Malaysia Delays Ruling on Use of “Allah” by Christians

01/14/2021 Malaysia (International Christian Concern) – The High Court of Malaysia has again deferred delivering its ruling on a judicial review application by a Christian woman in Sarawak to use the word “Allah” for the purpose of religious education.

Judge Norbee Arifin was supposed to make her decision on January 14, but since the country has just declared a state of emergency, now she is expected to make her decision on Jan 27, after the movement control order (MCO) is lifted.

In August 2008, Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill from Sarawak, filed a lawsuit against the government over her constitutional rights to freely practice her faith and to non-discrimination, as well as the government’s ban of the word “Allah” in Christian publications.

Given the word used for God in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible (Al-Kitab) since its translation in 1731 has been “Allah,” the Christian woman argues that banning of the word “Allah” in Christian publications is unconstitutional and unlawful, stating that the government has failed to prove such use was a threat to public order.

According to Free Malaysia Today, the delivery of the Court’s verdict has been postponed 14 times after the judge, now promoted to the Court of Appeal, heard submissions from parties in 2017. The matter was also adjourned 12 times for parties to seek an out of court solution to the use of the term “Allah” for East Malaysians (mostly Christians) and in publication materials.

For years, some Christians in Muslim-majority Malaysia have been fighting for the right to use the word “Allah,” but their attempts have been met with fierce resistance from the Islamic community and the government.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.

 

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