Non-Muslims can use ‘Allah’, Mat Sabu insists 

(The Malaysian Insider) – PAS maintains that non-Muslims are allowed to use the word “Allah” to describe their gods, says PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, in a bid to allay fears among the religious minority that the Islamist party may be reversing its president’s stand ahead of polls.

He insisted that the latest polemic over the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims was limited to peninsular Malaysia and was never an issue among Muslims and Christians in Sabah, Sarawak and the Middle East.

“The PAS’ president had issued the statement in 2010 to not forbid any religious adherent apart from Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’.

“PAS maintains that stand,” the 58-year-old told The Malaysian Insider, weighing in on the religious row after the party information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man issued a statement last month seemingly contradicting his president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s previous remarks on the hot-button topic in mainly Muslim Malaysia.

The leader popularly known as Mat Sabu (picture) noted that Abdul Hadi had already spoken out on the matter three years ago, when the debate first raged.

Abdul Hadi, a respected Islamic scholar, had in a statement dated January 7, 2010 said: “In conclusion, we cannot forbid them from using the word ‘Allah’ among themselves, in their worship and practice, even though the meaning deviates from the original according to our language.”

Many Muslim Malaysians, who form 60 per cent of the 28 million population, argue that the Arabic word is a proper noun that refers exclusively to their god despite a December 31, 2009 High Court judgment saying otherwise, and ruled to allow the Catholic Church to publish the word to describe the Christian god in the Malay section of its weekly newspaper, Herald, which caters to its Bahasa Malaysia-reading congregation who mostly hail from Borneo.

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