By S. Harrish
THE Kuala Lumpur High Court today ruled that non-Muslims can now use the word ‘Allah’ in their preaching publications.
Non-Muslims can also use the words – ‘Baitullah’, ‘Kaabah’, and ‘solat’ for teaching purposes, which were banned by the government 35 years ago.
Court of Appeal judge Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin, who sat as a High Court judge, made the ruling after allowing the judicial review by Sarawakian Jill Ireland, to practice her constitutional right to freely practice her religion in this country.
Nor Bee said the home ministry’s directive dated Dec 5, 1986, banning the use of “Allah”, “Kaabah”, “Baitullah”, “Solat” by non-Muslims, has no statutory backing and is therefore illegal and irrational.
Ireland, a Melanau Christian, filed the judicial review in August 2008 against the Home Minister and the government after the seizure of her eight CDs – containing the word ‘Allah’ by the Home Ministry near the KLIA, reports the NST.
The CDs were with the title “Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah”, “Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah” and “Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah”.
On July 21, 2014, the High Court ordered that the CDs be returned to Ireland, but it did not make an order on the declaration applied for by her that she had the right to keep, use and import published materials containing the word ‘Allah’.
On June 23, 2015, the Court of Appeal endorsed the High Court’s decision which ordered the Home Ministry to return the seized CDs to her after dismissing the appeal by the ministry and Malaysian government against the High Court’s decision.