NOTE: maybe by the time this post was out (lunch hours) the hearing will be over.
Hearing on use of ‘Allah’ tomorrow
PETALING JAYA (April 24, 2008): The application for Judicial Review over the use of the word Allah by Catholic weekly the Herald is fixed for hearing in the Kuala Lumpur High Court tomorrow.
The application was filed on March 19 to challenge the decision of the Internal Security Minister (now merged into the Home Ministry) to prohibit publishers of the Herald from using the word "Allah" in its publication.
A publication permit dated Feb 12, 2008 (for the period Jan 1, 2008, to Dec 31, 2008) to the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur; the publisher of the Herald Catholic Weekly stated that "the Publication Permit is subject to Garis Panduan Penerbitan (Publication Guidelines) which prohibits the use of the word Allah in the Herald."
In a statement to the media sent out on Tuesday, Christian Federation of Malaysia executive secretary Rev. Dr Hermen Shastri said Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Rev Datuk Murphy Pakiam will be in the High Court for the hearing.
A team of five lawyers are representing Murphy who in his capacity as Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur is named as the applicant in this action. The lawyers are Porres Royan, Leonard Teoh, Annou Xavier, S.Selvarajah and Derek Fernandez.
The Herald and the Evangelical Church of Borneo (Sidang Injil Borneo or SIB) had also filed another suit challenging a government decision to prohibit importation of Christian educational materials for children containing the word "Allah".
In its lawsuit, SIB argues that Christian use of "Allah" predates Islam, as the word is used for God in the old as well as modern Arabic Bibles and thus not exclusive to the religion of Islam. This suit is pending.