Two political parties want to appeal yesterday’s High Court ruling on the use of Arabic words in non-Islamic religious materials.
Islamist party PAS and the United Malays National Organization, or UMNO, last night responded to the high court ruling that quashed the 1986 ban on the use of “Allah,” which means God, as well as Baituallah (house of God)”, “Solat (prayer)” and “Kaabah.” The two parties said that they would challenge the ruling and take it to the appeals court.
“We view the High Court’s decision on allowing Islamic terms to be used by non-Muslims seriously,” a joint statement said. “We urge that the rule on Islamic terms be brought to the Court of Appeal.”
“We are highly concerned by the decision to allow these terms to be used by non-Muslims in their respective publications,” it added.
Both parties did not elaborate the reasons why they were concerned about the ruling, which concluded a 13-year legal battle by Sarawak Christian Jill Ireland, whose eight CDs about Christianity were seized by customs officials because they had the word “Allah” in the titles. The ban was imposed on the basis of national security concerns and was largely seen to prevent Muslims, who also refer to God as “Allah,” from confusion. As a result of the ban, Christian publications had to use the Malay word for God, “Tuhan.”
Judge Noor Bee Ariffin said yesterday that the Home Ministry had acted “unreasonably, illegally and irrationally” when it imposed the ban through a government directive via a circular on Dec. 5, 1986.
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