Stop challenging Muslims over ‘Allah’, home minister warns

(MM) – The word “Allah” is reserved only for followers of Islam and non-Muslims must stop challenging this absolute right, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today ahead of the long-simmering dispute that will return to court next week.

The home minister also urged Muslim groups to unite and defend against what he seemed to view as an attempt to undermine their religion by non-followers, as the local Catholic Church applied to uphold a landmark High Court ruling that allows Christians the right to also call their god by the Middle Eastern word.

“We respect other religions but for this issue, we want followers of other religious beliefs to respect Islam’s stance on this.

“This is not a matter of rights but this is more than an absolute right, the word ‘Allah’ is an absolute right for Islam, full stop,” he told reporters at the Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia’s Aidilfitri celebration here.

The tussle over the word “Allah” will return to the courts on August 22, when the Court of Appeal hears the Catholic Church’s bid to strike out Putrajaya’s appeal against the 2009 High Court ruling upholding the Christians’ right to use the Arabic word.

The hearing will be the first time the matter has returned to the legal arena since it was left to languish for nearly four years after the government contested the landmark decision that had shocked Muslims in Malaysia.