Putrajaya appealed against a 2009 judgment that said the church has a constitutional right to do so.
Last week the Malaysian Gurdwara Council (MGC) said that it was unconstitutional to ban anyone from using the word “Allah”, insisting that the National Fatwa Council’s edict on the word could not apply to non-Muslims.
In a statement, MGC president Jagir Singh pointed out that the council does not have direct jurisdiction over non-Muslims and could not issue fatwas to bar the community from using a specific word.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng triggered the latest uproar when he urged the federal government to allow the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian Bible.
He pointed out that this has been allowed in Sabah and Sarawak for the last 50 years and practised in the Middle East for more than a thousand years.
DAP chairman Karpal Singh came out to defend his party comrade last week, reminding Muslims that those of other faiths apart from Christianity also use the word “Allah”.
As an example, Karpal said that the word “Allah” appears 37 times in the Sikh bible, while the orang aslis, the babas in Malacca and even the Bengali language uses the word.
Yesterday, Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria today told non-Muslims who insist on using the word “Allah” to refer to their Gods to convert to Islam if they refused to accept that the word belongs only to Muslims.
The controversial cleric also accused the Christians community of intentionally provoking Muslims by pressing on with their demand to use “Allah” in their holy book.
Jakim’s Datuk Othman said today that all parties were obliged to support the government’s decision to ensure religious harmony.

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