23 June 2014

Permohonan gereja untuk guna kalimah "ALLAH" ditolak...

Perjuangan Gereja Katolik Malaysia untuk menggunakan kalimah ‘Allah’ dalam penerbitan mingguan mereka, Herald, tamat hari ini selepas Mahkamah Persekutuan menolak permohonan mereka mendapatkan kebenaran untuk merayu terhadap larangan itu.

Empat daripada tujuh panel hakim menolak permohonan gereja itu untuk merayu, dengan memetik Mahkamah Rayuan membuat keputusan yang tepat untuk melarang penggunaan itu dalam terbitan mingguan Katolik berkenaan.

Ketua Hakim Tun Arifin Zakaria yang mengetuai panel tujuh hakim itu berkata, Presiden Mahkamah Rayuan Md Raus Sharif, Ketua Hakim Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin dan Hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan Suriyadi Halim Omar berkongsi pendapat yang sama.

Pemerhati berkata, keputusan itu membawa kesan lebih besar terhadap kebebasan beragama, walaupun Putrajaya memberi jaminan keputusan itu hanya membabitkan Herald.

Perkataan Allah digunakan secara meluas oleh penganut Kristian di Sabah dan Sarawak dan gereja mendakwa larangan penggunaannya di dalam Herald adalah tindakan mencemar kebebasan beragama.

Persekutuan Kristian Malaysia menegaskan bahawa masyarakat Kristian akan terus menggunakan kalimah “Allah” kecuali dalam penerbitan Katolik The Herald.

Pengerusi CFM Eu Hong Seng berkata, peguam negara sebelum ini sudahpun menyatakan bahawa keputusan mahkamah hari ini hanya berkait dengan penggunaan kalimah “Allah” dalam akhbar tersebut.

"Sebagai penasihat undang-undang kepada kerajaan Malaysia, kami menganggap beliau dan kerajaan Malaysia berpegang pada pendirian itu,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.

Katanya CFM menetapkan bahawa masyarakat Kristian masih berhak menggunakan kalimah “Allah” dalam naskhah Bible, perkhidmatan gereja dan perhimpunan Kristian yang dijalankan dalam bahasa Melayu, seperti diamalkan sebelum ini.

Beliau mengeluarkan kenyataan itu selepas keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan hari ini yang menolak pendengaran rayuan Ketua Biskop Gereja Roman Katolik untuk menggunakan kalimah Allah dalam The Herald.

Sementara itu, Paderi Lawrence Andrew, editor mingguan Katolik The Herald, berkata gereja 'amat kecewa' dengan keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan hari ini.

Bercakap kepada pemberita di luar mahkamah hari ini, Andrew menyatakan kekecewaan mereka terhadap keputusan empat daripada tujuh hakim yang memutuskan menentang rayuan penerbitan itu.

“Empat hakim yang tidak menyebelahi kami, mereka bercakap berkaitan beberapa perkara tetapi tidak tidak menghakimi hak asasi paling utama dan hak-hak minoriti,” katanya.

Mahkamah Persekutuan hari ini menolak kebenaran bagi gereja Katolik merayu kepada mahkamah itu untuk menarik balik larangan kerajaan terhadap penggunaan kalimah 'Allah' yang dirujuk sebagai Tuhan dalam The Herald versi bahasa Malaysia.

Ketua Hakim Arifin Zakaria memutuskan menolak permohonan itu, dan disokong oleh Presiden Mahkamah Rayuan Md Raus Sharif, Ketua Hakim Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin dan Hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan Suriyadi Halim Omar.

Manakala hakim yang tidak sependapat pula adalah Ketua Hakim Sabah dan Sarawak Richard Malanjum dan Hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan Zainun Ali dan Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.- mk

CFM: Except for Herald, 'Allah' to be used as usual...

Christians will continue to use the term 'Allah', except in the Catholic publication Herald, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) said today.

CFM noted that the attorney-general (AG) had previously publicly pointed out that the decision of the Court of Appeal was only with respect to the use of the word 'Allah' in Herald the Catholic weekly newspaper.

"As legal adviser to the government of Malaysia, we will hold him and the government of Malaysia to that position," said CFM chairperson Reverend Eu Hong Seng (right) in a statement today, following the Federal Court decision this morning.

He said CFM maintains that the Christian community continues to have the right to use the word 'Allah' in their Bible, church services and at Christian gatherings for Bahasa Malaysia-speaking congregations, as has been practised till now.

Eu also said that the federation would see if other pending cases on related matters would provide "alternative avenues" to "uphold and defend freedom of religion".

"There are several cases before our courts that involves this issue," he said.

"In the meantime, we call on the Christian community in Malaysia to remain steadfast in their faith and courageous in the face of prolonged adversity," he added.

He also said that "simple justice" would have mandated an appeal to be granted today.

Isma: Christians must avoid being provocative 

Separately, vocal Muslim NGO Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) urged Christians to accept the verdict and avoid making provocative statements.

"Thank God, we are grateful for this verdict and hope that all, especially the church accepts this with an open heart," Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman (left) is quoted as saying on Isma’s website Ismaweb.

“Avoid making any statements or provocative actions or challenge the court decision, as well as prioritise unity and national harmony.”

Abdullah Zaik added that the decision also protects the sovereignty of Islam, in line with the objectives of the faith. - mk

Council of Churches calls Federal Court ruling on Allah issue a ‘regressive move’...

More Christian bodies have come out to criticise the Federal Court decision today to dismiss the church's leave application to appeal the "Allah" ban in Herald, with the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) saying it was a regressive decision.

CCM general-secretary Dr Hermen Shastri (pic) said the government should realise that it was their own citizens using Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia.

"The court decision is a sad day of regress as far as constitutional guarantee for religious freedom is concerned," he told The Malaysian Insider today.

Earlier, the Christian Federation of Malaysia chairman Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng said the Christian community will continue to use the word Allah in Bibles, church services and gatherings as the Federal Court ruling today was only confined to Catholic weekly Herald.

Meanwhile, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said the decision showed that religious tolerance of Malaysia's multi-religious society is falling.

"The Malaysian government should be working on ways to promote freedom of religion rather than exploiting issues like the long-standing Christian use of the word 'Allah' in Malay texts as a SOP (standard operating procedure) to religious and social conservatives that make up part of the government's political base," he said.

Although the court decision has attempted to put a stop to the Catholic Church's fight over the use of the word "Allah" in their weekly publication, CCM's Shastri said this was further from the truth.

"This narrative will continue in the hearts and minds of Christians," he added.

Herald publisher, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, is now mulling its next course of action and is considering filing for a review of the Federal Court's decision, one of the church's lawyers said today.

The publisher had been using the word in the newspaper since 1995 until a former home minister imposed a ban in 2009.

On October 14 last year, a three-member bench led by Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali allowed Putrajaya's appeal to ban Herald from using the word Allah, saying that there was a 1986 directive by the Home Ministry that prohibited non-Muslim publications from using four words: "Allah", "Kaabah", "Solat" and "Baitullah".

Today, four of the seven-member Federal Court bench dismissed the church's application for leave to appeal, saying that the Court of Appeal was right in its decision to ban the word in the Catholic weekly.

Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, who led the bench, said the President of Court of Appeal Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin and Federal court judge Suriyadi Halim Omar agreed with him that leave should not be granted. – tmi


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