We'll continue to use 'Allah', declares churches council

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Although the the Selangor sultan has barred non-Muslims from using the word 'Allah' in religious affairs, the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) today announced that all churches will continue to use the word as they deem it a right guaranteed by the federal constitution.

Ggeneral secretary Rev Hermen Shastri ( right ) said the heads of churches of the CCM, meeting in their retreat in Ipoh, have noted the current discourse over the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims.

"We wish to reiterate our stand that Malaysian Christians have been using the word 'Allah' in their Malay Bible and devotional life for centuries," he said in a statement.

"Also many indigenous communities in our nation have incorporated this word in their everyday language.

"That being the case, we shall continue this practice - a right guaranteed to us in our federal constitution (Article 11) and call on all parties to respect this fundamental right."

CCM's view is shared by the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM).

"Malaysian Christians have been using the word "Allah" in our Bahasa Malaysia Bibles and in our faith to signify the Almighty God and we will continue to do so," stressed chairperson Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing in a statement.

Sultan's decree

Yesterday Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah decreed that all non-Muslims in the state are banned from using the word 'Allah' as this is exclusive to Muslims.

According to the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council, the ruler had expressed shock and regret over DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng's statement urging the federal government to allow the word to  be included in the Malay-language Bible.

However, Pakatan Rakyat has taken a different stance.

At a joint press conference with PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang yesterday, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang reiterated that Islam does not prohibit people of other faiths from using the word 'Allah', although this would not reach the original meaning of the Quran.

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