PAS backs use of Allah by Christians

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

Despite strong opposition from some Muslims groups, PAS last night decided to back the use of the word Allah by Catholics, saying that it is consistent with the federal Constitution and Islamic principles.

The decision was made by the Islamist party’s political bureau after a three hour meeting which was chaired by president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

In a statement made after the meeting, Hadi warned, however, that the word “Allah” should not be abused to confuse the public.

“PAS would like to state that based on Islamic principles, the use of the word Allah by the people of the Abrahamic faiths such as Christianity and Judaism, is acceptable,” said Hadi in a written statement which was read out by Information Chief Idris Ahmad.

“However, the word Allah must not be misused or abused so as not to affect racial and religious harmony in the country,” he added.

Hadi also urged all parties not to politicise the matter for political mileage.

“PAS strongly objects to any aggressive and provocative approach that can lead to tension in society,” he added.

Last week the High Court ruled that the Catholic church had a constitutional right to publish the word “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia edition of its Herald newspaper.

The government has decided to appeal the ruling yesterday, bowing to demands from Muslim groups who say they fear the ruling would result in confusion and that non-Muslims would abuse the usage of the word “Allah”.

Various Umno-linked organisations, who maintained that the word “Allah” can only be used exclusively by Muslims, have protested against the court’s decision and police reports were also lodged against the Catholic’s publication.