KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court set Jan 7 to hear applications by eight Islamic religious councils to intervene in a court case involving the use of the word “Allah” by the Catholic weekly, Herald.
Judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Musa set the date for the civil suit to be heard in chambers.
The eight parties — the Penang, Terengganu, and Perak Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Councils; and the Federal Territory, Selangor, Johor, Kedah and Malacca Islamic Councils — are applying to be named as respondents in the case.
At present, the internal security minister (whose ministry is now merged with the Home Affairs Ministry to form the Home Ministry) and the government are named as respondents.
The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, also acting as the publisher of Herald, is the plaintiff. The application was filed on Dec 22 last year.
In his statement of claim, Pakiam seeks declaratory relief that the Herald is entitled to use the word “Allah” and that the word is not exclusive to Islam. He also seeks a declaration that the minister’s directive to cease using of the word “Allah” in the Herald is illegal and null and void.
If the application to intervene is granted, the Islamic councils will be included as respondents in the case.
Qur’an 29:46 says: “And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him we surrender.” This is a talking point for dawa: While it may be useful for Islamic interests for a Muslim to try and convince a Christian that they both worship the deity of the Qur’an (thus favoring Islamic teachings and worship), it would certainly be forbidden for the Christian to use it to attempt to convince the Muslim that they both worship the deity of the Bible (thus favoring Christian teachings and worship). In this context, the arguments of the Islamic councils will be interesting to follow, if they are accepted as parties to the case.