PETALING JAYA: The Christian community will continue to use the word “Allah” in their Bibles, church services and gatherings as the Federal Court decision is confined to its use in the Herald only, said the Christian Federation of Malaysia.
“Given the refusal to grant The Roman Catholic Church leave to appeal, we will be proceeding with our actions and activities, thereby treating the decision of the Court of Appeal as being confined to the specific facts of that particular case,” its chairman Dr Eu Hong Seng said in a statement yesterday.
“The Christian community continues to have the right to use the word ‘Allah’ in our Bibles, church services and Christian gatherings in our on-going ministry to our Bahasa Malaysia-speaking congregations, as we have done all this while,” Eu said.
He said Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had previously pointed out in a statement issued on Oct 20 last year that the case surrounds the usage of the word “Allah” in the Herald newspaper only.
“As legal adviser to the Malaysian Government, we will hold him (Gani) and the Government of Malaysia to that position,” said Eu.
Eu said that on behalf of the CFM, he “is extremely disappointed” that the Federal Court has refused leave for the Roman Catholic Church to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Herald case.
“We continue to maintain that the decision of the Court of Appeal, and its reasoning in arriving at their decision, was so critically flawed in so many respects,” said Eu.
“Simple justice would have mandated an appeal, to rectify the many incorrect and inaccurate statements and observations of the Court of Appeal that led to its decision.
“Serious negative repercussions for the freedom of religion for the Christian community in Malaysia as a whole emanate from those statements and observations, but sadly the Roman Catholic Church has been denied the opportunity of challenging them before our apex court,” he said.
Eu said that there are several pending cases in court that involve issues such as this.
Meanwhile, Council of Churches of Malaysia general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri said the narrative would continue in the hearts and minds of Christians despite the court ruling.
“The court decision may have attempted to close the chapter on the Herald case, but it has not. The narrative will continue in the hearts and minds of Christians.
“The divided decision of the judges also shows how divided we have become between the majority and minorities in our country,” he said in a statement.