The Guardian (UK)October 10, 2013.
Appeals court rejects claim that use of the word predates Islam, in landmark case exacerbating ethnic and religious divisions
Muslim demonstrators outside the court of appeal in Putrajaya.
(Photograph: Vincent Thian/AP)
A Christian newspaper in Malaysia may not use the word "Allah" to refer to God, a court has ruled, in a landmark decision on a matter that has fanned religious tension and raised questions over minority rights.Read the rest here.
Monday's unanimous decision by three Muslim judges in Malaysia's appeals court overturned a 2009 ruling by a lower court that allowed the Malay language version of the newspaper the Herald to use the word Allah – as many Christians in Malaysia say has been the case for centuries.
"The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity," chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said in the ruling. "The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community."
The government argued in the case that the word Allah is specific to Muslims and that the then-home minister's decision in 2008 to deny the newspaper permission to print it was justified on the basis of public order.
Lawyers for the Catholic paper had argued that the word Allah predates Islam and had been used extensively by Malay-speaking Christians in Malaysia's part of Borneo island for centuries. They say they will appeal to Malaysia's highest court.
About 200 Muslims outside the court in the administrative capital Putrajaya greeted the decision with shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).
"As a Muslim, defending the usage of the term Allah qualifies as jihad. It is my duty to defend it," said Jefrizal Ahmad Jaafar, 39.
****Comment: Where in the Qur'an does it say that only Muslims can use the Arabic word Allah? And how is such buffoonery considered a Jihad in the way of Islam?
I have said this before and I will say it here again - this decision goes against the spirit and dictates of Islam and it is nothing short of misplaced zealotry and dumbassedness.
No-one owns words. The word Allah is Arabic for God.
So what's next? Will Malaysia prohibit Muslims from using the word God?
My head hurts just thinking about the stupidity contained in this ruling - and on the eve of Eid al-Adha too.
I almost feel like I want my Malaysian ancestry revoked because of this ruling.