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Church leaders steer clear of sultan’s decree

 | November 15, 2013

Deeming it a sensitive matter, Church and Sikh leaders say they would leave it to the Federal Court to decide on the use of the word 'Allah'.

PETALING JAYA: In the wake of a royal decree banning non-Muslims from using the word ‘Allah’, Christian and Sikh religious leaders refused to be drawn into commenting on the matter.

Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) secretary Rev Hermen Shastri said he does not want to make a comment regarding the Allah issue as it was a sensitive matter.

“For now I have nothing much to say,” said Council of Churches Malaysia(CCM) secretary Rev Hermen Shastri.

Yesterday, the Sultan of Selangor, Sharafuddin Idris Shah, decreed that the word ‘Allah’ is exclusive to Muslims and non-Muslims should refrain from using it.

He said this was to avoid confusion among Muslims over the use of the word when used by other religions.

As such, he called on the Selangor people to respect and abide by the decision of the Selangor Fatwa Council on the matter.

‘We just hope justice will prevail’

Sultan Sharafuddin also said that Malay bibles and Christian publications of the Herald should refrain from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God.

The ruler cited Section 9 of the Non Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation against Muslims) Enactment 1988, which bars non-Muslims from using certain Arabic terms.

Malaysian Gurdwara Council president Jagir Singh also refused to comment on the matter, although Sikhs also use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God.

“I’ll leave it to the Federal Court to decide on the matter. This is involves a royalty and it is very sensitive for me to comment,” he said.

FMT also contacted several other church leaders for comments but they refused, saying they will leave it the court to decide on the matter.

“We just hope justice will prevail,” they said.

The sultan made the statement following the Court of Appeal’s decision on Oct 14 to uphold the Home Ministry’s ban on Catholic weekly Herald from using the word ‘Allah’.