Posted by: becketfund | March 23, 2009

Malaysia: Legal Body Faces Lawsuit for Using Word ‘Allah’

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian religious authorities have threatened to sue the country’s top legal body for using the word “Allah” on its website, Channel News Asia reported on March 20. The Islamic religious council in the central state of Selangor said it would take action against the Malaysian Bar, which represents some 12,000 lawyers, for using the word “Allah” in two online polls on its website. 

Its comments came amid a long-running battle between the government and a Roman Catholic newspaper that has been threatened with closure for using the disputed word in its Malay-language edition. 

The government has argued that the word should be only be used by Muslims. The Malaysian Bar’s polls asked lawyers to vote on whether any particular race in Malaysia had an exclusive right to use “Allah” and whether non-Muslim religious publications should be allowed to use the word. 

”The issue raised in the polls can threaten the sensitivity of Muslims,” the head of the religious council Mohamad Adzib Mohamad Isa said in response to the polls. The Malaysian Bar said it would defend its use of the word “Allah.” Its president Ragunath Kesavan has said “I haven’t receive a (legal) notice yet, we are prepared to challenge it.”

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