Selangor MB wades in Penang’s ‘Allah’ issue, says Guan Eng echoing Pakatan stand


(Malay Mail Online) – Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali defended Pakatan Rakyat (PR) colleague Lim Guan Eng today over the right of non-Muslims to use the word “Allah”, saying the Penang chief minister’s remarks merely echoed the pact’s official stand on the matter.

Azmin said even PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang agreed that there should not be restrictions on usage of the word “Allah”.

“It is a Pakatan stand, even the PAS president has said there shouldn’t be restrictions on non-Muslims (using the word),” he told reporters when met at a state function at the De Palma hotel here.

Yesterday, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Lim’s remarks were not offensive, and that there were “compelling reasons” to support the DAP secretary-general’s stand.

Among the reasons, Anwar had said was that that world-renowned Islamic scholars like Sheikh Yusof Qardawi have repeatedly stated non-Muslims have a right to use the word “Allah”.

“World renowned ulamas have taken the same position, contrary to state religious departments. I defend his right because I have said similar things,” the Permatang Pauh MP said yesterday.

Penang police are investigating Lim’s statement to non-Muslims in the state on the issue of the use of the word “Allah”.

State police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said the matter was being investigated under the Police Enquiry Papers.

Lim had said non-Muslims were free to use the Arabic word “Allah” in Penang as the Administration of Religion of Islam (Penang) Enactment 2004 — under which a fatwa banning non-Muslims from using 40 Arabic words, including “Allah”, was created — only applies to Muslims.

The fatwa made by the Penang mufti was enforced in 2010.

Ten states in Malaysia have passed laws banning non-Muslims from using certain Arabic words, including “Allah”, in their religious practices.

The exceptions are Penang, Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territories.

Lawyers told Malay Mail Online last January, that the Penang religious edict and a similar Sabah fatwa banning non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” are not binding on non-Muslims.