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ICC Note: Courts are set to deliver a decision on Christian’s right to use the word Allah to speak of God. The case arose over a dispute with a Christian magazine who was opposed by Islamic groups. The case has become a battleground for religious freedom in this country and the level of government interference with religious.
9/11/2013 Malaysia (Asia News) – The Court of Appeal should release its verdict on the dispute related to the use of the word ” Allah ” for Christians by October. The long-standing saga has dragged on for some time following a dispute opposing the weekly magazine the Herald and the Kuala Lumpur government supported by the Malaysian Islamic fringe . Yesterday there was a hearing presided over by the chief judge Apnadi Mohd Ali , who announced the verdict “no later than October, and with written justification”.
The hearing was attended by the lawyers of the two sides: the Interior Ministry and the Government , in defense of the interests of the Muslims, against the Malaysian Catholic Church and Christian leadership . Outside, hundreds of members of Islamist movements surrounded the courthouse, with placards and slogans (pictured) some charging Christians of ” plagiarism” .
Counsel for the Government stated that the Herald prohibition is justified by the “sensitivity” of the matter, which revolves around “religious” issues in a nation “that has a large Muslim majority.” On the other hand, the lawyer of the Archdiocese and the Catholic weekly argued that at a constitutional level , citing the art . 11, they are defending the right of “religious practice” for all without constraints or restrictions .
The court then adjourned the hearing , postponing the long awaited decision which is increasingly taking on a political nature. Analysts and experts are concerned about its possible “political” use in terms of personal interest that Prime Minister Najib Razak is giving the whole affair ; resized by the results of the recent elections , the Prime Minister seems determined to take the dispute to buy consents within the Islamist fringe.
Interviewed on leaving the courtroom Fr. Lawrence Andrew, priest and editor of the Herald , maintains a certain “optimism” stressing that “we are working on the merits of the case” and ” we hope for a solution .” He recalls the legislative decree that “allows” the use of the word for non-Muslims , as was the case in the “Malay -language editions of the Bible .” At the same time , Christian leadership – Catholic and Protestant – reject the accusations of proselytism and plagiarism and call on all parties to “ease the tension .”

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